Kennedy Center to Present Elephant And Piggie
The Kennedy Center presents the return of Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play! in the Family Theater from November 25, 2015 to January 3, 2016. Following its run in the Family Theater, the production will enjoy its first national tour to 21 cities in 11 weeks. Commissioned by the Kennedy Center, the family-friendly musical made its world premiere in the Family Theater on November 23, 2013. The production is written by six-time Emmy Award-winner and popular children's book author Mo Willems and directed by Jerry Whiddon, with music by Deborah Wicks La Puma. Press opening performance is Friday, November 27 at 4 p.m. The performance on Saturday, December 12 at 11 a.m. is sensory-friendly. Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play! is recommended for ages four and up.
Based on Mo Willems's beloved, award-winning, and best-selling Elephant & Piggie children's books, Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play! has the duo singing and dancing their way through peril and suspense, facing fundamental questions like, what do you wear to a fancy pool costume party? Should you share your ice cream? And how can two friends play with one toy? Backed by nutty backup singers The Squirrelles, the duo even gets the audience involved in the action.
Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play! casting includes Joe Mallon as Elephant Gerald; Shayna Blass as Piggie; and Jamie Eacker, Ashleigh King, and Allie Paris as
The Squirrelles. Additional casting includes Ricky Drummond and Jessica Thorne.
The creative team includes set design by Jim Kronzer, costume design by Kathleen Geldard, lighting design by Kyle Grant, sound design by Elisheba Ittoop, with choreography by Jessica Hartman, and music direction by George Fulginiti-Shakar.
Mo Willems (author/adapter), a #1 New York Times Bestselling author and illustrator, is best known for his Caldecott Honor picture books, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity. His Elephant and Piggie early reader series have consistently topped the New York Times Bestseller lists, been translated into numerous languages, and have been awarded two Theodor Geisel Medals and five Geisel Honors since debuting in 2007. Mo began his career as a writer and animator for Sesame Street (PBS), where he garnered six Emmy Awards for writing. His TV career includes creating The Off-Beats (Nickelodeon) and Sheep in the Big City (Cartoon Network) and serving as head writer for Codename: Kids Next Door (Cartoon Network). After leaving television, he has continued to produce short animated films based on his books that have won numerous awards in festivals around the world. As a performer, Mo has appeared at numerous venues including the San Francisco Sketchfest, BBC Radio, and NPR. His first play Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical, also a Kennedy Center commission, was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for best new play. A retrospective exhibit of his picture book art, Seriously Silly: the Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems, is on view at the High Museum in Atlanta until January of 2016. The exhibit will be remounted at the New York Historical Society in the spring of 2016 for an extended run. Mo is honored to be working with the Kennedy Center again for this production. Banana! www.mowillems.com
Deborah Wicks La Puma (music) is a composer, music director, and orchestrator. Her work for adults and children has been seen by thousands around the world, from Australia to Bahrain to the East Room of the White House, enjoying both popular and critical success. She also worked with Mo Willems on the world premiere of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical at the Kennedy Center. Her other works for young audiences include the upcoming Kennedy Center Theater for Younge Audiences' premiere of OLIVERio: A Brazilian Twist (with Karen Zacarias), Frida Libre (La Jolla Playhouse), Ferdinand the Bull (based on the book by Munro Leaf), Chasing George Washington: A White House Adventure (Kennedy Center), Einstein Is a Dummy (Alliance Theatre) with playwright Karen Zacarias, and Nobody's Perfect (based on the book by Marlee Matlin) with Doug Cooney, a musical in English and American Sign Language, commissioned by VSA and the Kennedy Center. Her awards include the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, a National Endowment for the Arts' New American Works Grant, two Parents' Choice Awards, an iParenting Media Award, and two Helen Hayes nominations for Outstanding New Play. A proud Mexican-American who speaks Spanish and Portuguese, she is also a member of the board of directors of TYA USA/ASSITEJ International, ASCAP, and The Dramatist Guild.