Peter Rabbit will be hopping down the Kennedy Center trail this Easter. A musical adaptation of Beatrix Potter's classic children's story "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" opens next Sunday as part of the seventh annual "Imagination Celebration" there.
Bunny-sized choreographer Muna Tseng (she's five feet tall), who dances the role of Peter herself, has done some research: "I went to a day-care center in New York and looked at Norman the rabbit for a long time," Tseng says with a laugh. "And at the auditions, I made my dancers do an improvisation on being a rabbit. We have lots of rabbit jokes now," says Tseng, adding with a straight face that the cast of six has been "really trying to get into the psychology of Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail."
"Peter is represented by themes played by oboe, bassoon and sometimes tuba," Tseng says. "We're 'soft-shoe' rabbits, I guess you could say. But Mother Rabbit is en pointe. And you should see Farmer McGregor! He's 12 feet tall, so children get a feeling for Peter's fright when the farmer catches him in his garden."
"Peter Rabbit" is an ideal project, Tseng says. "I love performing for children. They will laugh, they will cry--they give you back."
Although the Kennedy Center says some performances of "Peter Rabbit" are already sold out, tickets are still available for Gian Carlo Menotti's futuristic children's opera "A Bride From Pluto," Tuesday through Sunday, and free performances of "Dandelion" and "Joe Louis: The Brown Bomber" in the Theater Lab.