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Cast Set For The Velvteen Rabbit With Escalate Dance

Cast set for The Velvteen Rabbit with Escalate Dance

World Premiere production of THE VELVETEEN RABBIT at Stages Theatre Company March 10 – 26, 2017




HOPKINS, Minn. – Stages Theatre Company (STC) presents The Velveteen Rabbit, directed by Stages Theatre Company Artistic Director Sandy Boren Barrett, and Escalate Dance Company Artistic Director Ann Marie Omeish.  This original dance inspired production adapted from the book by Margery Williams features script & lyrics by playwright Jennifer Kirkeby, with music composed by James Lekatz.  Kirkeby & Lekatz most recently collaborated with Stages on last year’s The Snow Queen.

Stages Theatre Company brings the classic tale by Margery Williams to life on our stage.  Set in the golden age of radio, this original dance-inspired musical about the transformational magic of love, will leave you hopping for joy.  This treasured story of a stuffed rabbit’s desire to become REAL is told through original music and dance.  “Real isn’t how you are made, it’s a thing that happens to you when a child loves you for a long, long time.”

This collaboration continues with Escalate Dance Studio, and includes our previous productions of Owl Moon, Twelve Dancing Princesses, and The Snow Queen. 

The complete local cast is as follows: Ellen Anderson (Maple Grove), Kolton Ascheman (Blaine), Halle Audette (Brooklyn Park ), Azariyah Barnes (Hopkins), Faith Barrett (Maple Plain), Anika Benz (Apple Valley ), Georgia Blando (Inver Grove Heights), Grace Blando (Inver Grove Heights ), Lily Blando (Inver Grove Heights), Sara Bowman (Maple Grove ), Morgan Burkum (Maple Grove), Natalie Dekker (Prior Lake), Sophie Farrell (Hopkins), Athan Fischer (Minneapolis), Emma Highfield (Plymouth), Ryder T. James (Woodbury), Anastasia Johnson (Maple Grove), Chase Kozak (St Paul), Sara Magnuson (Minneapolis), Marilee Mahler (Minnetonka), Bridget Miller (Hopkins), Sara Moreau (Plymouth), Kyla Ashlee Plair (Brooklyn Center), Abby Reynolds (New Hope ), Anna Stenerson (Maple Grove), Brent Teclaw (St. Paul), Julia Foster Warder (Richfield), Huxley Westemeier (Minneapolis) and Grant Witter (Plymouth).

The Creative Team consists of Artistic Director – Sandy Boren-Barrett, Co-Directors & Choreographers – Sandy Boren-Barrett & Ann Marie Omeish, Music Director – Sarah Hohenstein Burk, Stage Manager – Emilia Allen, Lighting Designer – Grant Merges, Foley Sound Effects – Peter Morrow, Resident Costumer – Josette Elstad, Set Designer – Joe Stanley, Costume & Make-Up Designer – Lisa Jones, Props Designer – Merritt Rodriguez, Technical Director – Alan Pagel and Production Manager – Melanie Salmon-Peterson.

The Velveteen Rabbit opens Friday, March 10th  and runs through Sunday, March 26th, 2017, and is for all ages.  Tickets are on sale now!  Visit for specific performance dates and times, or call the Box Office at (952) 979-1111, option 4, Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.  Tickets are $16 for adults; $14 for seniors, ages 60+; $12 for children, ages 5 to 17.

About the playwright, JENNIFER KIRKEBY – Jennifer is an actress, playwright and teaching artist. Kirkeby adapted ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas; Madeline’s Christmas, based on the book by Ludwig Bemelmans; and L. Frank Baum’s Dot and Tot of Merryland, all of which are published by Dramatic Publishing. Other adaptations include Nancy Carlson’s Harriet and Walt, a play about sibling rivalry (Baker’s Plays); Aladdin and His Magical Lamp; The Mitten by Jan Brett; Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney; The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch; and If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff. Kirkeby also adapted Doreen Cronin’s Duck for President; Giggle, Giggle, Quack; and Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. Original plays include Ten 10-Minute Scenes for Teens (Dramatic Publishing); Midlife Madness, an adult comedy; and Eyes Wide Open, a play about eating disorders (Baker’s Plays). Her 10-minute play The Glass House has won numerous national awards. Several of her monologues and scenes have been published by Smith and Kraus Publishers in Audition Arsenal for Women in Their 30s and volumes 2 and 4 of Winners Competition Series. Kirkeby is a member of The Dramatists Guild, the Playwrights’ Center and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Visit her blog at

About the composer, JAMES LEKATZ –  James joined Stages Theatre Company in 2011. In the five years since he joined the team, he has strengthened and expanded the organization’s accessibility efforts, both for youth and families with physical disabilities and those with autism and other neurological differences. As a staff member and member of STC’s Outreach and Access Committee, James continues to be instrumental in leading the charge for STC’s outreach and access efforts, and brokering new partnerships with community organizations. In addition to this role, James is a resident teaching artist in many Twin Cities school districts and is the lead teacher of CAST (Creative Accepting Sensory-friendly Theatre), a program for students ages 7-17 affected by autism. James also is a lead theatre instructor in a residency partnership with Perspectives Inc., an organization that helps reintroduce families going through chemical addiction rehabilitation. James is an experienced composer and has created original musical scores for many STC productions and shows at other area theatres. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts from Augsburg College, a two-year certificate of completion from the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA), and has certification in teaching youth with autism from the Autism Society of Minnesota.




Stages Theatre Company

Stages Theatre Company was founded in 1984 and since then has grown to become one of the largest professional theatres for young audiences in the country. We engage young artists with themes relevant to their lives and involve them in creating magical works featuring young people in meaningful roles. Through theatrical productions, workshops, conservatory classes and other outreach programs, Stages Theatre Company annually serves more than 145,000 young people and their families.


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