Peter RabbitTMTales Story adapted by Jennifer Blatchley Smith, Leslie Reidel and Landis Smith
Music by Charles Gilbert
Based on The Original Peter Rabbit BooksTM by Beatrix Potter
By arrangement with Frederick Warne & Co Limited,
A Penguin Books Limited company
Production Designer David Russell
Choreographer Scott McPheeters
Lighting Designer David O’Connor
Narration Performed by Susan Sweeney
Katie Adkins Benjamin Bunny, Puppeteer
Trevor Cahill Tommy Brock, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Old Mrs. Rabbit, Puppeteer
Erin CarneyFlopsy Bunny, Puppeteer
Bob McMahon Mr. Tod, Puppeteer
Patrick Murray Old Mr. Bouncer, Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Puppeteer
Arielle Pina Peter Rabbit
Touring Technical Director Logan Foy
This production has been made possible in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts that believes that a great nation deserves great art. Art Works.
CAST AND CREW
Katie Adkins (Ensemble) is a 2015 graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA with a B.F.A. in Dance Education. She performed in numerous works with the dance department including the work of Andrea Miller's, Wonderland, and was a company member with female tap ensemble The Lady Hoofers. Special thanks to Merián Soto, Kun-Yang Lin and the rest of Temple's esteemed faculty for all of their knowledge and wisdom - and not to be forgotten is Ms. Charlotte Hafer. Thank you to Enchantment Theatre Company for the opportunity to hop across the country.
Trevor Cahill (Ensemble, Touring Company Co-Manager) is thrilled to return to Enchantment’s production of Peter RabbitTM Tales! After touring the eastern US and delighting audiences with this fun story, Trevor is eager to bring the show to viewers all over the country. As a Philadelphia-based actor, Trevor has worked on numerous productions, but none quite as magical as this! Regional: The Rocky Horror Show Live! (BrainSpunk Theater), One Evening at St. Lucia's (Luke Allen Productions), Till Divorce Do Us Part (Society Hill Playhouse) and Tony 'N' Tina's Wedding (Count Basie Theater). A tremendous thanks to all who have contributed to this incredible journey!
Erin Carney (Ensemble, Touring Company Co-Manager) has been a proud member of Enchantment
Theatre Company since 2014. She is a founding performer of their Enchantment Everywhere outreach tours, and was on their 2014-2015 national tour of The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Erin got her BFA in Theatre and has studied classical acting and multi-disciplinary performance in Philadelphia, London, and Liverpool. She is a 2013 alumni of the Headlong Performance Institute, has performed in various productions in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival since 2009, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts since 2013, and recently premiered her own work in the Philadelphia Solow Festival in 2016. She is grateful to be able to share stories and would like to thank Enchantment for so many opportunities to play.
Bob McMahon (Ensemble) is thrilled to be making his Enchantment Theatre debut with Peter RabbitTM Tales as well as embarking on his first national tour! Bob holds a B.F.A in Musical Theatre from The University of the Arts. A Philadelphia based actor, he was most recently seen in the award winning production of Liberty to Go to See (New Freedom Theatre) and Mauritius (Stagecrafters Theatre). It is his distinguished pleasure to be working with such wonderful and talented artists on this production, as well as sharing this timeless story with you! bobmcmahonjr.com
Patrick Murray (Ensemble)is thrilled to take Peter Rabbit's story on the road with Enchantment Theatre Company! A graduate of Temple University's musical theater and acting program, he has worked in and around Philadelphia as an actor, teaching artist, and choreographer. Recent credits include Sister Act (Walnut Street Theatre), Mary Zimmerman's adaptation of Homer's Odyssey, Anything Goes (Temple University), and he recently made his directorial debut with Center Stage Productions and a cast of thirty
awesome children with Pasek and Paul's James and the Giant Peach Jr. Many thanks to ETC for this awesome opportunity and to his family, friends, and teachers for inspiring and fueling his journey as a
Arielle Pina (Peter Rabbit) is a Philadelphia-based artist hailing from Boston, MA. She explores topics of equality with collaborators of many disciplines to create a cohesive, diverse body of work. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of the Arts, and received The Nadia Chilkousky Nahumck Award for Creativity and Dance-Making. She also attended the Headlong Performance Institute, a post baccalaureate in hybrid performance. Since graduating, she has shared her work at dance venues and film festivals in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Belgium and Paris. She is excited to be joining Peter RabbitTM Tales, a story she has cherished since she was a toddler.
