Virginia Rep's Children's Theatre Presents MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

Virginia Repertory Theatre announces the company of the first production of the 2018/19 Children's Season: Mr. Popper's Penguins, opening Saturday, October 27, 2018, at The Children's Theatre at Willow Lawn. Based on the popular children's book by Richard and Florence Atwater, Mr. Popper's Penguins tells the tale of the gentle British house painter, with a fondness for Antarctic exploration, who finds himself and his family the proud domesticators of a family of penguins. This heartwarming tale will be a holiday treat for the entire family as they follow Mr. Popper, his family, and his talented little penguins.

The show will be the first show in the newly renovated space at Willow Lawn. Virginia Rep is adding lights, new bathrooms, and fresh paint to make the theater even more family-friendly. Mr. Popper's Penguins will be onstage through December 30, 2018 at The Children's Theatre at Willow Lawn, 1601 Willow Lawn Drive, Richmond, Virginia 23230.

Virginia Rep newcomer Josh Chenard will be directing this wintry tale. Chenard hails from Portland, Maine and has recently re-joined the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University from Las Cruces, New Mexico where he served as the Head of Acting at New Mexico State University. Recent Richmond directing credits include Invalid and Desire Under the Elms (Firehouse Theatre) and Moth (TheatreLAB).

Jason Marks will join the team as Music Director, after most recently musical directing this summer's production of Knuffle Bunny and last summer's The Little Engine That Could, a musical commissioned by Virginia Rep that he co-wrote with Scott Wichmann. Other Virginia Rep musical directing credits include Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Croaker the Musical, for which he also wrote the music. Wes Seals, who served as Associate Director of this summer's Signature production of West Side Story, has been brought on to choreograph.

A cast of four has been assembled to portray the eighteen people and thirteen "birds and beasts" of the play. Derrick Jaques returns to the Virginia Rep stage, after last being seen in Mary Poppins as Mrs. Corry. Another Virginia Rep veteran, Keaton Hillman joins the company, after previously being seen in 1776 and Shakespeare in Love. Newcomers to the Virginia Rep stage, Renee McGowan and Emma-Claire Polich round out the ensemble, and Eve Marie Tuck, who recently completed the run of Knuffle Bunny, joins as a swing.

Set Design is by Chris Raintree (Assistant Scenic Design, A Christmas Story), Lighting Design is by BJ Wilkinson (West Side Story, Knuffle Bunny, River Ditty) and Costume Design is by Jeanne Nugent (Mary Poppins, Croaker). Kylie Clark returns to design the puppets, after serving as Props Master for both Knuffle Bunny and Crimes of the Heart.

The full company is listed below.

Sensory Friendly Performances

Sensory Friendly performances will be offered on Wednesday, November 7 and Saturday, November 17, 2018, both at 10:30 a.m. Please see the website for more details: http://va-rep.org/sensory_friendly.html

Audio Described Performances

In collaboration with Virginia Voice, Virginia Rep is pleased to offer Audio Described performances, in which actions, expressions and gestures are described during gaps between dialogue throughout the performance for patrons with low vision or blindness. In addition to live audio description during performances, patrons are also invited to participate in a tactile tour before the performance.

Community Tickets Grant

Virginia Rep is thrilled to offer a free Community Tickets Grant for nonprofit organizations. We encourage all organizations who have a demonstrated need for complimentary tickets to fill out a short application on our website: bit.ly/CommunityTix

Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office (804-282-2620) or online at www.virginiarep.org. Full price tickets cost $21, with discounted group rates available.

The performance schedule includes evening performances at 7:00 p.m. on select Fridays and matinee performances at 2:00 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

Direction & Design team includes Direction by Josh Chenard, Music Direction by Jason Marks, Choreography by Wes Seals, Set Design by Chris Raintree, Lighting Design by BJ Wilkinson, Costume Design by Jeanne Nugent, Puppet Design by Kylie Clark and Stage Management by Justin Janke.

The Cast features Derrick Jaques as Mr. Popper, Renee McGowan as Mrs. Popper, Emma-Claire Polich and Keaton Hillman in the ensemble, and Eve Marie Tuck as the swing.

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