Friday, April 16, 2010

Chicago Children's Theatre's Very Hungry Caterpillar Creative, Colorful and Captivating

We've been wowed and impressed by Chicago Children's Theatre's production choices for years. So it was no surprise when they teamed up with another of our favorites, Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, to present "The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites". The magic of black light and florescent puppet creations make this a must see production. 

 Even though this 50 minute play is recommended for 3-6 year olds, my 9 year old son was enchanted, and the parents in the audience loved it as much as their preschoolers.   We saw this particular show years ago at Chicago's Bookamania at Harold Washington Library.  My kids were both toddlers the last time around and didn't remember it, but I was elated to have the chance to see it again.   

I was delighted to hear the troupe open with the words "This is a no shushing production." It's so refreshing when the natural rustle, chatter and exuberant participation of toddlers is embraced.  Parents can relax and not worry about their offspring maintaining proper theatre decorum and quiet voices.

We thoroughly enjoyed seeing "Little Cloud", "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Mixed Up Chameleon" depicted in such a colorful fashion.   My kids find it fun to read all the books right before seeing a story based play or movie and Eric Carl has been a huge hit in our family since before the kids' births.   Du Jay and Sagezilla have most of his works memorized and love to try their hand at emulating his unique art style.

Mermaid Theatre's performance of all three Eric Carle stories is wonderful, but my kids' hands down favorite was the mixed up chameleon.

Although that was my favorite, too, I have a soft spot for the butterfly the hungry caterpillar turns into, and it was just stunning and irridescent in this production.   I've always loved Eric Carle's style of art work and have a giant tattoo based on his butterfly on my lower back.

All of the stories were professionally and impressively executed and even the youngest children were mesmerized.   Of course that's no surprise, as Mermaid Theatre has been on tour continually since 1999 and this show has been presented over two thousand times to a million and a half spectators in eleven countries!   We were especially impressed with the post show Q & A where the puppeteers let us in on some of the magic and mystery.   

Do come dressed to sit on the floor, as there are a minimal number of chairs. All children and the parents of those too young to sit alone are welcome in the spacious floor area.  
Shows are at The Field Museum daily through May 2nd only, so don't miss out.  Check out the link below for daily times, ticket cost, parking and directions.   While you're there, it's also a great opportunity to check out the museum.   We especially enjoyed exploring ancient people groups, pottery and masks. 
Lastly, we have a number of friends at Chicago Waldorf School and they have a benefit performance coming up.   If you'd like a $10 discount off tickets and want to help a creative school, the details are below.      

I would like to invite you to attend a performance of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other works by the renowned children's author Eric Carle on Saturday, April 24 at 3:00 p.m. at the Field Museum.  This Chicago Children's Theater production combines special lighting, actors and puppetry to provide a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience for the whole family.  The total proceeds from this special matinee performance will benefit the Chicago Waldorf School.  Tickets are $25 for all ages (this is a $10 discount off the standard adult ticket price).  Tickets are available on the Chicago Waldorf School website  If you order through the website, go to the store page and then click on the link for tickets in the right hand box.  To see a detailed description of the production go to

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