Logan Foy (Touring Technical Director) couldn't be happier to be a part of this theatrical experience. He is a 2012 graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. Most recently, he held the post of Master Electrician and Lighting Designer for Creede Repertory Theatre in Creede, Colorado. His most recent lighting designs include Rodeo & Juliet, Reading! And Other Superpowers (Creede Repertory Theater), and An Enemy of the People (Center Stage Theater). He has also been fortunate enough to work with some amazing musical artists such as Doc Severinsen, Wynton Marsalis, Marty Stuart, and Arturo Sandoval amongst many others. He'd like to thank his parents for always believing in him in everything he does.
Charles Gilbert(Music) is Composer-in-Residence for Enchantment Theatre Company. This is the sixth ETC production he has composed; previous works include Harold and the Purple Crayon, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and, most recently, The Brave Little Tailor and The Beast in the Bayou. A multi-faceted composer, writer, director and educator, Charlie was the Director of the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia from 2008 to 2013, a position to which he was appointed after founding and successfully heading the UArts Musical Theater Program for nearly 20 years. He wrote music and lyrics for Gemini the Musical, which premiered at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia in 2004, earning a Barrymore nomination for Outstanding Original Music; it premiered in New York at NYMF in 2007. Leading Lady, created with playwright P. Seth Bauer, is the most recent of Charlie's works for the musical stage; that project recently had an extended developmental workshop at Drexel University. Other musicals include A Tiny Miracle, Watch The Birdie, Realities, Goosefeathers and A Is For Anything. His 1979 musical Assassins was the source of the idea for the Tony Award-winning musical of the same name by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman. Learn and hear more at www.chasgilbert.com. Charlie gratefully acknowledges the musicians who contributed to Peter RabbitTM Tales: Harvey Price (percussion and contractor), Christopher Farrell (guitar), Douglas Mapp (bass), Jeffrey O’Donnell (oboe), Karen Schubert (horn), Ed Schultz (flute), Jon Shaw (trumpet) and Jim Hamilton of Rittenhouse Soundworks.
Scott McPheeters (Choreographer)graduated from Dickinson College in 2005 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and has worked as a freelance performer/choreographer in Philadelphia ever since. He is a co-director of Subcircle, a multimedia dance collective, and performs regularly with the Nichole Canuso Dance Company and Bearded Ladies Cabaret. Performance credits with Enchantment Theatre Company include Pinocchio, Beauty and the Beast, TheSnow Queen, Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Cinderella. In addition to Peter RabbitTM Tales, he has choreographed Enchantment's productions of Aladdin and Other Enchanting Tales, The Fisherman and the Flounder, The Brave Little Tailor and The Beast in the Bayou.Independently, his choreography has been performed as a part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and the SoLow Festival.
David O’Connor (Lighting Designer) is a Philadelphia director, designer and teacher. He has directed or designed at the Arden, Hedgerow, Act II Playhouse and Delaware Theatre Company, among others. He was nominated for Barrymore Awards for his lighting design of Skylight and his direction of “Master Harold”…and the boys, both at Lantern Theater Company. David is a Resident Director for Philadelphia Young Playwrights and an adjunct at Temple University and University of Pennsylvania.
Leslie Reidel (Artistic Director, Resident Director)has dedicated the last 30 years of his professional life to the preservation of classical theatre and the development of theatre for young audiences. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College and a Masters of Fine Arts from Temple University. He served as a member of the M.F.A. faculty at Temple University and was a founding member of the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Delaware. His directorial credits include The Walnut Street Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, the Madison Civic Rep, the Pennsylvania, Utah, Colorado and Fort Worth Shakespeare Festivals and 12 years as the resident director of the Great American Children’s Theatre. His most recent creations with Enchantment Theatre Company are Ravel’s Mother Goose and Aladdin and Other Enchanting Tales, both of which premiered in 2013 and toured nationally. Other productions include the recent The Flounder and the Fisherman and The Brave Little Tailor, as well as Sylvester and the Magic Pebble; The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon; Scheherazade, which premiered with The Cleveland Orchestra in 2008; and The Velveteen Rabbit. Leslie is Professor of Theatre at the University of Delaware and a director for the Resident Ensemble Players in Newark, DE, where his recent projects have included Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Pinter’s The Homecoming and McPherson’s The Weir. In the fall of 2011 he directed a critically acclaimed production of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes. Leslie is also a frequent guest lecturer on “Acting Shakespeare” and is a member of The International Shakespeare Conference, located in Stratford-upon-Avon. David Russell (Production Designer)David’s varied career includes costume and scenic design, costume and property crafts, event design, project management and teaching. He is currently Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at Ohio University School of Theater. He served as Head of the Costume Crafts Technology Program and instructor of Costume Design at Ohio University from 2003 through 2010. David has been Production Designer for Enchantment Theatre Company for 12 years and has been responsible for the costumes, puppets and scenic designs for Mother Goose (Ma Mere L’Oye), which premiered with the Montréal Symphony; Scheherazade; and TheFirebird, which performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland and Seattle Symphonies. He also designed national tours ofThe Velveteen Rabbit and Pinocchio. David has designed numerous productions with the REP/PTTP Company at the University of Delaware, including set designs for Macbeth; Angels in America;Hayfever;Travesties;Ah, Wilderness! and The Mousetrap, for which he also designed the costumes, and costume designs for The Importance ofBeing Earnest and Tartuffe. Other costume design work includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream, JuliusCaesarandThe Tempest at the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. Additional credits include costume designs for The Pittsburgh Public Theater and Theater Works in Hartford, CT and event design and project management for LIV Design and Design ETC in New York City for the International Toy Fair. In addition to his design work, David has been on staff at The Santa Fe Opera for 18 years, where he has served as the Master Craftsperson in the prop shop. David received his B.F.A. from Ohio University School of Theater and his M.