Younger audiences love ‘Elephant and Piggie’ at The Coterie
Popular children’s characters, Elephant and Piggie conclude The Coterie’s 40 season in grand singing and dancing style with their show “We Are in a Play!’ that focuses on the bonds of fun, friendship, and frivolity.
Piggie and Gerald the Elephant go through their fun activities of skipping, playing ping-pong, and wearing funny hats, but on one particular day, Piggie receives a party invitation from friends and Gerald helps prepare them to attend The Squirrelles’ pool side party.
Elephant & Piggie’s “We are in a Play!” comes from a script and lyrics by Mo Willems and music by Deborah Wicks La Puma. The show was directed by Shanara Gabrielle formally opened June 11, running through Aug. 4. Music direction is by The Coterie’s musical director, Anthony Edwards with choreography by Marc Wayne.
“When ‘bestus’ friends Elephant and Piggie get together, anything is possible,” a Coterie spokesman said. “They might learn a crazy new dance, spend the day playing ping-pong in silly hats, or even get invited to a fancy pool costume party. Well, they do all that and more in this high-energy musical – and the audience is invited to join them. Together with their delightfully nutty back-up singers, the Squirrelles, Elephant & Piggie soon discover the fun of being in a play, all the while encouraging the audience to join in for some interactive fun.”
Elephant and Piggie are main characters in a 25-book series by Willems, that garnered numerous awards for the author. The theme of this production is friendship and lessons learned during friendships. Elephant and Piggie charm the audience of all ages with catchy tunes, dance numbers, and audience participation to keep even the youngest of attendees at full attention.
With a running time of 60 minutes the attention span remains focused on the five actors in bright costumes who sing and dance through the play.
Toward the end, Elephant and Piggie figure out they are performing live in front of an audience, and then they actively encourage their audience to participate in their production. Even though the show just oozes charm, the participation of the ring-side spectators forces the audience to re-focus on the 3-6 year-olds now involved in the fun.
For the youngsters off for summer vacation, The Coterie offers a great opportunity to introduce or expand a child’s appreciation for live theatre. The award-winning Coterie Theatre consistently offers programming suitable for learners. Their track record of 40 consecutive seasons speaks of The Coterie’s success. Elephant and Piggie’s “We Are in a Play” continues that strong tradition.
With Jake Walker and Shon Ruffin as the lead characters, prepare to laugh and enjoy their antics. This dynamic duo performed the show last year with huge success. With the chance to do it again, they both shine even brighter.
Kimberly Horner reprises her role as one of The Squirrelles and is joined by the only novices to this particular production. Roan Ricker has performed in all of this season’s Coterie productions and plans to head west to Los Angeles after the show closes. And, Catera Combs Marx recently appeared in The Coterie’s “Beat Bugs.”
The cast of Elephant & Piggie’s “We are in a Play!” is: Jake Walker (as Gerald the Elephant) and Shon Ruffin (as Piggie), with Kimberly Horner, Roan Ricker, and Catera Combs Marx (as The Squirrelles). The artistic and production company includes Shanara Gabrielle (director), Anthony T. Edwards (musical director), Danielle Renee (Coterie resident stage manager), Zoë Still (set designer), Shane Rowse (lighting designer), Georgianna Londré Buchanan (costume designer), David Kiehl (sound designer), Kelli Harrod (properties), Scott Hobart (technical director), and Emily White-Winter (production assistant).
Individual Tickets: Tickets are $13 for youth under 18, students, and seniors age 60 and older; and $17 for adults. Group Pricing: The Coterie offers groups of 20 or more. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased by calling The Coterie’s box office at (816) 474-6552, in person at the box office on level one of the Crown Center Shops, or by visiting The Coterie website.
Tags: The Coterie Theatre, Crown Center, “Elephant and Piggie ‘We Are in a Play” review, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City children’s theater