ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — TYKEs – Theatre Young Kids Enjoy – is back for its new season with “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” with performances from November 6-14 at the JCC Hart Theatre in Brighton.
TYKEs founder Freyda Schneider and actress Lauren MacDonough, who plays Pigeon, discussed the production Monday during News 8 at Noon.
“I am so excited about this show,” Schneider said. “We have long, long-awaited this title from Mo Willems who is the hottest name in children’s literature today. This is a brand new musical that only a few theatres in the nation have ever performed and we are out of our minds excited. We especially – even over-excited – because Rick Lyon created all of the puppets that we’re using in this show. Rick Lyon, if you happen to know that name, is the creator for all of the puppets for ‘Avenue Q’ on Broadway so we got the best of the best to perform alongside our actors in the production and it is truly dazzling. The music is unbelievable!”
Lyon is a Rochester native and made the puppets exclusively for TYKEs.
Playing Pigeon, which involves manipulating a puppet on stage, took lots of preparation by MacDonough. “I have had experience with puppets before but nothing at all like this,” she said. “This is a rod puppet, so my hand is in there and my other hand is using the rods to control the wings. I’ve done a couple of different things actually with TYKEs with puppets but nothing quite like this. There’s a lot of work that goes into this. I have been at my mirror talking to myself in the mirror with this puppet to make sure that I get everything right! It’s definitely a different, new skill for me.”
MacDonough said playing Pigeon brings out the child in her. “This is the best theatre to do. Children’s theatre is so much fun and you get instant, instant, instant feedback from the audience and they all love it and they’re so excited. It’s also just a really fun time on stage. It’s energy. For an hour we are full energy and having so much fun on stage.”
Schneider added, “Being back on stage again is just exhilarating. We have an unbelievable set painted by David Daniels, phenomenal props, amazing costumes, and a story that combines ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!’ with a couple of elements from Mo Willems’ other Pigeon books – so there may or may not be a hot dog and perhaps even a puppy involved!”
Get your tickets for this Mo Willems classic online at tykestheatre.org.