Elephant and Piggie's "We are in a Play"!

April 30 -May 15
Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Auditorium

Reviews

Elephant & Piggie musical by Cardinal a hit with younger set

By Matthew Waterman
May 4, 2016

Elephant

Reid Henderson stars as Elephant in Cardinal Stage Company’s production of “Elephant and Piggie’s ‘We Are in a Play'” at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. Photo by Blueline Media Productions.

Elephant and Piggie are rising stars in the realm of children’s literature. The interspecies duo is the subject of over two dozen books, and now, a one-act musical.

The “Elephant and Piggie” series, authored by Mo Willems, focuses on the theme of friendship. Six different books from the series are amalgamated into one storyline for the musical.

Cardinal Stage Company is presenting “Elephant and Piggie’s ‘We Are in a Play!’” as this season’s final Cardinal for Kids show. The book and lyrics, like the original book series, are by Mo Willems. Deborah Wicks La Puma composed the upbeat, jazzy score.

“Elephant and Piggie’s ‘We Are in a Play’” has a wild, sometimes absurd plot. The two animals go to a party, Gerald learns to dance (Gerald is the elephant), Piggie learns how to use a trumpet to speak elephant, Gerald undergoes a personal crisis due to an ice cream cone, so on and so forth.

Gerald and Piggie’s shenanigans tend to result in joyous song-and-dance numbers. “Lucky to See You” and “Ice Cream Hero” are two of the most memorable.

Near the end of the show, Gerald and Piggie reach the mind-blowing conclusion that they have an audience and are, in fact, in a play. The unfortunate part of their realization is that the end of the script is fast approaching; they have only four more pages of fun before the curtain closes.

To the delight of Gerald and Piggie, the end of the script does not bring an end to the hijinks. They discover that even in a play, they can do whatever they want.

The show stars Audie Deinlein as Piggie and Reid Henderson as Gerald the Elephant. Both actors are animated and enthusiastic, committing to the zany, sometimes nonsensical world of Elephant and Piggie.

The two leads are supplemented by a three-person chorus of “Squirelles.” The Squirelles form a groovy trio of background singers and dancers. Shannon O’Connor Starks and Aubrey Seader perform every show, while Lola Kennedy and Hadley Abram alternate performances as the third Squirelle. The cast schedule is available online at cardinalstage.org.

“We Are in a Play” features consistently strong vocal performances, with music direction by Ryan O’Connell. La Puma’s score has an old-fashioned childish charm, matched by Berklea Going’s choreography.

With direction from Randy White, a costume design from Alexandra Morphet and a scenic design from Shane Cinal, Cardinal has given “We Are in a Play” a slick, fun and colorful production.

The kids at Saturday’s opening performance were thoroughly amused by the antics of Elephant and Piggie. This show presents an opportunity to get kids’ eyes unglued from screens and directed at some quality live entertainment.

 

Cardinal, IU Auditorium love elephants, piggies, and mobsters

By Joel Pierson
May 1, 2016

This week, Cardinal Stage Company presents Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are in a Play!”, a taut geopolitical thriller with pulse-pounding espionage on a global scale. No, that would be silly! It’s about an elephant and a pig who are in a play. (But I made you believe it, just for a second, didn’t I?)

If that intro was a bit sillier than you care for in your morning paper, blame the whimsical nature of this show, based on Mo Willems’ award-winning Elephant & Piggie books. The elephant’s name is Gerald, and the piggie’s name is, well, Piggie. They’re best friends, and now they’re in a musical together—a vaudevillian romp about the true meaning of friendship.

Now, I’m not here to judge you, but if you don’t take your children to see this show, I’m pretty sure you’re officially a terrible, terrible person. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit harsh, but if your little ones like the books, they’re going to love seeing these favorite characters live on stage. The play, performed at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Auditorium, runs about 60 minutes, a good length for kids (and for parents who may get fidgety during kids’ shows).

Reid Henderson plays Gerald, after recently performing as Bert in Cardinal’s “Mary Poppins.” Joining him is Audie Deinlein. Rounding out the cast are Lola Kennedy, Hadley Abrams, Aubrey Seader and Shannon Starks as a chorus of squirrels. Cute enough for ya?

Whether it’s for your child or your inner child, Cardinal’s show promises to be completely charming (or totes adorbs, for my millennial readers). Why not give them a look?