Imagination Stage starts off their 2016-2017 season with Kate DiCamillo’s timeless story, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. The story begins when Abilene receives a china rabbit from her grandmother. She names him Edward Tulane and loves him completely. One day, Abilene’s family is on an ocean liner and Edward is lost overboard. But this is just the start of Edward’s journey. He’s pulled up from the ocean by a fisherman who brings him home to live with him and his wife.
From there, he’s rescued from a garbage heap by a hobo and his dog, comforts an ailing child, and dances in the streets of Memphis. As Edward travels through the 20th Century, he is inspired by each of the people who make him their own. He learns to listen and to love and in the end is part of a true miracle.
Imagination Stage recommends this performance for ages 6 and up, though I think it’s better suited for children a little older than that. It’s a story with many moving themes – many of the people who Edward meets have had tragedy in their lives. In particular, Edward is found by a boy who gives him to his sister.
His sister is very ill (and dies in the play) and their father is abusive – both things that are easily upsetting to children. Even as an adult I found those scenes hard to watch. There is also some peril for Edward – children who are particularly attached to their own stuffed animals may be be genuinely concerned for his well-being. And while the play was beautifully acted and there is a happy ending, it was a bit heavy for the younger children in the audience.
My daughter loved seeing how four actors played all the parts, truly bringing Kate DiCamillo’s book to life. She was fascinated watching them change hats and put on different layers of costumes and transform into someone new. She also really enjoyed the music. Brandon McCoy, who gives voice to Edward, also plays the guitar and harmonica during the play, which we all really enjoyed. Imagination Stage excels at making their stage productions look effortless.
In particular, my daughter was fascinated by how everything was done on stage so that she could see it. Costume changes, sound effects, and moving pieces of the set to create new scenes were all really intriguing and helped to keep the audience engaged.
Imagination Stage is a really lovely theater – my daughter felt very grown-up, especially when the usher handed her a special “kids program”. There is a “quiet room” in the back corner of the theater if your child needs a break (you can still see and hear the play but won’t disturb anyone). This is especially great if you have an older child who is ready for a play but a younger sibling who can’t make it through. There are bathrooms and vending machines available as well as a unique toy shop. Some street parking is available, as well as a parking garage next door.
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is 90 minutes long including a 15 minute intermission.
- The show runs until October 30, 2016.
- There are performances at 1:30 and 4 p.m. most Saturdays and Sundays, and tickets cost $10-$30.
- An ASL-interpreted performance will be held on October 23, 2016 at 4 p.m. and Open Captioning on October 16, 2016 at 1:30 p.m.
- Before you head to a show at Imagination Stage, read over their guide Talking It Over, After the Show. It’s a helpful document that shares tips on how to engage your child before and after the show.
- Next up: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast from November 19, 2016 to January 15, 2017. I’d recommend purchasing your tickets now before they sell out!
Photo credit: Noe Todorovich.