“Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation” has delighted crowds in New York City and Chicago. Now it’s time for this charming stage show to hit the road and bring joy to audiences around the country and beyond. The show features large puppets with the actors still visible, and it’s full of beloved characters and songs. With a runtime of approximately 60 minutes, this makes it the perfect show for introducing live theatre to the young ones in your life.
Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and their best friends Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, Owl, and Tigger are all part of this brand-new adventure. If you have any familiarity with Disney’s “Winnie the Pooh,” you’re sure to recognize the Hundred Acre Wood as you enter the theatre. This charming set looks like something right out of a storybook while also appearing as if a child had their hands in making it. There’s an innocence to it which also brings a bit of peace as you hear the birds chirping. And that’s before the show has even begun.
Once the show starts, you’ll immediately fall in love with the beloved characters all over again. To see Winnie the Pooh walking toward you in all of his adorableness will surely delight younger fans. Although the actors are in full view while puppeteering Pooh and the gang, the younger members of the audience never seem to mind. There’s something truly wonderful about introducing young audience members to the craft of puppetry and theatre, but doing it in a way that doesn’t distract from simply enjoying the show and fully immersing themselves in the story.
One of the nice things about seeing the actors while they puppeteer is that there’s no artifice trying to convince the audience that these are the real characters on stage. It is clearly pretend and playtime. With that fact in full display, it puts less pressure on the actors to sound exactly like the beloved characters. A character’s voice is one of their most recognizable qualities. Although the actors all manipulate their voices to sound more like the characters, it’s rare for it to be a spot-on impersonation. It’s more about getting the spirit of the character right versus a vocal impersonation. The choice to approach it in that way makes it feel even more like kids during playtime.
Winnie the Pooh wouldn’t feel right without the familiar tunes of the Sherman Brothers, so iconic tunes from Disney Legends Richard and Robert Sherman are sung live along with prerecorded instrumentals. Along with the familiar tunes, some of the story points will also be familiar if you grew up with Winnie the Pooh. This may be a brand-new adventure, but it’s full of enough recognizable moments that kids will be comforted by the familiarity.
I saw this production at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, California where it’s currently playing through December 30, 2022. This venue seats a few-hundred people and the performance space is level to the front row. There is no elevated platform. This size space and venue type feels like the perfect fit for this kind of show.
Overall, this kid-friendly show full of lovable, iconic characters will delight children of all ages. You can visit WinnieThePoohShow.com to see where else the show will be stopping all across the U.S.A. and coming soon to the U.K.
Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com. DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.