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Childsplay brings back a classic: Everyone's favorite vampire rabbit
By Matt Stone

February 4, 2006

“Bunnicula,” the hugely popular children’s story about an ambiguously vampire-ish bunny, has made its way to the Tempe Performing Arts Center stage via Childsplay Theatre Company.

“It’s like going into a haunted house,” said Debra K. Stevens, who plays Chester the Cat.

“You enjoy letting yourself be scared.”

The tale that was first brought to life by James and Deborah Howe in 1979 has seen great success with kids and in schools. It follows the Monroe family as they happen upon a rabbit while at the movie Dracula. Fittingly, they name the animal “Bunnicula.”

To Harold the Dog and Chester the Cat, there seems to be something unusual about the new pet. Its black and white appearance, the arrival of a cape, pointy teeth and nocturnal habits all seem like too much of a coincidence.

From there, strange occurrences begin to happen at the Monroe house, including the discovery of a white tomato, drained of its fluid. With other vegetables losing their juices, it is up to Chester and Harold to discover the rabbit’s true nature.

Directed by Adam Burke, the musical looks to duplicate the success of the book onstage. Burke says while the story is a lot of fun, it covers important topics as well.

“It asks questions about friendship.”

Burke, who had never heard of “Bunnicula” prior to the production, said he learned that the books were popular because they were fun. Working with the cast and crew, such as Stevens, was another part he enjoyed.

“It’s been a good time.”

Stevens, who was familiar with the story prior to the show, has been studying her part carefully.

“(I’ve been) observing my own cat for characteristics.”

Stevens is no novice to theater, as she has done close to 90 shows with Childsplay alone.

This particular show has been a memorable experience for her, she says.

“Fast and furious, it’s a lot of information thrown at you quickly. (It’s been) a little painful.”

The show promises to be a lot of fun and is best suited for families with children ages five and older.

The production runs Feb. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26 and March 4-5 and 11-12, with Saturday shows at 2 and 5 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for children, students and seniors.

More information can be found at or by calling (480) 350-8101.




























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