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Website: cdavidrusselldesign.com Jennifer Blatchley Smith (Artistic Director, Literary and Education)studied writing and theater at Bennington College. For the last 30 years, she has co-created and performed in over 20 original productions presented around the United States and abroad. As a founding member of Enchantment Theatre Company, Jennifer created roles as diverse as the Broom in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Beauty in Beauty and the Beast. She performed in Enchantment productions at Lincoln Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York; the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; and the Annenberg Center, the Kimmel Center, and the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. She has traveled to Asia six times with Enchantment productions. Her most recent roles have been in Enchantment’s newest symphony production, Mother Goose, as well as The Firebird and Scheherazade. Her recent co-creations with Enchantment’s artistic team are Aladdin and Other Enchanting Tales, which premiered in 2013 and toured nationally; Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, which toured nationally 2011-2012; The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon, which toured nationally 2009-2011; Scheherazade, which premiered with The Cleveland Orchestra in 2008; and The Velveteen Rabbit, which toured nationally 2007-2009 and 2012-2013. She is a co-creator of Enchantment’s newest program, Enchantment Everywhere, which brings high quality, portable productions into schools and community venues in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Recent Enchantment Everywhere productions are The Fisherman and the Flounder, The Brave Little Tailor and The Beast in the Bayou. Landis Smith (Artistic Director, Production)studied theater with Jewel Walker at Carnegie-Mellon and with Jacobina Caro at Webster University Conservatory in St. Louis. He began performing magic at the age of six and studied violin and voice beginning at the age of nine. His love of theater, music and the art of illusion led to the founding of Enchantment Theatre Company in 1979. As a founder and performer with Enchantment, Landis has created, produced and performed in productions in America and in the Far East. In 1985, Landis and Enchantment collaborated with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to premiere The Symphony and the Sorcerer, the first of a series of programs introducing young people to the magic of symphonic music. Since then, Landis has appeared with major orchestras nationwide, including the premiere of Enchantment’s theatrical adaptation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade with The Cleveland Orchestra in 2008. Landis appeared with the Boston Pops on their annual holiday PBS television special, which aired for five years. He has performed in Enchantment symphonic productions of The Firebird, Cinderella, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Mother Goose with the Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta, Montreal and Seattle symphonies, among others. Landis collaborated in the creation of Enchantment’s most recent national touring productions of Aladdin and Other Enchanting Tales, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon and The Velveteen Rabbit. He toured in the Far East six times with Enchantment, performing in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Landis is a co-creator of Enchantment’s newest program – Enchantment Everywhere – which brings professional, portable productions to students and family audiences around the Greater Philadelphia area. Recent Enchantment Everywhere productions include The Fisherman and the Flounder, The Brave Little Tailor and The Beast in the Bayou. Landis has been an adjunct professor of theater at Muhlenberg College since 2012. Susan Sweeney (Narrator)has been a Voice/Speech/Text/Dialects Coach to professional theatres for the past thirty-five years, among them, the Guthrie Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre, Skylight Opera Theatre, Philadelphia Drama Guild, Walnut Street Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Virginia Stage Company, and the Colorado, Illinois, Utah, Sedona and Oregon Shakespeare Festivals. In 2006, she was dialect coach for Francesca Zambello’s production of Show Boat, which featured a cast of 85 singer-actors, at the Royal Albert Hall in London. From 2001 until 2013, Susan served as Head of Voice and Text, coaching more than 40 productions, at American Players Theatre. She was on the faculty of the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 1981-1989, and then moved with the program to University of Delaware, where she taught until joining the faculty of the Department of Theatre and Drama at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003. She is now a UW-Madison Professor emerita. Susan has acted and sung for many years at such theatres as the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Dallas Theatre Center, Cleveland’s Great Lakes Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, the International Classical Theatre and the Skylight Theatre, playing such roles as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Grace in Faith Healer, Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Paulina in Death and the Maiden, Goneril in King Lear, Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman, Mother Courage in Mother Courage and in several rounds of Love Letters with husband William Leach and Daniel J. Travanti. She played Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit at American Players Theatre in 2011, Dottie in Forward Theatre’s Good People in 2013 and Jesse 2 in Next Act Theatre’s 2014 production of Three Views of the Same Object. Susan’s recorded voice is heard as the Story Lady and all character voices in Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Snow Queen, Pinocchio, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and The Velveteen Rabbit on all national tours and resident Philadelphia runs for Enchantment Theatre Company. She is a voice-over artist, a regular voice on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Chapter a Day”, and also a consultant to various professional voice users, including clergy, politicians, teachers, motivational speakers and toastmasters.
