Wednesday, April 10, 2019

REVIEW: THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE at Filament Theatre Through May 26, 2019

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List
Based on book by Kate DiCamillo
Adapted by Dwayne Hartford
Directed by Kathryn Walsh

All production photos by Christian Libonati

Through May 26, 2019

Sensory-friendly performance on Sunday, April 28th

Guest Review
by kimberly robb baker

The Filament Theatre’s production of Edward Tulane is as epic a journey in emotions, time, and place as one could hope to experience in 75 minutes. The play, adapted by Dwayne Harford, is based on Kate DiCamillo’s bestselling book of a self-involved porcelain bunny—from the best dollmaker in Paris, if you please. He is loved by the girl Abilene, played by Mariah Copeland, but he neither appreciates nor returns her love.

Edward is a gift from Abilene’s mysterious grandmother, Pellegrina, portrayed with a really creepy, nonchalant scariness by Juanita Andersen. She sees his nature and, perhaps, is instrumental in instigating his life-altering fall from a ship.

From the bottom of the sea, Edward begins to think on things. The adventures he has, people he meets, and love he experiences are deeply touching—and surprising given that Edward cannot move or speak.

Enter his alter-ego, voiced by Nik Kmiecik in words and a very sweet mandolin, allow us to very actively witness Edward’s transformation.

Alejandro Tey plays Abilene’s father. He, Andersen, and Copeland bring to life a diverse cast of characters, from old fisher-people to hobos to farm owners and workers and more. The cast is extraordinary, as individuals embodying several very different people and as a group. They were so present with each other and true to each character they played, that I would have felt seemingly the entire range of human emotion had the play happened in a black box with a single spotlight.

The production, however, was imaginative and beautiful. From set to lighting to props—and the interplay of all those elements with each other and the cast—a charming world was created and the audience, adult and child, was enraptured from start to finish. Expect twists and turns, tears of sorrow and joy, and a deeper understanding of love with all its risks.

Bonus: One nine-year-old in our party is now excited to read the book!

Kimberly Robb Baker is a Chicago based writer, blogger, consultant, story teller, and mother. You can find her worky stuff here: and her artsy fartsy stuff here:

Bring a favorite stuffed animal or doll!
Edward Tulane tells the story of a beloved toy rabbit and his extraordinary adventures.  But we know Edward isn’t the only toy with stories to tell! We invite you to bring a favorite stuffed companion to share in our “Pop Up Museum” -- a show-and-tell environment where audience members can share their childhood treasures.  Audience members of all ages are invited to participate (Yes, grown-ups, we mean you too!).

Read the book!
Filament’s stage version of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a very faithful adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s beautiful novel.  Get an advance look at the characters and story by purchasing the book in advance, or checking it out at your local library.  If your family prefers surprises, reading the book after seeing the show is a great way to extend the experience! The book will be available at the theater for patrons who make an on-site donation of $20 or more.

About the play
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane contains moments of peril, including loss and death. If you have questions about the content and whether it is right for your child, please email us at The show runs 75 minutes without an intermission.

If you have any questions about your journey to Filament Theatre, we encourage you to view our Plan Your Visit page on our website.

I had a chance to catch this stellar story a few years back at Chicago Children's Theatre and it's truly a treat to see this family friendly favorite come to life on stage. We're so excited Filament Theatre's mounting this production this spring. 

Filament Theatre brings to the stage The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, now playing through May 26 at Filament Theatre, 4041 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago. Based on Newbery Award winner Kate DiCamillo’s best selling book, adaptor Dwayne Harford has crafted the beloved story for the stage. Director Kathryn Walsh returns to Filament Theatre to bring new life into what the Chicago Tribune calls “the most charming of narratives.” Single tickets are currently available at

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane will feature Nik Kmiecik as the Musician voicing the inner thoughts of Edward Tulane with Juanita Andersen, Mariah Copeland, and Filament Resident Artist Alejandro Tey filling out the rest of the characters. Kathryn Incardona and Laila Sauer will understudy.

The cast of Filament Theatre’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (top, l to r): Juanita Andersen, Mariah Copeland (bottom, l to r): Nik Kmiecik, Alejandro Tey.

