Winnie the Pooh is ZACH Theatre’s latest musical production for families that will run through Saturday, December 12. This show kicks off their impressive storybook season featuring a line-up of plays inspired by children’s literature. Our content manager, Heidi, had the chance to attend the opening night show of Winnie the Pooh. Read all about it…
Pooh has been a much-loved character since his first introduction in 1926 in the iconic book Winnie-the-Pooh by author A. A. Milne. Pooh bear and his friends have resonated with people of all ages and cultures with their lovely stories of friendship, life and love. There have been countless versions of Pooh throughout the ages, although many of our children are most likely familiar with the Disney version of the willy nilly silly old bear.
ZACH Theatre has taken A. A. Milne’s beloved bear from the page to the stage in the new family musical production of Winnie the Pooh. This musical was written in 1964, but in true ZACH style, it presents a fun new take on this timeless classic.
When we settled into our seats, my five-year-old son immediately scanned the stage and pointed out to me that the set didn’t look finished. And while he was correct, this was actually part of the intended design. When the show began, instead of seeing the characters of the Hundred Acre Wood get right into song and dance, we found ourselves looking at un-costumed adults working on the set, and showing surprise that the audience was ready and waiting for the show to begin. This of course, was pretty hilarious to the kids in the audience. These stagehand actors informed us that we were two weeks early and that the show wasn’t ready. They collectively decided that they wouldn’t disappoint the audience, so they offered to act out the show themselves with the help of a copy of the Winnie-the-Pooh book laying on stage to give them direction.
The way in which the stagehands turned into the characters of Pooh and friends was pretty brilliant. First of all, kids were delighted that these actors were interacting so much with the audience. It was fun to feel part of this “improved” decision to go on with the show. And kids loved seeing the creative ways that the actors pulled items out of a costume trunk to help them transform into these beloved characters. A hat, a vest, a scarf, and of course a too-tight red t-shirt were all among the wardrobe items to help make the transformation. It was fun to watch the creative process unfold before us. There was no room for disappointment that these animals did not look just like their Disney versions. They were completely taking their own spin on it. And it totally worked. We all got to use our imaginations. And what could be more fun than joining in on some make-believe?
My five-year-old laughed and clapped and had such a lovely experience. The audience was full of children of all ages, but it seemed like a really sweet spot for ages 3-6. Although, even the grown-ups were giggling and enjoy the feel-good fun. As with all shows at ZACH Theatre, you can expect the highest quality productions, amazingly talented actors, top notch musical numbers, and an all-around great time!
After the show, I asked my son to tell me if there is anything he’d want to share with his friends before they go see this play. Here’s our collective version of “what to know before you go”:
- Tigger is not in this show. I didn’t even think about it, but my son is a pretty big fan of Tigger, so it’s something he noted immediately. It honestly has no bearing on the production, but it’s something to point out if you feel like your kids will be waiting or hoping for a glimpse of that character.
- There is an intermission for bathroom breaks.
- You can buy snacks and drinks at the theater.
- You can see the stage from every seat! We were in the very last row, but still had no problem seeing anything at all. The Kleberg Theatre is lovely and intimate and makes you truly feel like you’re part of the theatre experience.
- You can say hello to the cast after the show and take photos. My son really wanted to say “hi” to Pooh.
Winnie the Pooh runs on Saturdays at 11 a.m & 2 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through December 12. Please take note that ZACH Theatre has added two weekday shows for families on Thursday, October 1 at noon and Thursday, October 8 at 10 a.m. Tickets are $15 for youth and $20 for adults. You can click here to purchase tickets online or call the box office at 512-476-0541 x1.
* Photo credits: Kirk Tuck. Will Cleveland as Pooh, Sara Burke as Piglet & Owl, Russel Taylor as Eeyore, J. Quinton Johnson as Rabbit and Christopher Robin, and Allen Robertson, musical director
–> Ticket Giveaway: We can’t wait for you to see the show, too! We have a family 4-pack of tickets to give away to the show on Sunday, September 27 at 2 p.m. Enter below. Good luck!
Giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!