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BWW Review: MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS Delights at The Growing Stage

BWW Review: MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS Delights at The Growing Stage

Penguins have arrived in Netcong from the South Pole and they are charming audiences at The Growing Stage (TGS), The Children's Theatre of New Jersey. Located in the Historic Palace Theatre, TGS concludes its 37th Main Stage season with Mr. Popper's Penguins now through May 19. This delightful production is sure to captivate children and adults alike.

The stage show is based on the popular novel by Richard and Florence Atwater, with illustrations by Robert Lawson. The book was originally published in 1938 and has garnered impressive awards that include a Young Readers Choice Award. The musical presentation of the beloved story has music and lyrics by George Howe and a book by Robert Kauzlaric. The TGS production is wonderfully directed by the theatre's Director of Education, Lori B. Lawrence and also features the talents of Musical Director, Stephen Fox and Choreographer, Jillian Petrie.

In Mr. Popper's Penguins, Richard Popper and his wife Florence are of modest means. Mr. Popper is a house painter whose seasonal work is finished until spring. While he settles into his winter routine at home, he dreams of adventure. Life quickly changes when a rollicking, frolicking penguin, Captain Cook arrives at the Popper's home as a gift from the explorer, Admiral Drake. Captain Cook isn't the only penguin to come into the couple's lives. Soon, they are sent a mate for him by the local aquarium and penguin babies fill their living room. In an effort to financially support their little penguin colony, the Poppers create an exciting stage show and take the birds on the road. Fun and entertaining, this is a valuable tale of love, purpose, and respect.

BWW Review: MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS Delights at The Growing Stage

Mr. Popper's Penguins cast of six professional actors bring the story to life on the Netcong stage with heartwarming spirit. The include Joey Sanzaro as Mr. Popper; Lyndsey Brown as Mrs. Popper; Donald Danford as Admiral Drake/Others; Niall Ng as Captain Cook the Penguin. Making their Growing Stage debuts are Jessica Stanzek as Mrs. Callahan/Others and Sarah Emaline Melton as Greta the Penguin. The penguins are cleverly presented with marvelous puppetry.

We are sure you'll enjoy the musical numbers that complement the story. They include "A Rainbow 'Round the Corner" by Mr. Popper & Company; "Build a Home" by Mr. & Mrs. Popper, and Captain Cook; "Determination" by Mr. & Mrs. Popper & Company; and "Popper's Performing Penguins" by Mr. & Mrs. Popper & the Penguins.

BWW Review: MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS Delights at The Growing Stage

The Production Crew has done a great job of bringing Mr. Popper's Penguins to the stage. They include scenic, prop, design, and painting by Perry Arthur Kroger; costume design by Lori B. Lawrence and Scaramouche Costumes, LLC; and lighting design by S.L Fredericks. The Stage Manager is Nikole Rizzo. The penguin puppets are provided by Nashville Children's Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee.

Gather your group and get your tickets for Mr. Popper's Penguins. You'll be glad you made the show part of your family's spring entertainment schedule.

Mr. Popper's Penguins runs May 3 to May 19 with performances on Saturdays and Sundays at 4:00 PM. On May 19th at 1PM, The Growing Stage will present a sensory friendly performance. At this performance, see the full production in a safe, supportive environment. Ticket prices are $28 for adults, $22 for seniors and $18 for children. To purchase tickets, please visit or call (973) 347-4946. Group rates are available.

Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia

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