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2,000 Youngsters Attend Kennedy Center Production in Auditorium

Lindenwood University-Belleville’s Auditorium was host to over 2,000 children as they attended The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences’ presentation of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical on Jan. 18, 19, and 20.

“This is the first time that the Kennedy Center has performed in Belleville,” said Steve Suess, coordinator for Lindenwood Belleville’s Education Department. “It’s a great opportunity for local elementary school students to witness the magnificence of Kennedy Center actors performing at the historic Lindenwood Belleville auditorium.”

Originally a Caldecott Honor-winning picture book by Mo Willems, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale was converted into a theater production in May 2010 with the help of Emmy Award-winning composer Michael Silversher. Knuffle Bunny is recommended for audiences in kindergarten through sixth grade and tells the tale of adventure, song, and dancing laundry as a little girl’s favorite toy, her stuffed Knuffle Bunny, gets lost during what proves to be an extraordinary trip to the laundromat.

For 18 years, the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences has traveled long distances to bring imaginative dramatic performances to children in their hometowns across the United States and Canada. After Knuffle Bunny’s world premiere was held at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the musical took to the road this fall for its national tour.

Students from at least 16 Metro East schools attended the six showings of Knuffle Bunny at Lindenwood Belleville.

“Theatrical productions of this prestige and quality are examples of the kind of artistic appreciation that we are seeking to offer the community as an educational and cultural center,” said Jerry Bladdick, vice president and CAO of Lindenwood University-Belleville. “Not only do we hope to garner this appreciation in our own students, but we also desire to bring artistic and educational opportunities to the Belleville area that would otherwise not have been possible. We are honored to host the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences and its production of Knuffle Bunny.”

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