Due to box office demand, Chicago Children’s Theatre is adding a full month of performances to its Chicago premiere of
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, a bright new, puppet-filled live stage version of Eric Carle’s timeless children’s book about an insatiable caterpillar that munches its way to become a full-fledged butterfly.
Not only are children and families loving The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show. The critics love it too.
“Incredible work…Eric Carle’s books are brought beautifully to life…the audience is captivated,” raved the Chicago Tribune.
“Be wowed by the live action colorful world,” wrote Chicago Parent.
ChicagoTheatreReview.com called The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show “delightful…a wonderful, totally immersive artistic experience.”
(from left) Leslie Ann Sheppard, Micah Figueroa and Lara Carling with “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” one of four Eric Carle stories included in The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, Chicago Children’s Theatre’s 2019-20 season opener.
Originally scheduled to close October 27, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show will now extend through the entire month of November, through December 1. Public performances continue as scheduled through October 27: Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. For the extension, November 2 through December 1, show times will change to Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Performances are at Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, 100 S. Racine Ave. in Chicago’s West Loop. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is an all-ages show. Single tickets are $27-$39 including fees.
Or, save money by including The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show in a three-play subscription package.
For subscriptions, single tickets and information on group rates and student matinees, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call CCT Guest Services,
Chicago Children’s Theatre is minutes from I-90, I-290, downtown and Ashland Avenue. Free onsite parking is available on the south side of the building, enter from Racine Ave. Nearby street parking is typically available on weekends, or look for the Impark parking lot, 1301 W. Madison St.
Leslie Ann Sheppard (left), Lara Carling and Micah Figueroa (right)
“The Very Hungry Caterpillar”: Colors, numbers, healthy eating and days of the week
Since it was first published in 1969, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” has nibbled its way into the hearts of literally millions of children all over the world. Fifty years later, Carle’s colorful story about metamorphosis has been translated into 62 languages, sold more than 50 million copies worldwide, and remains a staple of baby showers, bed stands and classroom bookshelves. Carle’s brilliantly illustrated, hand-painted tissue collages and distinctively simple stories, now found in his more than 70 picture books, have introduced countless children to a bigger, brighter world – and to their first reading experiences.
That’s why kids and parents are gobbling up CCT’s Chicago premiere of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, a bright, bold new spectacle production created by Jonathan Rockefeller and directed by Jerrell L. Henderson. A delightful menagerie of 75 larger-than-life puppets bring four Eric Carle favorites from the page to the stage: “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?,” “10 Little Rubber Ducks,” “The Very Lonely Firefly” and the star of the show, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
Before and after the show, CCT’s lobby is a welcoming place for kids and families to relax and have fun, play games and create their own insect keepsakes at colorful crafting stations. At most performances, the Butterfly Company is stationed in the lobby, with fascinating displays of butterflies and other insects from around the world. After the show, children get to meet the puppets and take pictures with the cast.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, created by Jonathan Rockefeller, is already a global sensation having performed over 2,000 shows worldwide including sold out engagements in Australia, New York, United Kingdom, Dubai, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands. Rockefeller is the co-founder of Rockefeller Productions, a company that combines film, theatre, animation, puppetry and television.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Family Show. The New York Times called it “bedazzling.” Newsday gave it “Five Smiles.” Live Theater UK raved, “your favorite small person will be changed for the better.” Eric Carle himself said, “I hope the performances will be enjoyed by many and that the colorful characters will bring comfort and joy to all who see the stories that have been so carefully produced. It is uplifting to see such beautiful and cheerful works inspired by my characters! I hope my books - and this show - will inspire you and your imagination.”
Director Jerrell L. Henderson makes his Chicago Children’s Theatre debut with The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show. He is a director, puppeteer and an Assistant Professor of Performance Studies at Chicago State University. He earned his MFA in Directing at Northwestern University.
Lara Carling, Micah Figueroa and Leslie Ann Sheppard form the Chicago cast of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show. The production team includes Will Bishop (scenic design), Caitlin McLeod (costume design), Jason Lynch (lighting design), Zack Shirtum (sound design), Rebecca Ross (production stage manager), Sharon Golden (assistant stage manager) and Jamie Abelson (casting director).
Micah Figueroa with White Dog from “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"
Leslie Ann Sheppard with Black Sheep from “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"
Lara Carling with Red Bird from “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”
Access Weekend for The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is October 19 and 20
Chicago Children’s Theatre strives to make the arts accessible to people of all abilities, dispelling myths about individuals with special needs and their ability to fully participate in and enjoy the arts.
Access Weekend for The Very Hungry Caterpillar is October 19 and 20. Services include:
American Sign Language (ASL) and live open captioning for guests who are deaf or hard of hearing: Saturday, October 19 at 10:30 a.m.
