“Winnie The Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation” was almost more adorable than you’d expect and I left pleasantly surprised! A three-foot-tall Pooh and his very talented puppeteer pal were joined by Christopher Robin (played by a rotation of three young actors, one per night) and their Hundred Acre Wood friends (Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, Owl and Tigger too!) also with puppeteer counterparts.
The new musical is produced by Rockefeller Productions in association with Disney Theatrical Productions. It opened November 4th and is scheduled to run through at least the end of January 2022 at the newly renamed Hundred Acre Wood Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street).
Over the course of the hour-long production, the audience follows the silly old bear on an adventure for ‘hunny’ through a few different storylines which roll out over the course of four seasons.
Some charming moments include leaves and snow falling on the audience, lots of bouncing, Eyore’s puppeteer nailing his wry and adorable hopelessness, and low stakes hijinks resulting in Pooh being stuck in a honey tree and saved with Piglet’s kite, all before Christopher Robin joins the fun with a jar of honey.
There are several songs to hum along to including two rounds of Tigger’s song, all perfectly charming. The show features the Sherman Brothers’ classic Grammy Award-winning music with additional songs by A.A. Milne.
The small theater allows for the audience to feel like they’re with Pooh and friends instead of watching a puppet show (the puppeteers are great working their puppets, which are spot on and better than any Pooh characters I’ve seen walking around the parks lately) and is more akin to the Finding Nemo stage production at Animal Kingdom than anything Disney has put on Broadway.
The production is in a shared theater space with a couple other productions running, so the Pooh theming was limited to just outside of the actual theater space, but did include sketches for character and costume design, props and a merch sales area selling a book, tote bags, t-shirts and stuffed animals of the characters.
From my perspective, it’s a really cute show to see with kids (maybe 5-10 years old) but you definitely only need to see it once. While there’s nothing groundbreaking here, the off-Broadway production is something fun to do with your family and is a great entry-level theater show for younger kids.
Just like all the Pooh shows, movies, and books, in the end it’s all about friendship and is very truly sweet.
Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation is developed and presented by Jonathan Rockefeller (whose puppetry was featured in the acclaimed productions of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and Paddington Gets in a Jam).
The cast includes Jake Bazel (TV: “Sesame Street”, Off-Broadway: Paddington Gets in a Jam) as Pooh, Chris Palmieri (TV: Emmy nominated “Snug’s House”) as Tigger, Kirsty Moon (Rockefeller Productions’ The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, Paddington Gets in a Jam) and Kristina Dizon (National Tour: Sesame Street) alternating the roles of Piglet/Roo and Kanga, Emmanuel Elpenord (Rockefeller Productions’ The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show) as Eeyore, Rabbit & Owl, Kaydn Kuioka, Max Lamberg, and Cooper Lantz share the role of Christopher Robin and Sebastiano Ricci is the understudy.
The production has implemented safety protocols for the new musical. All patrons will be required to wear a mask inside the theatre, and every person 12+ will be required to show proof of vaccine before entering the theatre. Those under 12 years old will be required to show evidence of a negative PCR COVID test within 3 days of the performance or a negative COVID rapid antigen test from a doctor or testing site within 6 hours of performance.
The show has made testing free and easy with free rapid on-site testing directly outside of Theatre Row up to 1.5 hours before curtain time. These safety measures are designed to bring audiences back to the theatre with confidence.
Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, the new musical stage adaptation, will open on November 4, 2021, at the newly renamed Hundred Acre Wood Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street).
Author Trish Halpin is an incurable adventurer and avid curator based in New York, visits Disney more than anyone she knows, and can be found on Instagram as @yaypineapples.
Disclaimer: The Disney Blog received tickets for review purposes. As always the opinion of the writer is honest, and their own.