Margery Williams was born in London in 1881 and first came to the United States at the age of nine. For the rest of her life, she lived alternately in England and America. Her first novel was published when she was 21, but she turned to writing for children in 1922 with the publication by Doubleday of The Velveteen Rabbit the first and best-known of her 30 books for young people. Toward the end of her life, she lived in Greenwich Village, New York. She died there in 1944.
Janet Allard I have written a lot of plays including Vrooommm! (Summer Play Festival, Triad Stage, published by Samuel French), Speed Date, Incognito, Loyal and Untold Crimes of Insomniacs (published by Playscripts, Inc.). My musicals include Into the Wild (commissioned by Perseverance Theatre; developed at Berkeley Rep Ground Floor, Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat; performed at 54 Below and Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre’s “New Songs Now”); Pool Boy (Barrington Stage, Provincetown Playhouse), Driving West (Ars Nova) and The Unknown (Jonathan Larson Award, P73 Productions, and New York Music Festival). My work has been seen at The Guthrie Lab, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Mixed Blood Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Yale Repertory Theatre, The Yale Cabaret, The Women’s Project, Perseverance Theatre, Joe’s Pub, Barrington Stage, P73 Productions, Ars Nova, Arts and Artists at St. Paul, Birdland Jazz Club and Feinstein’s/54 Below. Among my awards and honors are a Fulbright Fellowship, two Jerome Fellowships (The Playwrights’ Center), three MacDowell Colony Fellowships, a North Carolina Arts Council individual artist grant and a writer’s residency grant from National Alliance for Musical Theatre. I received two Rhinebeck Writer’s Residencies
(2011, 2014) and had a 29-hour reading there in 2016. I have an MFA in play-writing from Yale School of Drama and studied at New York University’s Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. janetallard.com.
Learn more about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.
Amielynn Abellera (Velveteen Rabbit)
Hello! I’m Amielynn and I love playing the Velveteen Rabbit. My very first pet was a floppy-eared rabbit. We named him Valentine because my big brother and I rescued him from a busy street on Valentine’s Day. I was born in Stockton, Calif., and dreamt of becoming an actress since I was five—that’s because my parents brought me to see plays and musicals on big stages just like SCR! I earned my graduate degree in acting at the University of Southern California, and I’ve performed in many plays in LA and all over the country. I’ve performed in award-winning films and on television shows such as “Just Add Magic,” “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn” and “NCIS.” I also narrate fun middle school and teen audiobooks, which you can listen to on Audible.com. You can find more information on me at amielynnabellera.com. Thanks for coming—and I hope you enjoy the show!
Ricky Abilez (Boy)
I come from a Hispanic family of more than 200 people who taught me to love, laugh and embrace my passion, which has always been the arts. When I was 16, I was determined to win “American Idol” and become a recording artist, so I auditioned and was quickly sent home. I was heartbroken, but, soon after,
I was cast as the lead in our school musical! Theatre inspired me to pursue my BFA in acting at California State University, Fullerton. I learned many things:
to actively listen, challenge yourself, work hard and change the world by sharing meaningful stories. So that’s what I do. I’m a teacher, an activist and an artist. You may have seen me here at SCR in Shakespeare in Love or with MainStreet Theatre Company in Frederick! Always pursue your dreams, never give up and remember to be proud of the things you do, because you matter!
Joseph Abrego (Wooden Lion/Furry Rabbit/Sam the Gardener)
I grew up in Northern California and fell in love with acting
when I was in 8th grade. I moved down to Southern California to attend UC-Irvine and studied theatre and singing there with talented and passionate professors who taught me a lot about acting, music and myself! I graduated from college in 2016 and, since then, have had the pleasure of being in incredibly fun musicals such as Evita, Carousel, Man of La Mancha and In the Heights. Last year, I played dorky little Ricardo
in Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook and had a blast! I hope you have a great time watching The Velveteen Rabbit!
