(ORADELL, NJ) -- Bergen County Players (BCP), one of America’s foremost little theater groups, continues its 90th season with the return of a treasured holiday season tradition: the annual BCP family show: The Story of Velveteen Rabbit, a musical based on the classic book by Margery Williams, plays December 3-18 at the Little Firehouse Theatre, 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell.
Adapted by playwright Anita Larsen and composer/lyricist Bill Francoeur from Williams’ book, The Story of Velveteen Rabbit runs approximately 70 minutes. Direction is by Bunny Mateosian with musical direction by Steve Bell and choreography by Diana Baer. Audience members will have the opportunity to meet the cast and get autographs following each performance.
When a stuffed velveteen rabbit arrives in a little girl’s nursery, all the toys snub her except for the wise old skin horse, who explains how toys can become real through a child’s love. After the girl’s china dog goes missing, the rabbit finds herself in the girl’s arms, and eventually, in her heart. Will the velveteen rabbit become real? Audiences will find out in The Story of Velveteen Rabbit, a delightful musical for the whole family about the transformative power of love.
The classic book The Velveteen Rabbit has delighted generations of children and adults alike, and has remained in print since its publication in 1922. BCP is proud to celebrate the book’s centennial as Margery Williams’ immortal story leaps from the page to the Little Firehouse Theatre stage, which transforms into an enchanting nursery full of toys and a forest where wild rabbits hop and cavort with dancing trees and a magical fairy.
Director Bunny Mateosian, who hails from Closter, says of her choice to helm the show, “Our theater, our patrons, and our country have been through some very difficult years with COVID-19 and related health issues. I wanted to do something different than the usual ‘fairy tale’ production this year, and I searched for a musical version of The Velveteen Rabbit.” Mateosian continues, “I was so excited to find this joyful, heart-warming, delightful version of the book, which can be enjoyed by all generations. I hope that audiences will find the magic of this story charming and memorable.”
The talented cast of The Story of Velveteen Rabbit includes a mix of familiar faces and newcomers to BCP. The title character is played by Marisa Dolkart Herling of Teaneck, with Reginald Bennett Jr. of Teaneck as her stalwart friend, the Skin Horse, and Ava Dina Stampone of Ridgewood as Andrea, the little girl whose love turns the velveteen rabbit real. The main nursery toys are portrayed by Yaritza Camarano of New Milford as the Model Boat, Heather Corzine of Ringwood as the Train Engine, and Julia Morriss of Allendale as Timothy Lion.
Grace M. Callahan of Oradell appears as the Nursery Magic Fairy, with Debbie Buchsbaum of River Vale as Nana, Nicole Henry of Ridgewood as Mother, and Michael Del Valle of New Milford as Uncle Brad. Rounding out the cast are Mohammad Abulaimon of Paramus, Lucienda Camarano of New Milford, Patrick Dwyer of Ridgewood, Catherine Gallagher of Bergenfield, Rob Kopil of Suffern, New York, Giuliana Stampone of Ridgewood, and Larry Wilbur of Mahwah.
The production team is comprised of Bunny Mateosian (Director), Diana Baer (Choreographer), Steve Bell (Musical Director), Michele Roth (Producer), Katie Lupfer (Assistant to the Director), Geri Berhain (Stage Manager), Laura Dinoia (Properties), Michael Smith (Set Design), Lauren Zenreich (Set Décor), Lynne Lupfer and Terri Caust (Costumes), Alan Seward (Lighting Design), Sandra Conklin (Lighting Operator), Jim Lupfer (Sound Design), Barry Reed (Sound Operator), Karen Markle (crew), Jill Hendrickson (dresser), and Alan Zenreich (Photography).
Bergen County Players strongly encourages its patrons to be vaccinated for Covid-19 but will not require proof of vaccination in order to enter the building. The use of face coverings/masks is also very strongly recommended. Reminders of that recommendation will be visible throughout the facility and stated by our Front-of-House staff before each event.
TICKET AND SCHEDULE INFORMATION - All performances take place at The Little Firehouse Theatre at 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell, home to the Bergen County Players since 1949. Performance times are Fridays at 7:30pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm and 3:30pm. Tickets are $15 for all performances. Tickets can be purchased online at www.bcplayers.org, by calling 201-261-4200 or by visiting the box office at 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell during regular box office hours. Visa, Master Card, and American Express are accepted.
All patrons entering the theater, including infants and small children, must have a ticket, even if the child shares a seat with a parent. A limited number of booster seats are available on a first-come/first-served basis and are provided at no charge. Those interested in Group Sales or benefit theater parties can call (201) 261-4200 (option #6).
BCP offers seating to accommodate patrons who are mobility impaired and can transfer from a wheelchair. These seats can be purchased by calling the box office at 201-261-4200 and will be released for public sale two weeks prior to performance.
A new program is now available for qualified non-profit organizations to use one performance of each production as a fundraising event. The group will book the house at a deeply discounted price and then resell the tickets at a price of their choosing, with the difference in price kept by the group. The available date is the Thursday of each show’s final weekend.
Parking is free for our patrons at the Park Avenue municipal lot, across the street, one-half block north of the theater, as well as street parking on Kinderkamack Road and various side streets, all within easy walking distance.
The Bergen County Players, Inc. is a non-Equity, non-profit community theater company dedicated to presenting quality productions for the enrichment of the community.
PHOTO by Katie Lupfer