I know we aren’t alone when I say that my family loves the Elephant & Piggie book series by Mo Willems. And not just my kids! Our whole family enjoys gathering around these books. They’ve been a fun companion while my girls learn how to read, a great choice at bedtime and perfect for passing to the backseat while we’re in the car.
Haven’t heard of Elephant & Piggie? Get yourself to the children’s section of a local bookstore and get acquainted my friend! Gerald (the Elephant) and Piggie (the Pig, naturally) are best friends, and just a bit opposite in personality. Despite their differences, they always find a way to work things out and support each other. The books are filled with great lessons, while still playful and funny.
We recently had the opportunity to see these books brought to life in Elephant & Piggie’s “We are in a Play!” at The Coterie Theatre. This all ages, 60 minute play is running from now until August 4. If you’re considering some fun indoor plans to beat the heat this summer, definitely add Elephant & Piggie’s “We are in a Play!” to your list. I can not recommend this show enough.
This was our first visit to The Coterie Theatre, and we decided to make an evening of it. We ate dinner inside Crown Center before the show, and enjoyed walking around as we headed in the direction of the theater. And of course, we also made sure to stop at a restroom on the way. (Mom Tip: family restrooms located right across from The Coterie). This meant everyone had a mostly full tummy and hopefully wouldn’t need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the show. There is no food or drink inside the theater, so best to be prepared!
Once we were inside the theater my oldest two happily sat up front on the floor where many other kids were already seated as well, excitedly waiting for the show to begin. My two year old sat with my husband and I in seats a few rows from the stage. The seating was great, and I didn’t think there was a bad view in the place.
I was very excited for my bigger kids. They were out of their minds with anticipation, and counting down the minutes. I figured my husband, and I would enjoy it, but wasn’t at all expecting the fun hour that was ahead of us!
Initially I was prepared to see a bright pink pig and a big gray elephant come out on the stage. Instead, the actors playing Piggie and Gerald still very much looked like humans, and yet, only a couple of minutes into the play and you recognized the characters completely. The costume choices were very clever and allowed the entire audience to use their imaginations, in fact, it would have been impossible not to. My favorite part about this show was how purposeful every single element actually is. This isn’t an over the top, tons of props, humans in animal suits, overwhelming craziness sort of production. It embraces one of the things that makes the books so great, which is that less is more. And the acting is so spot on that it truly felt as though Gerald and Piggie were standing right in front of us.
Don’t get me wrong – there is plenty of singing, dancing, comedy and theater fun in this show. I have to say, I appreciated the attention to every detail so, so much. The actors are phenomenal, and it was obvious every other person working behind the scenes are crazy talented too.
My husband and I were grinning and laughing throughout the entire production. My two year old never took her eyes off the stage, dancing in my lap, clapping her hands, and smiling the entire time. Each one of us was so entertained. Watching my children as the awe spread over their faces and seeing their delight in the magic of live theater was so much fun.
The play pulls from a few of the various Elephant & Piggie books, and it was fun for all of us as we recognized each one. This feels very seamless, and it all flows well. There are strong themes of friendship, working through problems, kindness and being yourself.
Towards the end of the show, as the characters begin to realize they’re “In a Play!” they begin to interact with the audience, especially with the children sitting on the floor up front. I thought my daughter would burst into the air when Piggie started talking to her. She was so thrilled. The interaction only builds until the whole audience is participating by the end.
This show gives so much entertainment until the very last line. We left the theater that night talking, laughing and discussing all our favorite moments. Elephant & Piggie is funny, heartwarming and entertaining for all ages. Truly, I mean it when I say all ages.
I’m still smiling about how beautifully everyone at The Coterie Theatre brought these characters to life. My girls are still talking about the fun they had at the theater. My husband had a blast and is looking forward to future shows. This was such a memorable experience, and we will definitely be visiting The Coterie again. Make sure to add Elephant & Piggie’s “We are in a Play!” to your summer plans, this is a show you won’t want to miss.
Elephant and Piggie’s “We are in a Play!” runs now through August 4, 2019. Tickets are $13 for youth 18 and under or over 60 and $17 for adults. Tickets can be purchased in person at the box office (level one of Crown Center), by calling 816-474-6552 or online at www.thecoterie.org.
Mom Tip: Grab a group of mom friends and kids for a fun playdate this summer. Groups of 20 or more are offered a discounted rate of $5-8 per person!