Paul Culos (Skin Horse)
I definitely identify with my character—Skin Horse—in
The Velveteen Rabbit. Many of my toys were very real to me when I was a child. In fact, I still have a select few that I couldn’t part with and have passed them on to my nieces and nephews. Playtime was an important part of my life and, in many ways, it led me to continue playing on stage and screen. In LA, I perform as a member of The Antaeus Company and with many other theatres, most recently at Boston Court Pasadena in a show called Everything That Never Happened.
On TV, you’ll see me in “Modern Family,” “The Middle,” “Superior Donuts” and “Shameless.” You can find out more about me at paulculos.com.
Nicole Cowans (Wind-up Ballerina, Wild Rabbit, New Bunny)
I’m an international Afro-Latina performing artist who speaks both English and Spanish fluently, which makes it possible for me to connect with all kinds of amazing people. I received my MFA in drama from the University of California, Irvine (2018), where I studied various forms of theatrical expression, such as acting, singing, clowning, masking, dance and much more. When I’m not on stage, I teach theatre arts, drink tons of coffee, watch cartoons, make lots of organizational lists, spend time with family and cuddle my three little dogs. I’m over the moon to be returning to the South Coast Repertory stage after my recent professional debut as Tall in Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience. For more about me, follow @nicolecowans or
Nicole Erb (Model Airplane/Doctor/Nursery Magic Fairy)
Hi, there! You might have seen me playing Lucille and the Grouchy Typing Lady last year in Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook. Growing up, I forced family members to watch me perform shows that were part-singing, part-very-bad-dancing and
part-stand-up comedy; they always started with a fake fall (pratfall). I love making people laugh, even if it made me look silly. I feel very lucky to get to tell stories, sing and dance badly. My advice to you: keep practicing fake farts, silly voices and weird walks because someday, someone might even pay you for them!
I’ve been in commercials, movies, plays and on TV shows like “Scandal,” “Big Time Rush” and "Hack My Life.” I’m a sketch comedy writer and performer (silly voices and wigs)
at Upright Citizens Brigade. I studied acting at Temple University and UC-Irvine.
I can’t wait to laugh along with you today!
Carina Morales (Nana/Toy Soldier)
I graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with a BA
in drama and honors in musical theatre. After college, I moved to New York City and auditioned for lots of fun shows that took me all over the world. I visited more than 80 different countries while working as a singer for Holland America, Seabourn and Silversea cruise lines. I also performed in musicals at Hong Kong Disneyland and Universal Studios Singapore. You might have seen me as Lucille in the national tour of Junie B. Jones, or here at South Coast Repertory, when I played Minden in Amos & Boris: A New Musical. When I’m not performing, I teach acting and direct plays and musicals for kids all over Orange County. I loved The Velveteen Rabbit when I was a kid, and
I am excited to have the opportunity to share that story with you!
Beth Lopes (Director)
I was very young when my parents started taking me to theatre and my interest was ignited. (Thank you, parents!) I was lucky enough to attend a high school with exceptional drama teachers who encouraged me to pursue a career in the arts. I traveled all the way from California to New York City to study acting at New York University, and that’s where I encountered brilliant mentors and friends who guided me towards my true theatre love: directing. I traveled back to California to become a better director under the instruction of extraordinary professors at
UC-Irvine. It was through them that I was first introduced to the wonderful people and artists at South Coast Repertory. Last year, I had the great pleasure of directing Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook, and I am truly delighted to be back directing The Velveteen Rabbit. I hope you enjoy this bittersweet and beautiful story!
Keith Mitchell (Scenic Design)
I have designed many shows based on books you may have read, like Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience, Ella Enchanted, Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business or Mr. Popper’s Penguins. I even make a miniature of the set for every show I design. Sometimes,
I design and make sets for commercials, like Taco Bell, or for shows on TV or Netflix, and sometimes I even design dentist offices! I grew up in Thousand Oaks, in the Conejo Valley. Conejo is Spanish for “rabbit,” and there are cottontail rabbits everywhere! I made a lot of tree houses and forts and invented my own toys, which is sort of like working in the theatre! I once took a study abroad program in Cambridge, England. I would ride my bike to and from class, along the banks of the River Cam, through parks and meadows every day, and I reminisced about how it felt, being at the edge of the woods, while
I was designing for a play.