Our Mission Enchantment Theatre Company exists to create original theater for young audiences and families. We accomplish this through the imaginative telling of stories that inspire, challenge and enrich our audience onstage and in the classroom. In doing so, we engage the imagination and spirit of our audience until a transformation occurs and the true grace of our mutual humanity is revealed.
About the Company Enchantment Theatre Company has produced original theater for school groups and families since 2000, when it was established as a non-profit arts organization in Philadelphia. The company presents only original work based on classic stories from children's literature, using its signature blend of masked actors, pantomime, magic, large-scale puppets, and original music. Building on the more than 30 years of theatrical experience of its artistic directors, Enchantment has quickly become known for high quality imaginative productions, not only in its home city but throughout the United States and the Far East.
Enchantment has toured its original productions all over the world, appearing each year in more than 30-40 states. It has performed in such sophisticated urban arts venues as Lincoln Center in New York and the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, as well as in small town high school auditoriums and even performance tents. In Philadelphia, Enchantment has appeared at the Kimmel Center and the Annenberg Center. The company has toured the Far East six times, performing in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Enchantment has also shared the stage with more than 65 orchestras nationwide in its special symphonic works that pair great stories with great music for the benefit of school and family audiences.
The work of Enchantment Theatre Company is transformational. We are committed to creating theatre pieces that shift the very nature and substance of both audience and performers. Our devices are as old as the theatre itself—older in fact. Masks, puppets, music and illusion are the mystical tradecraft of pre-historic shamans and priests who could heal the body and soul. These workers of magic became the actors of ancient Greece whose purpose was to unfold the nature of being a human being with a wildly diverse audience—citizen, slave, rich and poor discovered the essence of their humanity in the company of one another in numbers sometimes reaching 30,000 souls. We of Enchantment Theatre Company are the heirs to this great work. Our mission is to engage the imagination and spirit of the audience until a transformation occurs and the true grace of our mutual humanity is revealed—not one time but each and every time that we perform. This is a mighty task!
Although many of our Enchantment Theatre productions are fable-based, the extraordinary catalogue of children’s literature has been a remarkable treasure chest filled with tales that are particularly well suited to our mission. In that regard, no author (and illustrator) is more valuable than Beatrix Potter and her remarkable creation, Peter Rabbit. Our Peter is the “reluctant hero” and in that regard, we can all identify with him as he carries us along on his journey of startling self-discovery and transformation. Although he is terrified, Peter finds that he must answer the call of Benjamin Bunny and by doing so he must confront his own past and, in a sense, re-invent himself. On his journey, he finds strength where there was weakness, courage where there was fear and compassion where there was indifference. Peter’s saga of physical and spiritual transformation reaches deep into the center of those issues that are so perplexing for children around the world. Children wonder: how can they make their world a better and safer place to play in? As Peter wrestles with that question, and discovers his true place in his family and little community, the universal struggle over faithfulness, courage and love is brought into bold relief. He and his comrades help us all see ourselves with greater clarity and freedom. This is the essence of the work of Enchantment Theatre. Let your imagination work as you join us on the magical journey of Peter RabbitTM Tales. Leslie Reidel, Resident Director
about the author: BEATRIX POTTER
Beatrix Potter is known throughout the world for her beloved animal characters and inventive tales. The particular pleasure of her stories is their truthfully humorous observation of animals and celebration of the natural world. She combined exquisite drawings with imaginative, witty and highly original story-telling. But who was Beatrix Potter?
