Director Dana Qualy (standing) shares a laugh with cast members — from front left, Ella Schanzel, Nora Duffy and Maura Willis — during rehearsal for the Portage Center for the Arts Zona Gale Young People's Theatre production of “The Velveteen Rabbit,” opening Friday.

The Portage Center for the Arts and Festival Foods bring the classic children’s story “The Velveteen Rabbit” to the stage beginning at 7 p.m. Friday at the Zona Gale Young People’s Theatre, 301 East Cook St., Portage.

Performances run for two weekends, at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for ages 12 and younger or $35 for the Family Special, two adults and their children.

“The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams, adapted by nationally recognized playwright James Still, is one of the most popular children’s classics ever published and one of the top 100 books still used by teachers since it was first published in 1922. The book has been awarded the IRA/CBC Children’s Choice award.

“The Velveteen Rabbit” is about a little boy and his favorite stuffed animal as they learn about life, love and growing up in this lively adaptation of the classic children’s book. This production expands upon that crucial experience of childhood in which the inanimate is animated. Anyone who has ever had a beloved stuffed animal, doll or action figure remembers how the concept of “real” glides in and out of childhood consciousness and changes how we feel about the world.

Director Dana Qualy graduated in spring with a bachelor of arts in drama and an arts management minor from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She is an alumnus of Portage High School and of the Zona Gale Young People’s Theatre, has been an instructor for ZGYPT in PCA’s Children’s Theatre Workshop and Youth Theatre Workshop, and has stage-managed and directed at the university.

Xan Johnson, artistic director of the Zona Gale Young People’s Theatre at Portage Center for the Arts, will assist.

For information, visit portagecenterforthearts.com.

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