Casa Mañana’s “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” will run at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and will kick off the children theater’s season. Helen Murray Casa Mañana Theatre
Casa Mañana’s “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” will run at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and will kick off the children theater’s season. Helen Murray Casa Mañana Theatre

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5 things to know about Casa’s “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”

By Maricar Estrella

maricar@star-telegram.com

March 31, 2017 6:00 AM

As part of a national tour produced by Casa Mañana, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” will run at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and will kick off the children theater’s season.

“Casa Mañana has a reputation of giving patrons, young or old, a professional theater experience,” Casa President Wally Jones said in a news release. “We are proud of the high quality of Broadway and Children’s Theatre shows we produce and put forth our best efforts to maintain that standard.”

The D.C. show will run in December; however, Texans will be the first to see the tour in Fort Worth Sept. 30 through Oct. 15.

The 2017 Casa children’s theater season also includes holiday favorite “Santa Claus — A New Musical,” “Peter, Darling: A New Peter Pan Musical,” “Madagascar: A Musical Adventure,” and “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr.”

“Mr. Popper’s Penguins” is a story about what happens when painter and decorator Mr. Popper, who dreams of Antarctic adventures, gets a surprise package on his doorstep and a penguin waddles out.

Here are five things to know about the play.

Based on a book

1. The adaptation is based on the Richard and Florence Atwater’s popular children’s book featuring the gentle house painter and his high-stepping penguins. The book was first published in 1938 and has delighted children for generations.

Wasn’t it a movie?

2. Yes, the story was adapted into a film starring Jim Carrey as Mr. Popper. In the film version, Mr. Popper is divorced father and a successful New York real estate developer who gets a gift from his late father, a live penguin. The movie version, which significantly strays from the book plot, followed the releases of such popular penguin fare as March of the Penguins and Happy Feet.

A smash hit

3. The theatrical adaptation of the book received critical and audience acclaim in New York and London’s West End with one reviewer saying: “This is high class storytelling with huge heart and some lovely surprises.”

It’s a musical

4. This is an action-packed musical with original songs. Children will be chirping along to the catchy 1950s-inspired storytelling from composer Luke Bateman and lyricist Richy Hughes.

Two words: penguin puppets.

5. There’s performing penguin puppets, which provide great visual theatrics. Watching puppets being brought to life on stage in a theater filled with children could only bring smiles, right?

Maricar Estrella: 817-390-7720, @maricare

Casa Mañana Children’s Theatre Season

Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Sept. 29-Oct. 15, 2017

Santa Claus — A New Musical, Nov. 24-Dec. 23, 2017

Peter, Darling: A New Peter Pan Musical, Feb. 2-18, 2018

Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, March 23-April 8, 2018

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr., April 20-May 13, 2018

Season tickets are on sale now and start at $69. Individual tickets go on sale Aug. 25.

817-332- 2272, www.casamanana.org

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