Jeremy Daniel
November 18, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST

If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve suffered through your share of kiddie theater and you may be apprehensive about buying tickets to another production that will turn a beloved story into a silly mess. Theatreworks USA and DR2Kids Theater’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit (running through Jan. 27) is just about the opposite of a mess — it’s as beautifully engaging for adults as for children.

Margery Williams’ classic story of a stuffed bunny who becomes real is beautifully told in under an hour. Performers Kristin Parker, Jim Stanek, and John Curcuru co-narrate the story, each seamlessly morphing into different characters when needed. (A ball of yarn on the boy’s bedroom floor becomes Nana’s hair). Curcuru pulls off an especially outstanding visual feat in one scene: when Nana talks to the doctor, who is ”played” by Curcuru’s own arm in a hanging trench coat, and voiced by Stanek off stage.

Kevin Del Aguila’s direction and Lake Simmons’ scenic design are delightfully simple (pinwheels fill in for flowers when the seasons change) yet innovative (the magical fairy who winds up granting ”real” life to the bunny is the shadow of a music box dancer). And, apologies to Ms. Williams, but Del Aguila, who also adapted the story for the stage, adds one heartbreaking moment at the end that makes the story even more special. B+

(Tickets: or 800-432-7250)

Opening date: Nov. 18, 2012; lead performers: Kristin Parker, Jim Stanek, and John Curcuru; writer: Kevin Del Aguila; director: Kevin Del Aguila; genre: children’s

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