Who are Elephant Gerald and Piggie? None other than the stars of a book series written by Mo Willems, an award-winning writer who is also known for his work with Sesame Street. In January, I had the pleasure of seeing six of those books come to life in one play, titled “We are in a Play.” In the books, Elephant Gerald is formally dressed and worries all the time while his best friend Piggie is perky, optimistic and “happy go lucky.” The series is full of comedic relief and mature social concepts that could probably go over my son’s head. However, it never keeps him from laughing his head off (It’s all about how you read them).
With that in mind, the play truly exceeded my expectations. Just like in the books, Gerald was well portrayed as the sometimes uptight, yet analytical and overly cautious friend. At the same time, Piggie was perfectly portrayed as the over-zealous and fun-hearted soul. The kids in the theatre had a riot laughing at the dynamic relationship displayed between these two.
The musical covered the following Mo Willems books.
The musical was commissioned in 2012 by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., where it had a sold-out run in the Family Theater in 2013. The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour brings original Kennedy Center productions for students and families into communities and performing arts centers around the country. Artistic teams consist of carefully selected professionals from all corners of the nation who possess extensive experience with both youth and adult theater. As one of the largest incubators of theater for kids and families, the team strives to create shows that are delightful, educational and provide a foundation for a life-long appreciation of the performing arts for audiences of all ages.