Highly recommended **** Although “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” is billed as a children’s show – it is produced by Chicago Children’s Theatre after all – the whole family will enjoy it. My six-year-old granddaughter, Molly, liked it a lot. She said it was exciting, funny and sad. I thought it was an incredibly moving, nuanced performance, and one of the best I’ve seen this year. Molly and I both give “Edward Tulane” 4 Spotlights.
After the performance, Molly asked if the cast were signing autographs – a sign she really like it! There were no autographs, but they did pass out a button, which Molly immediately put on. In fact, she wore that button for the next couple of days.
“Once” star, Jessie Fisher narrates the story of Edward Tulane, rabbit made almost entirely of china. Edward, who had an entire wardrobe was a gift to a girl named Abilene, who loved him dearly. When Abilene’s family had to go to England, she took Edward along. One day, as she walked around the deck, showing Edward the sea, some older children took him. Teasing her, they were throwing him back and forth above Abilene’s head, but suddenly someone missed, and Edward went overboard.
After a very long time, Edward was caught in a fishing net. The fisherman took him home to his wife, who made a dress for him because she thought he was a girl rabbit. She doted on Edward who sat in a high chair at the table for meals. When the fisherman’s daughter saw the high chair, she was jealous and threw Edward away.
Next, Edward became the traveling companion of a hobo and his dog. Rolled in a blanket, he rode wherever they went until they got caught sleeping in a boxcar, and the railroad cop threw him off the train. Edward was found by a boy who took him home to his very sick little sister.
Although he couldn’t talk, Edward had opinions – expressed with wistful sighs by Patrick Budde. Edward had to learn to love before things went full circle and he ended up back on Egypt Street.
The cast of four, Melanie Brezill, Patrick Budde, Jessie Fisher and Kelvin Roston, Jr. was incredible. In addition to playing multiple parts – different ages, sexes and species – they all manipulated puppets and played musical instruments. By the way, Brezill was the most convincing dog I’ve seen in any play.
“The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” is an adaptation of a 2006 novel by Kate DiCamillo which won the 2006 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in Fiction. While the smaller set will enjoy “Edward Tulane”, it’s perfect for kids who are reading chapter books (ages 7-10).
The Chicago Children’s Theatre production of “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” runs through November 15th at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. Performances are Tuesday through Friday at 10:00 a.m., Saturday at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Running time is approximately 75 minutes, no intermission. Tickets range from $10-$39. Check www.ruthpage.org for parking suggestions; good luck at finding anything closer than 3 blocks away. FYI (872) 222-9555 or www.chicagochildrenstheatre.org.
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Parking is VERY difficult, so I suggest using public transportation. The Red Line stops very near to the theater as does the Clark Street #22 bus. Park near a bus stop further away where there are free spots, hop a bus and enjoy the special experience of seeing the city from Metra.