KNUFFLE BUNNY to Open Rose Theater's 2013-14 Season, 9/6-22
A heroine fluent in toddler gibberish is accustomed to her patient Mom understanding her but it is a day with her well-meaning, but clueless Dad and the loss of a beloved toy that are at the center of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical, running Sept. 6-22 at The Rose Theater. This hilarious musical version of the beloved Caldecott Honor book by Mo Willems (author of the Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus book series) is sure to get the family giggling, but also learning about communication, family responsibility and love.
Trixie, a pre-verbal toddler, is in the care of her Dad for the day. The exasperated, buT Loving, Mom isn't so sure he can handle the active little girl. Dad assures Mom all is fine as Trixie and her favorite toy, Knuffle Bunny, head off to the Laundromat. Upon arrival at the Laundromat, Dad loads the machine and gathers up Trixie for the walk back home while the washer runs. They don't get far before Trixie realizes her best buddy, Knuffle Bunny, is missing. She tries to tell her Dad in a hilariously poignant solo, "Aggle Flaggle Klabble". However, he doesn't understand the plight of her missing toy so Trixie goes "boneless" and cries tears of woe. Upon arrival back home, Mom immediately realizes Knuffle Bunny is not with the duo. They all race back to the Laundromat hoping to arrive before the machine begins its Spin Cycle. Dad enters the washing machine to rescue Knuffle Bunny, but finds himself doing battle with oversized garments who are masters of Kung Fu. He finally gets ahold of the beloved bunny and enlists his help (through clever puppetry) to defeat the growing menace of the giant laundry. Emerging victorious from the washer with Knuffle Bunny, Dad is rewarded with Trixie's first intelligible words, "Knuffle Bunny".
"Kids can relate to the sorrow of a favorite stuffed animal being lost, and more importantly, not being understood and feeling powerless," said director Susann Suprenant. "And, parents can relate to the frantic pace that raising kids can induce and how growing together as a family makes it all worth it."
As part of The Rose's new Insight program, a special video that asks "what have you lost" and "what do you hope to never lose" will be posted on The Rose Theater's website and FaceBook page in August. The video will also be played in the lobby during the run of the production. Also on the FaceBook page for the theater families will find a contest inspired by the unique artwork of Mo Willems. Participants will be asked to identify the Omaha metropolitan area location where Knuffle Bunny was lost in different photographs. The Insight program provides opportunities for families to bring what they will be seeing on the stage into their own lives. Each production will have a special activity created specifically for the show.
Willems' penned the script and lyrics with music by Michael Silversher when the Kennedy Center commissioned the piece which premiered in 2010. As a writer and illustrator, Willems has been awarded three Caldecott honors, three Giesel medals, six Emmy's and a legion of admirers.
"My characters in the books don't break out into song. But, in the theater they do because you're saying something about the internal relationship," said Willems about the musical.
Director Suprenant adds, "The music is really great - from rowdy, fun rockin' out to heartfelt ballads. It's important we, as parents, learn to listen in different ways beyond words to what our kids have to say."
The show is recommended for families with children ages 3 to 8 and is 60 minutes with no intermission.
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical runs Sept. 6-22 with performances on Fridays at 7 pm, Saturdays at 2 and 5 pm, and on Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets are $18 per person. Discount vouchers are available at all area Hy-Vee stores. Rose members receive four free tickets to the production. For more information or to make reservations, call the Box Office at (402) 345-4849 or online at www.rosetheater.org.