The production team for Edward Tulane includes direction by Kathryn Walsh, original music by Filament Resident Artist Timothy McNulty, costume design by Filament Resident Artist Noël Huntzinger, set design by Sarah Watkins, sound design by Matthew Chapman, lighting design by Jessica Carson, stage management by Sarah Collogne and Emma Franklin, with production assistance from Danny Kapinos, Cat Perez and Auden Granger. 

In the words of one young Filament patron, the story of Edward Tulane is “happy, then sad, then all mixed up.” Edward Tulane is an expensive toy rabbit made of china. He is loved by a little girl named Abilene, but Edward has no interest in anyone other than himself. On an ocean voyage, Edward is accidentally thrown overboard and sinks to the bottom of the sea. So begins his journey—a journey over which he has no control, for he is a toy rabbit. He can neither move nor speak. As years pass by, Edward meets many different people in many different situations. Through this miraculous journey, Edward learns what it is to love, what it is to lose that love, and how to find the courage to love again.

Produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company, Inc., Woodstock, Illinois. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane was originally commissioned, developed and produced at Childsplay in Tempe, Ariz. David P. Saar, artistic director; Steve Martin, managing director. 

For more information including age recommendations, visit

Accessible Performances: 
Filament Theatre offers a sensory-friendly performance of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane on Sunday, April 28 @1pm. This performance is reserved specifically for families who have at least one member with special needs. Tickets are now available.

Filament Theatre, 4041 N Milwaukee Ave in Chicago

Previews: Saturday, March 30 @ 3:30pm; Sunday, March 31 @ 3:30pm; and Saturday April 6 @ 1pm.
Press performances: Saturday, April 6 @ 3:30pm & Sunday, April 7 @ 3:30pm
Regular run: Saturday, April 13 - May 26, 2019
Curtain Times: Saturday @ 1pm & 3:30pm; Sunday @ 3:30pm.

Tickets: Previews: $16. Regular run $16 for children, $19.50 for adults, $18 for seniors. All ticket fees included in price. Tickets are available at For questions call the Filament office at (773) 270-1660.

About the Artists:
Kate DiCamillo (Author) Kate DiCamillo’s writing journey has truly been a remarkable one. She grew up in Florida and moved to Minnesota in her 20s, where homesickness and bitter winter led her to write. Since then, the best-selling author has explored settings as varied as medieval castles, a magician’s theatre and the bustling streets of Memphis, while continuing to enjoy great success. No matter where her books are set, their themes of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances and their messages of shared humanity and connectedness have resonated with readers of all ages around the world. Born in Philadelphia and raised in the South, DiCamillo now lives in Minneapolis.

Dwayne Hartford (Playwright) Dwane Hartford is the artistic director at Childsplay in Tempe, Ariz., where all of his plays for young audiences have premiered. Hartford has had six plays published by Dramatic Publishing. He won the AATE distinguished Play award for Eric and Elliot in 2005 and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane in 2018. The Imaginators was produced and aired on KAET TV, Phoenix PBS affiliate. His adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities was part of New York University’s New Plays for Young Audiences Workshop and has been performanced at Seattle Children's Theatre; People’s Light and Theatre in Malvern, Penn.; and Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston. The Bully Pulpit is included in the anthology The Bully Plays and is being produced in schools and communities around the country. His other published plays include The Color of the Stars and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, which has been professionally produced all over the country, including Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Md.; Dallas Children’s Theater; Chicago Children’s Theatre; and South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, Calif. Harford lived in Phoenix with his dog, Henry, He is originally from Maine and received his bachelor’s in fine arts from the Boston Conservatory. 

About Filament Theatre:
Filament Theatre creates immersive and site-specific theatre that inspires, empowers, and activates young people and their communities. Filament envisions a future in which the leaders of tomorrow approach others with radical empathy, serving as ambassadors for their communities and stewards of the Earth. 

The company’s staff is comprised of Julie Ritchey (Artistic Director) and Christian Libonati (Managing Director).

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is supported in part by the Stephanie Cutter Group. Filament Theatre’s full season of programs is supported in part by the Alphawood Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Saints, and Wintrust Community Banks. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

For additional information visit 

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