Born in 1866, Beatrix Potter came from an upper middle-class family and grew up in London. As a child, she was educated at home and had limited opportunities to spend time with other children. Her nursery became the home to a menagerie of pets that she and her brother Bertram collected. She observed her pets closely, studied their characteristics and drew them with great skill.
Through extended family vacations, first in Scotland and later in the Lake District, Beatrix fell in love with the English countryside. Her curiosity, artistic ability and keen observational skills led her to an interest in studying and drawing nature. As a young woman in the 1890s, she yearned to use her talents to find her purpose in life and gain financial and personal independence from the confines of her Victorian family. She began to sell some of her drawings for greeting cards and hoped to get one of her stories published. Her first story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, was originally written in 1893 as a letter to cheer a sick child. In 1901 she privately published a small edition of the story when she was unable to find a publisher. The book was taken up by Frederick Warne & Company in 1902 and became an instant classic. Twenty-two tales followed, with most published over the next ten years. In 1905, Beatrix’s editor, Norman Warne, asked her to marry him. Although her parents disapproved, Beatrix accepted. Tragically Norman Warne died only a few weeks later.
Within the same year Beatrix bought Hill Top Farm in the village of Sawrey in the Lake District. She spent as much time as she could there and her illustrations of the farm and village began to appear in her tales. Working with a local solicitor, William Heelis, she began to purchase properties in the area, with the intention of preserving the farms and conserving the land. In 1913 Beatrix married William Heelis and made Sawrey her permanent home. For the next thirty years they shared a passion for farming and land preservation. When Beatrix Heelis died in 1943, at the age of 77, she left over 4,000 acres of land and fifteen farms to the National Trust of England. Brilliant artist, imaginative writer, passionate naturalist and pioneer in land conservation, Beatrix Potter shared her love of nature with millions of children through her distinctively original tales and by preserving the land that inspired them.
Adapting Peter Rabbit for the Stage When Enchantment Theatre Company considered adapting Beatrix Potter’s tales to the stage, it was the stories featuring Peter Rabbit that immediately came to mind. Peter was Ms. Potter’s first and most beloved character and he and his family appear in a number of the tales. Peter is both a wild rabbit, who needs to survive the dangers of forest and garden, and at the same time, a curious, foolish and lovable little boy. It is due to Beatrix Potter’s skill as artist and writer that we can hold Peter as both these things. We discovered in re-reading the tales how central family was to the Peter Rabbit stories and how much the community of animals helped one another to survive and to flourish. From these themes we recognized an overarching narrative that brought the “rabbit tales” together into one dramatic whole. So, in our production of Peter RabbitTM Tales, we draw on three of the stories: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny and The Tale of Mr. Tod.
Although Peter’s first adventure in Mr. McGregor’s garden is known to most children, his subsequent exploits are less familiar. Instead of telling the stories in a linear fashion, we begin the play when Peter Rabbit, his cousin Benjamin and his sister Flopsy are all grown up. Peter has his own garden and Flopsy and Benjamin are married with baby bunnies of their own. When the nasty badger, Tommy Brock, decides to steal the babies, Peter and Benjamin set off on an adventure to rescue them. Along the way, Peter and Benjamin recall their childhood misadventures, and we flashback to Peter’s tale – his near disastrous escapade in Mr. McGregor’s garden, and then to Benjamin’s tale – when he and Peter returned to the garden and were rescued by Benjamin’s father. Back in the present they continue on their quest, managing to avoid the dapper and dangerous fox, Mr. Tod. During their search, Peter and Benjamin are helped by the cheeky Squirrel Nutkin, and by Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, the kindly hedgehog. Peter and Benjamin are ultimately triumphant, as Peter hilariously pits the badger and fox against one another, rescuing the baby bunnies and returning them safely home.
Helping us bring the story to life are the lush designs of David Russell and the whimsically evocative music of Charles Gilbert. We are thrilled to bring the delightful world of Peter Rabbit to the stage and introduce a whole new generation to Beatrix Potter’s enchanting and enduring tales.
Jennifer Blatchley Smith, Artistic Director, Literary and Education Visit our Discover page at enchantmenttheatre.org/north-american-tours/discover to learn more about Beatrix Potter and the wonderful world that inspired Peter RabbitTM Tales