TheaterWorksUSA’s production of THE POUT-POUT FISH opened at The Colony Theatre in Burbank, CA on September 22. This weekend is the last chance to see the performances in Burbank before the company takes off on a 3-month North American tour. There are four shows: an 11:00am and 2:00pm show on Saturday and an 11:00am and 2:00pm show on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at TWUSA.ORG/TICKETS.
THE POUT-POUT FISH is based on The New York Times bestselling series by Deborah Diesen, with illustrations by Dan Hanna. Published by Macmillian, over 8.5 million copies of the book series have been sold. Turn the poutiest of frowns upside down in this exciting musical featuring whimsical puppets and live performers in a sweeping oceanic adventure! When Mr. Fish sets out on a quest to find Miss Clam’s missing pearl, he discovers there is more to him than his permanently plastered pout. This colorful adaptation of the beloved book series is co-conceived and designed by the acclaimed puppeteers of AchesonWalsh Studios, whose work was featured in Broadway’s The King And I, On the Town, and Radio City’s New York Spectacular.
The show is recommended for ages 3 to 8 and there is a puppet making station inside the Colony Theatre for kids to do before the show. Kids can choose a mitten, use markers to draw on it, and glue on shapes and textures before naming their sea creature creation.
THE POUT-POUT FISH is written by Christopher Anselmo, Jared Corak, Matt Acheson, and Fergus J Walsh, with Christopher Anselmo & Jared Corak also contributing the music and lyrics. It is based on the original book series by Deborah Diesen, author, and Dan Hanna, illustrator. “When first diving in to write the musical adaptation of The Pout-Pout Fish, we quickly realized that music was already splashing up off the page. Deborah Diesen’s playful rhyming couplets read like the lyrics of a classic song, while Dan Hannah’s colorful aquatic illustrations invoke the sounds of intertwining guitars and blaring trumpets,” said Anselmo and Corak. “Our goal in crafting this story was to bring Mr. Pout-Pout Fish out of the comfort of his reef and encourage him to find the confidence to engage with the vibrant musical world around him. Hopefully, by the end of his journey, he’ll be singing a different tune.”
The original direction and staging of the show is by Matt Acheson & Fergus J Walsh with additional staging by Laura Brandel. Other members of the creative team include orchestrator Conor Keelan, and lighting designer David Lander. Production design was also done by Acheson and Walsh of AchesonWalsh studios, with tour casting by Lindsay Brooks, The Casting Collaborative. “The puppetry used in The Pout-Pout Fish is a direct manipulation, hands-on style. There are no rods or handles; the puppets are held directly. We are not trying to hide the puppeteers or their hands. In this show the puppeteers are storytellers and we are embracing the fact that the audience can see them manipulate the puppets.” said Acheson and Walsh. “In addition to emphasizing the magic of theatre in this regard, this style of puppetry can be inspirational for children to see. It is a style most closely associated with how children play with their own toys; hands-on, fully immersed in the life of the teddy bear to which they are talking.”
The Fall 2022 cast of THE POUT-POUT FISH includes Joshua Jèrard as Bully-Bully Shark, Gabi Van Horn as Ms. Clam/ Octopus, Amy Segal as Mr. Pout-Pout Fish and Erika Mireya Cruz as Shimmer Fish. Tour direction and choreography is by Benjamin Schrader, tour music direction is by Gregory Nabours, and Kyle Montgomery joins the company as stage manager.
As part of TheaterWorksUSA’s initiative to create professional opportunities for artists outside of the NYC area, TWUSA is launching a new hub in Los Angeles, CA. THE POUT-POUT FISH is the hub’s inaugural production. It is TWUSA’s mission to bring exceptional, transformative theater to thousands of young people and families across North America, and the Los Angeles hub provides an opportunity to reach an even wider audience. The theater’s website even has educational resources available from creating a puppet play, to common core study guides, read aloud, writing practices, and word searches to prompt achievement in English Language Arts Learning Standards.
TheaterWorksUSA (Barbara Pasternack, Artistic Director; Michael Harrington, Executive Director) has led the Theater for Young and Family Audiences movement in New York City and across North America for over half a century. At TWUSA, we believe that access to art—and theater, in particular—is vital for our youth. Since 1967, the 501(c)3 not-for-profit has captured the imaginations of 100 million new and veteran theatergoers with an award-winning repertoire of over 140 original plays and musicals. Acclaimed alumni include Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Disney’s Frozen), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent), Jerry Zaks (The Music Man), Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen), Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton), Kathleen Chalfant (Angels in America), and Chuck Cooper (Tony award winning actor, The Life). Visit WWW.TWUSA.ORG for more information.