Auditions are this week for NBYT’s holiday production, The Velveteen Rabbit, or How Toys Become Real. Based on the 1922 classic children’s book by Margery Williams, this new musical tells the story a toy rabbit who longs for nothing more than to be real.
For more details on auditions and a link to schedule an audition time, click here. For the plot and character list of The Velveteen Rabbit, read on!
Plot of The Velveteen Rabbit
It is Christmas night in the 1940’s. Pops and Son sit in their living room. Pops presents Son with a special gift from his childhood. A Velveteen Rabbit. The Magical Nursery Fairy and Passage of Time magically bring us back to a Christmas Eve twenty years prior. In Boy’s dreams, we meet the cast of characters who will take us on the journey of the story of the Velveteen Rabbit (“Once Upon a Time”).
When Boy wakes, it is Christmas morning. The family and Nana enjoy opening their gifts, and among many presents, he is given a stuffed rabbit sewn from velveteen (“Christmas Morning”). Boy plays with The Velveteen Rabbit until family, including Aunt and Uncle come bearing more gifts arrive for Christmas Dinner.
As winter turns to spring, we find we find Nana putting Boy to bed (“Lullaby”). Once Boy is asleep, the rest of the toys come to life. Toy Engine, Model Boat, Clockwork Mouse, Timothy the Jointed Lion, and the other Toys are modern and mechanical, and they snub the old-fashioned Velveteen Rabbit (“Dance of the Toys”). The wisest and oldest toy in the nursery, the Skin Horse, who was owned by the boy’s uncle, tells the rabbit about toys magically becoming real due to love from children. The Velveteen Rabbit is awed by this idea; however, his chances of achieving this wish are slight.
One night that spring, Nana gives Boy the Velveteen Rabbit to sleep with, in place of his beloved China Dog. Though at first he found it uncomfortable to sleep in bed with the boy, The Magic Nursery Fairy and Passage of Time help tell how he quickly grew to like it (“Sleep”). The Velveteen Rabbit becomes the boy’s favorite toy, enjoying all sorts of activities such as picnics with him throughout the season. One day, being late to get home after much important play, Boy leaves Velveteen Rabbit outside. Unable to sleep without the toy, Nana goes in search of the Rabbit. Upon the Velveteen Rabbit’s return, Boy insists to Nana that the Rabbit is real, which brings great joy to The Velveteen Rabbit (“Real”).
Time passes, and the the Velveteen Rabbit becomes shabbier, but is content. That is, until he meets some Real Rabbits in the summer, and they learn that he cannot hop as they do and say that he is not real (“Dance of the Rabbits”). The Velveteen Rabbit begins to doubt everything he thought to be true (“Act I Finale”).
As Act II opens, we find the Velveteen Rabbit having a nightmare (“The Nightmare”). In this nightmare, he is being teased by the Toys and Real Rabbits, but the Magical Nursery Fairy, Passage of Time, Skin Horse, and Boy enter and soothe him.
One day, the Boy comes down with scarlet fever. Mother and Nana, are fraught with worry (“Lullaby Reprise”). The Velveteen Rabbit sits with him as he recovers. The doctor orders that the boy should be taken to the seaside and that his room should be disinfected—all his books and toys burnt, including the Velveteen Rabbit (“Passage of Time”). The Velveteen Rabbit is bundled into a sack and left out in the garden overnight, where he sadly reflects on his life with his boy (“Dreams”).
The Velveteen Rabbit cries, a real tear drops onto the ground, and a marvelous flower appears. Magical Nursery Fairy steps out of the flower and comforts the Velveteen Rabbit. She says that, because he has become Real to the Boy who truly loves him, she will take him away with her and turn him real to everyone. Magic Nursery Fairy and Passage of Time take the Velveteen Rabbit to the forest, where she meets the other rabbits and gives the Velveteen Rabbit a kiss. The Velveteen Rabbit becomes real and joins the Real Rabbits to dance in the forest (“Real/Dance of the Rabbits Reprise”).
The next spring, the Velveteen Rabbit returns to look at Boy, and Boy sees a resemblance to his old Velveteen Rabbit. We flash back to the 1940’s, where Son has learned many valuable lessons (“Once Upon a Time is Now”).
- Nursery Magic Fairy: Must be a triple threat (sings, dances, acts); a mystical character; helpful, joyful and sweet; she appears in dreams.
- Passage of Time: Must also be a triple threat; Nursery Magic Fairy’s sidekick. They always appear onstage together. Equally magical and joyful, she shows the passage of time through dance and by making seasons and time change.
- Son/Boy: Male or female, but must be able to play male. Very sweet, very active, somewhat mischievous. He loves his toys and playing outside.
- The Velveteen Rabbit: Male or female. The “youngest” of the toys, emotionally; everything is new to the Rabbit. Runs the gamut of emotions: shy and uncertain, scared and sad, jubilantly happy; loves Skin Horse and Boy, and wants very much to be loved in return; the only “soft” toy other than the Skin Horse; lots of physical comedy.
- Aunt: Female. A special Christmas guest who is enamored of her nephew, Boy.
- Uncle: Male. Another special Christmas guest.
- Mother: Female. Very nurturing, loving woman who wants only the best for her son.
- Father/Pops: Male. Wise man, great sense of humor, head of household.
- Toy Engine: Male or female. Acts super cool; like the “popular” kid.
- Clockwork Mouse: Male or female. Very official, the “smart” kid, the leader, biting tone.
- Model Boat: Male or female. One of the gang, but tries hard to be cool by sounding official and being funny.
- Timothy, the Jointed Wooden Lion: Male or female. One of the gang, wants to be cooler, so pretends to be from the government and have top secret information.
- Skin Horse: Male or Female. Kind and wise and gentle; often plays mediator or parent to the other toys.
- Nana: Female. Mary Poppins type character. Kind yet strict, one of the family. Very tidy and generally proper, has a very tender heart.
- “Real” Rabbits: The rabbits the Velveteen Rabbit encounters while out to play with the boy. They don’t take kindly to the odd-looking rabbit at first. They love to dance and play!