The Kimmel Center presents Mr. Popper's Penguins

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6abc Loves the Arts. Karen Rogers reports during Action News Mornings on February 4, 2018. (WPVI)

The Kimmel Center is presenting the Philadelphia premiere of a family favorite.

Mr. Popper's Penguins waddles from page to the stage in a musical adaption of the popular children's novel of the same name.
Mr. Popper's Penguins, the book, was written by Richard and Florence Atwater.

"Classic from the 1930s," says Frances Egler, Director of Programming and Presentations for the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, "and has been a big hit with kids ever since then."

It's a tale about British painter and decorator Mr. Popper, whose dreams of visiting the Antarctic are closer than he thinks.

"Suddenly one day a penguin shows up at his house," says Egler. "His name is Captain Cook and, through his friends at the zoo, another penguin shows up and they, as penguins do, have a lot of other penguins show up."

The story follows Mr. Popper's whimsical journey with his newfound friends.

"It's a fun little family romp," promises Egler, who says the penguins are brought to life using large-scale puppets, along the lines of The Lion King.

"You see the person behind them operating them, but you sort of forget the person pretty quickly so you're just focusing on the puppet," Egler explains.

And they'll literally glide across the stage on little wheels.

"It's a lot of fun to watch," says Egler.

The show was adapted for the stage in 2016 by British company Pins and Needles Productions and is currently on a nationwide tour.

"I think children and their families will really enjoy it," says Egler who warns it is not to be confused with the 2011 film starring Jim Carey, which was based loosely on the novel. "This is very different from that."

Mr. Popper's Penguins is one of six upcoming shows on the Kimmel Center's Family Discovery Series.

"It's live music on stage and these wonderful puppets that they will see and sort of see the penguins come to life in front of them," says Egler.

Mr. Popper's Penguins is at the Merriam Theater for two performances on February 10th. For tickets & show times, visit The Arts in Philly.

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