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South Coast Repertory Kicks Off Theatre for Young Audiences Season with Musical 'Mr. Popper's Penguins'

South Coast Repertory opens the 2016-17 Theatre for Young Audiences series with the classic children's story, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Nov. 4-20. Six actors and 24 puppets bring this musical adaptation to life, which is directed and choreographed by Art Manke. Tickets are on sale now:

Richard and Florence Atwater's book, Mr. Popper's Penguins, published in 1938, has been a beloved tale for countless young readers. Playwright Robert Kauzlaric knew the story from his own childhood-it was his father's favorite-and adapted it for the stage in 2015, with music and lyrics by George Howe.

Mr. and Mrs. Popper's lives take an adventurous turn when a mysterious box arrives on their doorstep with a penguin inside. Not long after, the local aquarium sends over a female penguin and soon, the Poppers are hearing the patter of 20 little feet (that's 10 baby penguins, if you're counting). Music, dancing and puppetry make this great family entertainment for ages 4 and older.

"This is such a delightful and hopeful story," said Manke, who previously directed The Wind in the Willows and Lucky Duck in the TYA series. "Despite Mr. Popper's limited financial resources, his rich imagination propels him on a journey across America, an adventure to the North Pole and eventually settle at the South Pole, where he restores the penguins to their natural home. This play teaches us that doing what is morally and ethically correct always is-in the end-the best choice."

The cast of Mr. Popper's Penguins includes, Scott McLean Harrison, Marlene Martinez, Alex Miller, A.J. Sclafani, Miles Taber and Nicole Weber.

The design and creative team includes Keith Mitchell, set designer; Angela Balogh Calin, costume designer; Sean T. Cawelti, puppet design and direction; Josh Epstein, lighting designer; Michael K. Hooker, Sound Designer; Alby Potts, musical director; Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting; Jackie S. Hill, production manager; and Roxana Khan, stage manager.

Mr. Popper's Penguins is generously supported by Education Honorary Producer Leona Aronoff-Sadacca and Corporate Honorary Producer Snell & Wilmer Law Offices. The media partner is OC Family magazine. A major grant from the Segerstrom Foundation supports SCR's three-production young audiences series.

Tickets start at $22 for children ages 4-12; $27 for adults. For complete information, visit

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