Indiana State University Newsroom

‘The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane’ opens July 5

June 25, 2019

With little more than a trunk of toys, a small troupe of actors will transport you from a cozy life of luxury to the bottom of the ocean -- and beyond -- when "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" opens at Crossroads Repertory Theatre on July 5.

Based on Kate DiCamillo's magical novel for youth, the unlikely odyssey of a vain and self-obsessed china doll rabbit unfolds to illuminate the beautiful, redemptive and often difficult realities of love. DiCamillo was inspired by the original tales of "Pinocchio," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Winnie the Pooh."

"What I really love about ‘Edward Tulane' is its roots are in classic literature for youth -- these really rich and emotionally complicated stories for children that can be enjoyed by the whole family," said Director Andrew Behling, adding the show is appropriate for ages 6 and up.

"It speaks to them on their level and does not condescend. It talks about some difficult things that we often forget children understand: They understand loneliness. They understand loss and fear. They know that it's hard to love, and that it's scary."

Some crates and chairs, two trunks, four actors and "lovely projections by Chris Berchild" are the building blocks of the show. "The scope of the piece will surprise the audience and how we accomplish that scope with so little," he said. "It really is an odyssey. It covers a lot of ground, in both space and time."

Behling wrote original music for the production featuring guitar, melodica and vintage children's xylophone. The sounds of children's toys project an innocence, but are also a little "creepy."

"Edward Tulane goes through the wringer. He has to suffer to be able to love," Behling said. "It is an unexpected journey. I really hope the audience leaves reminded that love takes work and you have to go through difficult times. Love is not something that is handed to you. Whether it's love for another or for yourself, it's earned. You have to do it imperfectly to find the truth of it."

The minimal set and props allow "Edward Tulane" to tour the Terre Haute community starting July 2. Behling said he relishes the opportunity to go beyond the traditional Crossroads Rep audience. "It's true to the spirit of what theater should be. Theater is for the people," he said.

Behling, who works as adjunct faculty at Elmhurst College and the University of St. Francis, is no stranger to Crossroads Rep. The Chicago-based actor starred in CRT productions for three consecutive seasons about five years ago -- "Rent," "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," "The Rainmaker," "Avenue Q," "Lonesome West," "Coming to See Aunt Sophie," "A Wrinkle in Time," among others.

He first connected with Terre Haute's summerstock theater through Indiana State alumni at the now shuttered Quest Theater Ensemble and his grad school mentor Bill Kincaid, who has directed several CRT productions. After his three seasons with CRT, Behling took two years off for other projects, "but now I'm back as a director and absolutely thrilled to be here," he said.

Behling continues to be inspired by Kincaid, as he shares his mentor's approach in allowing the actors the autonomy to explore and discover the piece as an ensemble.

"One of my favorite moments as a director is when you finalize a piece of staging, and the really lovely parts of it are discoveries the actors made, not something that was imposed on them," Behling said. "There's just an organic beauty to that approach, and it has a baked-in authenticity that is harder to accomplish when you've staged it all on paper."

"Edward Tulane" plays at 7:30 p.m. July 5-6 and 3 p.m. July 6-7 in New Theater on the Indiana State University campus.

Flex passes of four tickets, which are good for any show this season, are $64 each, and single-production tickets are $16-20 for general admission. For more information about this summer's season or to buy tickets, go to or call the box office at 812-237-3333.


Photo: -- The cast of "Edward Tulane" Eileen Earnest, Anthony Albamonte (back row), Josh Frost and Kaitie Moore pose for a photograph. -- "Edward Tulane" plays at 7:30 p.m. July 5-6 and 3 p.m. July 6-7 in New Theater on the Indiana State University campus.

Media contact: David Marcia, instructor, department of theater, Indiana State University,