Pre-show Touch Tour of the set prior to the show for guests who are blind or have low vision: Saturday, October 19 at 1 p.m., before the 2 p.m. show
Sensory friendly performances for children on the autism spectrum or with Down Syndrome: Sunday, October 20 at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Modifications are made to lighting, sound and music to avoid sensory overload, with a nearby Quiet Room.
Leslie Ann Sheppard with “The Very Lonely Firefly”
Micah Figueroa flanked by a rubber duckie and a polar bear in “10 Little Rubber Ducks"
(from left) Micah Figueroa, Lara Carling and Leslie Ann Sheppard perform “10 Little Rubber Ducks”
Photos by Ari Craven
Chicago Children’s Theatre’s 2019-20 Season: A Season to Celebrate
In addition to The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, Chicago Children’s Theatre’s 2019-20 season boasts the return of Chicago’s newest holiday family tradition, The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party, December 7-29; the new “mom & tot” show Wake Up, Brother Bear!, January 21 – February 16, 2020; a new Red Kite, Brown Box production for children on the autism spectrum, February 28-March 21, 2020; and the Chicago premiere of Me…Jane: The Dreams & Adventures of a Young Jane Goodall, March 31-April 26, 2020.
Chicago Children’s Theatre 2019-20 Subscription Packages are on sale now, starting at just $60 for three shows. Subscribers enjoy $15 off education programming at Chicago Children’s Theatre including classes and camps. Visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call Chicago Children’s Theatre Guest Services, (312) 374-8835, to subscribe.
About Chicago Children’s Theatre
Led by Founding Artistic Director, Jacqueline Russell, Chicago Children’s Theatre was founded in 2005 with a big idea: Chicago is the greatest theater city in the world, and it deserves a great children’s theater.
Fourteen years later, CCT is Chicago’s largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families. It has established a national reputation for the production of first-rate children’s theater, with professional writing, performing, and directorial talent and high-quality design and production expertise.
Chicago Children’s Theatre remains dedicated to creating awe-inspiring theatrical productions and programs through inclusion and accessibility, and inspiring young people and families to lead lives of adventure, courage and curiosity. Since its founding, Chicago Children’s Theatre has produced 20 world premieres including The Selfish Giant, The Hundred Dresses, Jackie and Me, The Houdini Box, Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, Leo Lionni’s Frederick, Wonderland, Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure, Jabari Dreams of Freedom, The Year I Didn’t Go To School: A Homemade Circus, Manual Cinema’s Magic City, My Wonderful Birthday Suit!, Last Stop on Market Street, X Marks the Spot, The World Inside Me (with New York’s Spellbound Theatre) and The Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963. These productions enjoyed successful inaugural runs in Chicago, many followed by productions at theaters across the U.S.
Earlier this year, Chicago Children’s Theatre won the 2019 National TYA Artistic Innovation Award from Theatre of Young Audiences/USA, the national service organization supporting, connecting and advocating for the field of theater for young audiences. In addition, Chicago Children’s Theatre has garnered six NEA Art Works grants, and in 2017, became the first theater for young audiences in the U.S. to win a National Theatre Award from the American Theatre Wing, creators of the Tony Awards.
In January 2017, the company celebrated the opening of its new, permanent home, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, located at 100 S. Racine Avenue in Chicago’s West Loop community. The building, formerly the Chicago Police Station for the 12th District, was repurposed into a beautiful, LEED Gold-certified, mixed-use performing arts, education and community engagement facility that now welcomes all Chicago families.
CCT offers free tickets to more than 5,000 low-income students each season in partnership with Chicago Public Schools. CCT also continues to grow its performing arts and STEAM education programs, offering classes, workshops, winter and spring break camps, and summer camps for ages 0 to 13.
In addition to leading the company’s new play development, mainstage and education programs, Jacqueline Russell is the creator of Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Red Kite Project, a multi-sensory interactive theatre program tailored specifically to children with special needs. Last season, Russell created and directed X Marks the Spot, a multi-sensory experience inspired by her work with children with visual impairments, which will tour Chicago area schools this fall. In 2010, she was appointed by the U.S. State Department to serve as Cultural Envoy to Canada, was awarded the 2013 “Hero of the Year Award” from the Chicago chapter of Autism Speaks, and was honored as one of 20 Chicago women who have shaped arts and culture featured on Kerry James Marshall's mural “Rushmore” on the west façade of the Chicago Culture Center.
Chicago Children’s Theatre is led by Co-Founders, Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell and Board Chair Todd Leland, with Board President Eric Neveux. For more, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org.