On Friday, May 4, through Look! It’s Megryans Mom I was afforded the honor to attend the Press Opening for a series of Eric Carle stories set on stage at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater (yep, the very one that Dillinger and the famous lady in red made famous) located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. To say that it was a great experience is a gross understatement. Let me see if I can eloquently explain what was going on for all of us to enjoy.
First, this was a production between Chicago Children’s Theatre, as the hosts, and Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, as the performers. From the press kit:
Featuring evocative music, stunning visual effects and innovative puppetry, Mermaid Theatre’s all new triple-bill brings to life three Eric Carle all time favorites – Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
When the production started, the entire stage was black. Literally. There was a soft glow from black lights, and then the caterpillar made famous through Mr. Carle’s tissue paper illustrations came inching on stage and up a tree. At first, I thought that the puppets were controlled by string, but I was elated to find out – after my eyes adjusted – that the puppet masters were ON. STAGE! Dressed all in black and manipulating the pieces so that everything seemed to float, gallop, swim, run, scamper, crawl, or inch up so that the books did indeed come to life for their young audience members.
Mr. Brown Bear – picture courtesy of Chicago Children’s Theatre
I decided to make this a mom and me date night with the ladybug and she was SO excited to go and see Brown Bear. So much so, that during the telling of the story, she yelled out every single animal along with its color in the semi silent theater. What can I say?
The show is continuing through May 27th and you may just want to hurry up and get some tickets, since I have a feeling that this will sell out quickly. Not to mention, the Illinois Governor, a WGN reporter and Ralph Covert of Ralph’s World will be doing some reading three on the next three Saturday’s of this month. Tickets run $15 – $41 and I can guarantee you, that sitting anywhere in the theater will allow you to fully enjoy the show.
And because they were such gracious hosts, they even had cupcakes, and drinks for us afterwards!
and what’s a little sugar without a little fizz?
the ladybug SWORE she was getting POP!
A complete table of Eric Carle goodies
Is it a caterpillar day – or?
A brown bear day?
Overall, we had a great time. The puppets were true to the amazingly colorful images that Eric Carle is so famous for, and the puppet masters were fantastic in their manipulation of them. As a thirty something fan, I know that it was fantastic. Given that the ladybug keeps asking if we’re getting ready to go and see “Brown Bear” again, I think that she wouldn’t mind me saying that she gives her two thumbs of approval as well.