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Broadway Shockers 2018: Bunnies and Babies Steal the Show in The Ferryman

Jez Butterworth's play features some of the most surprising cast members on Broadway.

As 2018 draws to a close, TheaterMania looks back on some of the most jaw-dropping stories of the year.

Justin Edwards holds a Netherland Dwarf rabbit named Pierce in The Ferryman.
(© Joan Marcus)

One of the most famous quotes attributed to W.C. Fields is "Never work with animals or children" — they're almost always going to upstage you. That showbiz advice was completely ignored by playwright Jez Butterworth when he wrote The Ferryman, but the payoff is memorable. Just listen for all the oohs, aws, and surprised gasps from the audience when actor Carla Langley enters with a baby who, at around 6 months old, plays the role of Bobby Carney (four tots rotate in the part). Seeing a wee tyke like that onstage is a rarity, so The Ferryman wins hands down for some of the most surprising (and adorable) debuts on Broadway.

Genevieve O'Reilly as Mary Carney, and Sean Frank Coffey as Bobby Carney in The Ferryman on Broadway.
(© Joan Marcus)

Actor Justin Edwards gets the audience chortling again when he walks onstage with an Emden goose named Peggy. As if that weren't enough, he also takes a special gift for the Carney children out of an inner coat pocket, a Netherland Dwarf rabbit named Pierce, whose appearance generates a steady wave of delighted laughter in the audience that takes a while to subside. Even though Butterworth's play has plenty of attention-getting scenes to talk about after the curtain comes down, when it comes to surprising and delightful moments, the Bobbys and bunnies of The Ferryman top the list. Fields was right — talk about scene stealers.

An Emden goose named Peggy makes her Broadway debut in Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman.
(© Joan Marcus)
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