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The Velveteen Rabbit Comes To Life As A Musical At Algonquin Arts

January 2, 2009

Where: Algonquin Arts Theatre
When: Friday, January 23, 2009 at 7 pm
Ticket Price: Adults/Seniors/Students-$15 Children-$12
Box Office: 732-528-9211 or www.algonquinarts.org

Presented by Enchantment Theatre Company and Healy Entertainment
With Music by Award-Winning Composer Don Sebesky
And Award-Winning Lyricist Gloria Nissenson

Manasquan, NJ - Algonquin Arts Theatre will be featuring an extraordinary musical version of the classic children’s storybook, The Velveteen Rabbit on Friday, January 23, 2009 at 7 pm. Much like Director Julie Taymor’s vision on The Lion King on Broadway and The Magic Flute at The Metropolitan Opera in New York, this production features beautiful, magical life-sized Japanese style puppets to tell the story.

The classic book, The Velveteen Rabbit, comes to life when Enchantment Theatre Company, in association with Healy Entertainment, stages a brand new musical version of the tale using puppets, masked actors and magic. With a backdrop of beautiful scenery, there is an original score by Grammy and Tony Award-winning composer Don Sebesky and award-winning lyricist Gloria Nissenson that makes this imaginative production a delightfully new experience in family entertainment.

Based on the beloved book by Margery Williams, Enchantment Theatre’s The Velveteen Rabbit tells the story of a plush toy bunny coming to life because of the transforming power of a boy’s love. The production offers endless surprises, including larger-than-life puppets and spectacular magic that will captivate audiences both young and old.

While the story of The Velveteen Rabbit is familiar to many, the music is new. Inspired by a great appreciation for this classic bedtime story that he and his wife read to their daughters, Sebesky wrote and recorded songs for The Velveteen Rabbit. A work in progress for years, he collaborated with lyricist Gloria Nissenson (Parents Choice Award winner) and his wife Janina Serden, a singer and songwriter, and produced The Velveteen Rabbit CD in 2007. Sebesky’s music underscores Enchantment Theatre Company’s production.

In search for the ideal theatrical company to bring Sebesky’s music to the stage, the New York based Healy Entertainment, an arts and entertainment production, management and consulting company, selected Enchantment Theatre Company above other family theater troupes for the national tour of The Velveteen Rabbit. “I envisioned a marriage between Enchantment Theatre’s unique style of storytelling and Don Sebesky’s music,” says Producer Elizabeth Healy, president of Healy Entertainment. “It’s a wonderful union because each entity enhances each other’s work, bringing a quality production to the stage.”

Sebesky agrees. “My vision was the music and the CD, but Enchantment Theatre has presented their own adaptation of the music and book, drawing on mime, magic and puppets to tell the story. The result is an exciting and moving performance.”

Sebesky is a highly-respected composer-arranger with an enormous body of work. As a recording artist, and through his collaborations with other artists, he has received 25 Grammy nominations (three time winner), three Tony nominations (2000 winner), won two Drama Desk Awards, has been nominated for three Emmy Awards, and has won four Clio Awards. Recently, Sebesky also received a Grammy nomination for his score for the Velveteen Rabbit.

Healy Entertainment and its president Elizabeth Healy have been involved in all phases of the arts and entertainment industry as a producer, manager and consultant for more than a decade, with clients that include Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishing, Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, and Herbie Hancock among others. Joining Healy on The Velveteen Rabbit is Associate Producer Geoff Cohen, who is currently producing Gemini The Musical and Little Egypt in the New York Musical Theatre Festival 2007 (NYMF); and recently production managed The Recording.

Academy Honors for the New York Chapter of the National Academy for the Recording Arts and Sciences. Cohen has worked as a vice president for Radio City Entertainment, where he produced and general managed A Christmas Carol and The Wizard of OZ in New York and on tour.

Founded in 1979 by Jennifer Blatchley Smith and Landis Smith, both writers and performers, and expanded to an artistic partnership with Resident Director Leslie Reidel in 1995, Enchantment Theatre Company has toured its original productions all over the world. The company has toured in the Far East six times, performing in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. It also has performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City and at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. In addition to touring its productions across the United States and overseas, Enchantment Theatre stages additional repertoire with symphony orchestras, including The Philadelphia Orchestra, with which it collaborated on a theatrical adaptation of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” at The Kimmel Center. This winter marks the company’s debut of The Velveteen Rabbit in its brand new home, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, where it is the resident children’s theater company for this first season.

The Velveteen Rabbit is 60 minutes and features a question and answer session following the performance. Tickets are $15 for adults/seniors/students and $12 for children. To reserve seats or obtain more information, contact the box office at 732-528-9211 or [email protected]. More information can also be accessed at www.algonquinarts.org. Box office hours are Monday-Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. Algonquin Arts is conveniently located at 173 Main Street in downtown Manasquan, NJ.

Algonquin Arts was founded in 1992 as a nonprofit organization to provide cultural enrichment and educational enhancement of the highest quality for the residents of New Jersey’s central region. Programming of Algonquin Arts is made possible as a result of the continued philanthropic support of private citizens and organizations such as New Jersey State Council on the Arts, OceanFirst Foundation, New Jersey Cultural Trust, Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, PNC Foundation, Manasquan Savings Bank, Woman’s Club of Brielle, Bank of America, Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation, Investors Savings Bank Charitable Fund, Verizon Foundation, Janice & Jules Plangere III, as well as many generous individuals and local businesses.