Elephant and Piggie thrills little kids at Chicago’s Emerald City Theatre

The Elephant and Piggie series has become an obsession for early readers and their parents since 2007 when Mo Willems penned his first comic-style book – and hooked children and parents alike with his adorably sensitive and loving characters.

If you go

Elephant and Piggie’s We Are In A Play will run through May 16 at the Apollo Theatre. Tickets range from -, though there are a limited number of tickets available for each performance. For more information, check out emeraldcitytheatre.com

 

With the addition of the Emerald City Theatre Company’s Elephant and Piggie’s We Are In A Play, we can now flock to the Apollo Theater to see Piggie and Gerald perform most of our favorite scenes from their books.

The Chicago premiere is an understated show (the script and lyrics were by Willems), as is the book: The costumes are incredibly simple (Gerald wears a hat with ears, a pair of gray pants and a short tail to show he’s an elephant, for example); the set simply has a sign saying Elephant and Piggie, with a few stairs; and they move seamlessly from book to book without swapping the set and rarely changing costumes.

In the show, Piggie and Elephant act out many of the books almost word-for-word, adding some musical numbers by Deborah Wicks La Puma (some of those songs work, but many of them tend to drag and don’t add much to the play).

But the preschool and kindergarten-aged audience in attendance didn’t mind the understated set-up – they were simply thrilled to see their favorite characters in real life, and they giggled and gasped and clapped along with their long-adored friends.

The highlight came at the end, when Piggie and Gerald did a twist their famed We Are in a Book, and performed an act titled We Are in a Play. They made us, the audience members, say and do crazy things, like say, “Banana,” and we had to move and shake and clap. The mini-audience set couldn’t be more delighted – and in the end, that’s all that really matters, right?

The 70-minute show was designed for 3 and up, and is best for ages 3-7.

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