Kathryn Wilson (Costume Design)
I am a costume and makeup designer for theatre, dance and opera.
I went to school at UC-Irvine to learn how to design costumes and to make things like hats, masks, armor and jewelry.
I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a designer, but I always loved to draw and make clothes to wear. When I was growing up, I loved to play dress-up in my grandmother’s vintage dresses. The best part was putting together fancy outfits with hats and jewelry. Now, I get to go to work and play dress up with the actors on stage. The best part of being a costume designer is that I get to be creative every day and see my designs come to life on stage. I teach costume design and theatrical makeup at California State University, Fullerton,
and help the next generation of designers bring their dreams to life.
Kathryn D. Lawrence (Lighting Design)
I am a theatrical lighting designer, which means I love to paint with light. I fell in love with lighting design while studying acting at UC-Irvine. From magical twinkle lights to flashy rock ’n’ roll strobes, I have fun making pretty pictures on stage. I have designed numerous plays at SCR including the Theatre for Young Audiences productions of Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience, Nate the Great, Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook, Ella Enchanted, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, The Light Princess, A Year with Frog and Toad and The Miraculous Journey
of Edward Tulane, as well as Seussical,
Into the Woods, Beauty and the Beast,
Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and Annie for SCR’s Theatre Conservatory. One of my favorite designs each year is lighting
the haunted mazes for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights! When I’m
not playing with lights, I’m riding my horses in the mountains near my
home in Los Angeles.
Ears Up Sound Design (Sound Design)
Hi, we’re Matt Caspary and Mark Glenn, and we’re great friends who love to work together as a team at our company, Ears Up.
We met in graduate school at UC-Irvine, just down the road from South Coast Repertory. We love making fun sounds and music that tell stories for people all around the country and the world. We have a sound playground in Los Angeles; it’s our laboratory where we create all kinds of sounds and music for theatre, theme parks and museums. You may have heard some of our sounds right here at SCR (Pinocchio, Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook). We are thrilled to be working together again with this brilliant team of friends to tell you the story of
The Velveteen Rabbit!
Kathryn Davies (Stage Manager)
I grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, where I studied piano, ukulele, recorder and tap dancing. My parents took me to see a lot of shows, and I decided to become a stage manager when I was in the 12th grade. My high school drama teacher, Mr. Drew, inspired me to do this. Through the years, I have studied French, Italian, German and Spanish, which has helped me to work on big opera productions.
I am very grateful to my parents for making me keep up with my music lessons, because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now. Today, I get to work with amazingly creative actors, directors, designers, singers, musicians and film stars in several countries.
The Actors and Stage Managers employed in this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Paul Culos, Nicole Cowans, Joseph Abrego, Amielynn Abellera, Carina Morales and Nicole Erb in "The Velveteen Rabbit." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Nicole Cowans, Joseph Abrego, Carina Morales, Amielynn Abellera and Ricky Abilez in "The Velveteen Rabbit." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Nicole Cowans, Amielynn Abellera and Joseph Abrego in "The Velveteen Rabbit." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Nicole Cowans, Joseph Abrego, Amielynn Abellera and Nicole Erb in "The Velveteen Rabbit." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Paul Culos, Ricky Abilez, Amielynn Abellera, Carina Morales, Joseph Abrego and Nicole Cowans in "The Velveteen Rabbit." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Ricky Abilez and Amielynn Abellera in "The Velveteen Rabbit." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Nicole Erb and Amielynn Abellera in "The Velveteen Rabbit." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Paul Culos, Ricky Abilez and Amielynn Abellera in "The Velveteen Rabbit." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Amielynn Abellera and Ricky Abilez in "The Velveteen Rabbit." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Paul Culos, Joseph Abrego, Carina Morales, Nicole Cowans and Nicole Erb in "The Velveteen Rabbit." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Ricky Abilez, Amielynn Abellera, Carina Morales and Nicole Erb in "The Velveteen Rabbit." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Paul Culos and Amielynn Abellera in "The Velveteen Rabbit." Photo by Debora Robinson.