Set the DVR for “Johnny and the Sprites”

The NY Times has a look at the next addition to Disney Channel’s Playhouse Disney lineup. This time it’s a puppet show. "Johnny and the Sprites" is the creation of John Tartaglia, one time Broadways star in the puppet musical – Avenue Q. If you’re seen Avenue Q then you know it’s not exactly Disney material. Yet, many of the same creative people that put on the Droadway show are working to bring ‘Sprites’ to Disney’s morning roster.

I really like the strategy behind this show. Take this quote from Stephen Schwartz who contributes some songs to the show.

Mr. Schwartz has written plenty of children’s material — his credits
include the Disney movies “Pocahontas” and “The Hunchback of Notre
Dame” — but “Johnny and the Sprites” is aimed at his youngest audience
yet. He made no adjustment for the age difference, he said in an
interview. In “Brightly Shining,” “glittering” rhymes with
“skittering,” and the holiday music is lyrical, not jolly. “I basically
always approach it from the point of view of writing the best song I
can,” he said. “I try to tell the best story, get across the emotion.”
If there is a vocabulary word that the children might not know, he
added, “that’s O.K., now they will.”

Many of the fondest shows from my childhood involved puppetry, so it’s certainly nice to see something other than animation or musical groups showing up on my son’s morning schedule. (Been missing Bear In The Big Blue House, I guess) We’ll watch the first couple episodes and I promise to report back with reaction. "Johnny And The Sprites" will debut this Saturday.