BFFs Rule In CCTC/HJT’s ‘Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!’

by Amy F Tagliaferri
The full cast of Elephant & Piggie: l to r, front- Kristin Stewart (peeking)  Anthony Teixeira, Trish LaRose; back row-Jane Loutzenhiser, Zack Johnson and Madison Mayer. The full cast of Elephant & Piggie: l to r, front- Kristin Stewart (peeking) Anthony Teixeira, Trish LaRose; back row-Jane Loutzenhiser, Zack Johnson and Madison Mayer.

Mo Willems certainly understands children. His books speak to children in simple, sincere terms. The Elephant & Piggie books are very popular, along with his Pigeon series, especially “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” You can experience the merriment of his stories this school vacation.

Friendships are the family we choose. And a best friend is someone you want to share things with and who accepts you with all your foibles. Exploring Gerald and Piggie’s friendship is the subject of the Cape Cod Theatre Company/Harwich Junior Theatre’s latest production, “Elephant & Piggie’s We Are In A Play,” based on Willems’ books, with script and lyrics by Willems and music by Deborah Wicks La Puma.

Gerald and Piggie are tight; they’re unabashedly “bestus” friends. They love to play together. Gerald worries a lot but Piggie never does and is happy and excited about everything. When they are invited to a party hosted by the Squirrelles (three singing squirrels), Gerald worries what kind of party it is, but Piggie is just excited because it’s her first party! Filled with silly dilemmas like this, lively songs and more, the show is a great way to introduce young children to the joy of live theater. The deep belly laughs and chuckles from the youngsters in the audience on opening night was an added layer of enjoyment for the adults in attendance.

Incoming CCTC/HJT’s producing artistic director Jenn Pina introduces the show after a side-splitting performance from the Penguin/Pigeon (Kristin Stewart). Pina can be proud of this, her first production, as she starts her tenure in this theater entering its 73rd season. It’s engaging and fun. Director Jay Stewart has one of the biggest funny bones I know, so he cottons on how to tap your funny bone, too. Keeping cheeriness in mind, he rounded up a cast of stellar performers to bring this story to life. Anthony Teixeira is a priceless Gerald. The actor can say so much with a look and a sound effect. Trish LaRose is such an adorable Piggie. Her enthusiasm translates to all around her. The two perform the burlesque-like song and dance numbers with aplomb.

The Squirrelles (Madison Mayer, Zack Johnson and Jane Loutzenhiser) are hilarious. These three are born to perform and proud of it. They bop and hop around the stage in delightful costumes created by Mindy Herington. Piggie’s costume was cute, too. Guy Trudeau’s colorful set design and Matthew Kohler’s lighting and sound designs create a fabulous backdrop that enhances but never detracts from the hilarity and the dancing on the stage. Kudos to choreographer Suzette Hutchinson. And a shout out to “wild goose chaser” Marybeth Travis for the props. Devin Massarsky fills in for Kristin Stewart on Feb. 14 to 16.

Unseen but certainly heard is the music from the talented band under the direction of Robert Wilder. Wilder on piano, Berke McKelvey on saxophone, flute and clarinet and Chris Santos on the drums were all fantastic. Also not visible were those behind the scenes who made sure cues were hit and everything was in their places; they are stage manager Katie Scarlett Graves, sound board operator Alex Ingraham (he was busy!), backstage crew Gianna Casale and tech director Kohler.

At just a bit over an hour, allowing for laughter pauses and enthusiastic clapping sessions, this show is the perfect family outing this month. You’ll feel like “you are in a play!”


"Elephant & Piggie’s ‘We are in a Play!’”

At Cape Cod Theatre Company/Harwich Junior Theatre, Division Street, West Harwich

Through March 3; Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., vacation matinees Feb. 20-22 at 2 p.m.; Sunday, Feb 25 will be a sensory friendly performance.

Information and reservations: 508-432-2002,