Knuffle Bunny

Photo courtesy of Adventure Theatre, by Michael Horan

This post was written by our contributor Melissa Moore.

If you’ve ever crawled through the detritus of your car’s backseat in the dark to find a lovey after a bedtime meltdown or returned to a playground to retrieve a favorite forgotten ball cap, you’ll immediately identify with baby Trixie’s mom and dad as they journey to the laundromat in search of Trixie’s lost Knuffle Bunny. The Adventure Theatre’s new production, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical, tells the simple story of the young toddler Trixie’s trip to the neighborhood laundromat with her father; of course, as all parents know, a trip anywhere with a toddler can never be a simple undertaking.

As expected, the star of the show is Trixie, played by Suzanne Lane; Trixie’s tight curls and bright orange overalls are reminiscent of many toddlers we see on a daily basis in our own neighborhood. While Trixie’s baby babbling in both prose and song mesmerized my children, I found her adult-sized version of the toddler tantrum to be comically realistic and undoubtedly this mama’s favorite part of the hour long show.

The overly optimistic, idyllic Dad (Scott Harrison) is likely to give most parents a chuckle. The loving relationship between father and daughter is played out scene after scene in the adorable musical. Let me suggest to fathers of preschool girls, that Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical might just be the most perfect first father-daughter theater date possible.

At ages 6 and 7, my kids still love Mo Willems’ books; our current favorites are the Elephant and Piggie series, which my son reads practically every night.  Despite having a bit of an Elephant and Piggie obsession, one of my son’s most favorite things about Willems’ books is to search for Pigeon throughout Willems’ collection of children’s literature; this mama had so much fun watching her son’s face light up when Pigeon made an appearance in Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical. Fans of Mo Williems will certainly not be disappointed in this stage production of the book Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, which was first inspired by Willems’ outings with his own daughter, Trixie.

Finally, congratulations are in order as Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical marks the beginning of Adventure Theatre’s 65th Anniversary Season which includes: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Ella Enchanted, Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, and Junie B Jones is Not a Crook.

Knuffle Bunny at Adventure Theatre

Photo by Michael Horan

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical is on stage in Glen Echo Park through October 23rd.

Know Before You Go

  • Like most Adventure Theatre shows, the run-time on Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical is approximately one hour with no breaks. The performers use the exits frequently during the performance so it is not easy to come in and out the theatre with a younger toddler. This show is best for kids who can sit still either in their own seat on their parent’s lap for at least 45 minutes.
  • Bubbles will fall from the ceiling at one point in the show. We were seated in the front row on one of the sides and bubbles fell directly on us and in a couple rows behind us. To avoid bubbles, head towards the top rows of seating or ask a stage manager about where exactly the bubbles will fall. Keep in mind that tots really can’t get up, run around and chase the bubbles without disturbing the performance. So, if your tot might be tempted to do that, avoid the front row, and enjoy the bubbles from a location from which getting up to play isn’t really an option.
  • There is an adult-sized Knuffle Bunny that makes an appearance at a couple of points in the show. Also, there are human-sized laundry puppets that dance around the stage. Many of the 1-3 year olds in the audience appeared a bit scared by the size of these floating laundry items, but I didn’t see any tears. If your tot fears these large characters, it might be best to sit up away from the stage
  • In my opinion, the target age for this performance is age three to five, preschool and kindergarten. Kids up about age 10 are likely to enjoy the show, especially if they are with younger siblings and remember the days when their baby brother or sister was a young toddler. My six-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter both gave the performance an enthusiastic positive review.

Melissa Moore writes travel stories for Trekaroo and is mom to two energetic young children who wake up at the crack of dawn asking, “Where are we going today?”