The willy, nilly, silly old bear all stuffed with fluff will be making his appearance at Warren Arts.
Winnie the Pooh, along with his friends, will be depicted by an all-youth cast, crew and directors throughout the month of February at Warren Arts.
The Winnie the Pooh musical will run from Feb. 21 to March 1, taking place each Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
“They’re doing a fantastic job,” says chairman of the board for Warren Arts Sheri Denning. “I’m so proud of the young directors, producers, designers and cast.”
The youth-led show is comprised of cast and crew ages 5 to 18, and is directed by three teenagers. The musical is the second show directed by Jana Denning, 16. The other directors, Chance Hale, 17, and Alexandra Hunt, 16, will be debuting their skills.
“I believe theater is so important because it allows both kids and adults to express themselves in ways they usually wouldn’t be able to,” says Jana Denning. “Being on stage and having that feeling of I can be whoever I want to be is very empowering, especially for people who are usually shy.”
Christopher Robin’s best friend Pooh and all the gang from the 100 Acre Woods share a fun adventure on stage, with stories inspired by A.A. Milne.
“I hope people enjoy the musical and leave understanding the biggest moral of the show, which is friendship is power,” says Brennen Beaty, 15, who plays Tigger.
The storyline follows Pooh and friends when they discover a note mistakenly believed to say Christopher Robin has been abducted. Fun adventures follow the cast and crew on their quest to find their friend.
“I think for a person who loves Winnie the Pooh, viewing the characters, set and story will give them a positive feeling,” says Sheri. “Theater is really about making the audience feel something. This show will make people feel as though they’ve been on a heartwarming adventure with Pooh and his friends.”
People who are familiar with the stories of Winnie the Pooh will recognize many of the tunes, but new songs have been included as well.
“This is my first lead role and I’m super excited,” says Colin Totherow, 11, who plays Pooh Bear. “My favorite part of being Pooh is probably his song about his tummy, which is really funny. I hope people have a fun time when they come to see it.”
Two casts, involving a total of 50 children, will perform each week with 25 students in each of the productions. The casts will rotate between school shows and performances.
“I’m really excited for the community to see what our youth is capable of doing when they are given the opportunity and resources to do so,” says Sheri. “I am always amazed at how, when given that chance, people rise to the occasion, and they have really done so with this production.”
“It’s a great show for the younger kids, but is also good for all ages,” adds Sheri. “The show lasts 45 minutes so even the youngest kids who can’t sit through a whole hour and a half show will have fun since it’s short and lively.”
This performance is the third youth-led show Warren Arts has held. Upcoming auditions will take place Saturday, Feb. 29 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a new show with more information being announced soon.
Tickets for Winnie the Pooh are $12 per person and are available at the box office, which will be open an hour before the production begins, or online at warrenartstn.ticketleap.com.