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CAC to host beloved children’s book characters ‘Max and Ruby’

By APRIL LINE - Sun-Gazette Correspondent

October 9, 2011
Williamsport Sun-Gazette

Things at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., are about to get a lot more exciting.

"Max and Ruby: Bunny Party" is set to arrive Thursday, and tickets are $5 for students and $10 and $15 for adults, depending on the seats. The show will be presented at 1:30 and 7 p.m.

As part of a vision to make theater more available to children, CAC's educational series (spearheaded by Jeri Sims); Rosemary Wells, acclaimed children's book author; and Koba Entertainment coalesce to bring this playful, colorful, affordable family entertainment to the city.

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“Max and Ruby: Bunny Party” will be presented at 1:30 and 7 p.m. Thursday at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.

Responsible for the stage versions of other beloved children's literature and television such as "Caillou," "The Backyardigans" and "The Big Comfy Couch," Koba Entertainment seeks to present quality theater for families.

"Bunny Party" employs award-winning talent in the costuming and conception departments, borrowing from the Canadian Royal Winnipeg Ballet's wardrobe department.

Patti Calpette, who conceived "Bunny Party," is responsible for - among others - theatrical presentations of "The Doodlebops" and "Franklin the Turtle."

"Bunny Party" tells the story of a super-surprise party for which Max and Ruby must scramble to prepare.

As is the modus operandi for these two sweet rabbits, their desires collide resulting in hijinks and hilarity.

"Ruby came directly from my oldest daughter, Victoria," Rosemary Wells said when asked about this character whose older-sibling martyrdom rings so true.

Wells herself is an only child, but has a deep connection with her childhood, which she views as essential for her work in writing and illustrating children's books.

When asked in a phone interview if she must work to cultivate this unique awareness of a child's world, she said simply, "It's my job."

Wells is excited about children's theater. The biography on her website stated, "[My parents] had both been in the theater and understood the arts from the inside. We had a house full of wonderful books. Reading stories aloud was as much a part of my childhood as the air I breathed."

When asked if she consulted on the musical or the television show, she said, "I certainly did collaboration for the musical, and asked them to please use the original books that are published by Viking because the original books have the flavor of the real Max and Ruby.

"They were wonderful with that, and they used my artwork. I collaborated on the script."

Her thoughts about the TV show were a little less lively because she thinks that children's culture is far too materialistic, and that children spend too much time watching TV.

"Books are the best part of children's culture," she said. Still, she said, "We had a great time preparing the first episodes."

She acknowledged that TV is a very different medium. "If they're going to do 70, 80, 90 episodes and an author has only written 20 books, it has to be!"

"The play is terrific, the theater is wonderful," Wells said. "The children need to see it. It's funny and it's musical and it's wholesome. I encourage everybody out there to see it, and to go to the library and take out lots of children's books and read them, read them, read them."

Tickets are available by calling the box office at 326-2424 or by visiting and clicking the "family" link.



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