“There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid.”
And that’s how the children’s classic starts. Although it was published more than 90 years ago, The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Toys Become Real), has remained a staple on nursery bookshelves, and in the hearts of all those who turn its artfully-illustrated pages.
On Sunday, January 13, children and parents from City shelters witnessed the age-old story brought to life, as they attended a stage performance of the tale at the DR2 Kids Theatre in Manhattan.
Beginning with the very first act, the audience was drawn into the wondrous and whimsical world of a young boy’s imagination− and, over the course of an hour, discovered and explored the unsurpassed love between a child and his favorite toy. With just a three-person cast tackling a variety of roles, the play demonstrated and encouraged creativity, using a variety of found, ordinary household objects, to tell the story, and update it for a modern-day audience.
Tickets to the performance were donated by the Garden of Dreams Foundation− Madison Square Garden’s philanthropic organization. The attendance of the shelter groups was coordinated by the Department of Homeless Services’ (DHS) Office of Communications & External Affairs.
In its six years of existence, Garden of Dreams has worked with DHS and other partners to serve more than 215,000 families in the tri-state area. Through these efforts, the foundation has enabled families in shelter to attend a number of New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty games, as well as an array of entertainment events and concerts.
On Sunday, excited shrieks and giggles erupted from the audience, as the “fat and bunchy” rabbit headed off on his journey to become “real.” Following the performance, the children also had the opportunity to meet and speak with the cast.
Located on East 15th Street, the DR2 Kids Theatre is the newest addition to the Off-Broadway scene in Union Square, positioned next to the Daryl Roth Theatre (formerly the Union Square Savings Bank).
To learn more about the Garden of Dreams Foundation, visit its Web site at http://www.gardenofdreamsfoundation.org/