The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show returned to New York City this fall with new Eric Carle stories to tell. Running an easily digestible 55 minutes and filled with bright colors and oversize puppets, this beautiful stage show easily captivates toddlers and preschoolers.
We caught the show when it first opened in January 2016, and so we were eager to see the new version, which swapped out two of the previous Carle picture book stories for two new ones. It also moved to a theater downtown. Read on for our full parent review of this show playing throughout the holidays and into February 2018.
The latest rendition of the show consists of four stories: Brown Bear, Brown Bear; 10 Little Rubber Ducks; The Very Lonely Firefly; and, of course the title performance, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (The previous version included The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse and Mister Seahorse.) The show mirrors the books' storylines, but the pace is thoughtful and poetic, with accompanying music and movement. A tale that would normally take under five minutes to read turns into a 15-minute performance. The characters, like the Firefly or the last Rubber Duck, evolve into heartwarming heroes on a journey to find happiness.
My family’s favorites were Brown Bear, Brown Bear and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. My 5-year-old son got a kick out of shouting out the colors and names of the animals in Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and who can resist counting "Two Pears!" and "Four Strawberries!" in The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Our 23-month-old stayed seated the entire time, immensely enjoying the performance as puppeteers moved about the stage with more than 75 characters.
RELATED: 20 Best Holiday Events for Toddlers and Preschoolers in NYC
Shout out the colors in Brown Bear, Brown Bear.
And that’s one of the highlights of the show. The children are encouraged to laugh out loud, sing with the cast, and recite memorable lines. Halfway through, many of the children were on parents’ laps or standing instead of sitting, but the environment is friendly toward these eager youngsters. As long as the children are not a distraction for the other audience members, you are welcome to be boisterous.
The Very Lonely Firefly is the story of a firefly trying to find a friend in a world full of lights.
The only action that the staff frowns upon is picture-taking during the show, as it is distracting to the cast. But you’ll get your Instagram-worthy pic at the end, when the puppeteers bring the lights up and march everyone out for photos.
Additionally, the show welcomes all those on the autism spectrum and those with sensory issues. The show has been designed to be inclusive and autism-friendly. There is a quiet area provided and if you let the staff know you’re coming, they will ensure a fidget is available if needed.
Children can stay busy coloring in the main lobby until showtime. Photo by the author
If you arrive early, you don't have to worry about kids getting antsy and/or restless in the lobby: It's equipped with a coloring tables, Eric Carle drawings, and crayons to keep them busy. If you’re child is nervous upon entry, staff members are ready with pictures of the show to prepare them for what they'll encounter.
If you opt for the VIP ticket option, you're in for a treat. Your child will receive a tote bag, a book, and a chance to meet the Caterpillar on stage after the performance.
Good to Know Before You Go
- Strollers are not allowed inside of the audience seating area. There is limited, unattended stroller parking adjacent to the theater entrance. Staff recommends not bringing one if possible.
- There is a $5 lap-seat price for children under 1, which can be purchased at the ticket window before the performance.
- There is no food or beverage allowed inside and there is no concession stand. But don't worry, the theater is in the heart of Union Square with plenty of snacks and lunch fare around.
Check the show's website for the latest ticket prices and show times. It runs through February 4, 2018 at the DR2 Theatre at 103 East 15th Street. Tickets start at $25. If you're visiting New York City, check out some other fun nearby activities for your family to make a whole day of it.
Photos courtesy the production except where noted.