Chicago toddlers, you are cordially invited to meet your favorite Beatrix Potter friends, including Tom Kitten, Simpkin the Cat, and of course, Peter Rabbit.
Because Chicago Children’s Theatre’s popular holiday show, The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party, a seasonal rite of passage for young Chicago families, is returning for its seventh season, November 19-December 24, 2022.
Time Brickey (left) and Kay Kron in Chicago Children's Theatre's 2021 production of The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Photo credit: Charles Osgood.
The ideal outing for toddler’s first holiday show, The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party is a mesmerizing, highly interactive trunk and puppet show that features a trio of talented actor/singer/musicians who bring four adorable Beatrix Potter animal tales to life.
Time Brickey and Kay Kron in Chicago Children's Theatre's 2021 production of The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Photo credit: Charles Osgood.
Families watch in awe as the cast pull levers and turn cranks on ingeniously designed mechanical “suitcase sculptures” that reveal hand-crafted, 3D puppetry meant to surprise and delight.
Live, original music played on cello, guitar, banjo and toy piano complete the experience as CCT’s charming storytellers interweave Beatrix Potter’s classic narration while guiding gentle interactive moments, recruiting young watchers to join the adventure.
But, mom, where’s the party?
Charlie Malave and Simpkin the Cat join the post-show festivities at Chicago Children's Theatre's The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party in 2021. Photos by Charles Osgood.
That’s after the show, in Chicago Children’s Theatre’s lobby, which is decked out for the season like a festive Victorian Hall. That’s where the audience gathers to meet and take photos with the actors, play with the puppets, and enjoy juice, cookies, and chocolate milk.
Some families come dressed in their holiday finest. Others come just as they are. Either way, young and old alike enjoy this incredibly charming, meticulously designed puppet show, not to mention meeting other families from all over the city for an unforgettable, shared holiday experience.
Over the past eight years, Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Beatrix Potter productions have toured to schools, libraries, cultural institutions, and even to China. The Chicago Reader called The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party “dazzling, brisk at under an hour, and sweet as can be.”
Don’t miss season seven, November 19-December 24, 2022 at Chicago Children’s Theatre, 100 S. Racine Ave. in Chicago's West Loop. The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party is ideal for ages 2 to 6. Performances are Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The show runs 60 minutes, followed by the tea party.
Tickets start at $43.25, including fees, and are on sale now at chicagochildrenstheatre.org. Mark your calendar and purchase early, because these shows will sell out. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 374-8835 to learn more about discounted rates for schools, playgroups, birthday parties and scouting groups.
Screen and download The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party video b-roll package TRT 3:24
CCT continues to grow its commitment to all Chicago children by expanding services for patrons with disabilities. Access Weekend for The Beatrix Holiday Tea Party is December 10 and 11. Services include:
Saturday, December 10
- 9:30 a.m. ASL interpretation and Open Captions
- 11:30 a.m. Sensory Friendly
Sunday, December 11
- 9:30 a.m. Audio Description (Touch Tour on request)
- 11:30 a.m. Sensory Friendly
Chicago Children’s Theatre is a “no shushing” theater. It is centrally located in the former 12th District Chicago Police Station, now fully renovated and home to the city’s largest professional theater devoted to children and young families.
Chicago Children's Theatre is minutes from I-90 and I-290, as well as downtown and Ashland Avenue. Free, onsite parking is available on the south side of the theater. Free street parking can be found nearby on weekends, or try the Impark parking lot, 1301 W. Madison St.
Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Beatrix Potter series is devised by Will Bishop, Lara Carling, Kay Kron, Grace Needlman and Ray Rehberg. Will Bishop is director. Lara Carling is co-director. Performers are Lily Emerson, Charlie Malave and Felix May. Puppets are by Grace Needlman. Music is by Ray Rehberg and Charlie Malave. Costumes are by Ian Liberman, based on the original designs by Jillian Gryzlak. Lighting designer is Becca Jeffords. Sound designer is Daniel Etti-Williams. Anastar Alvarez is stage manager.
Emerging next spring at Chicago Children’s Theatre:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
Since it was first published in 1969, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” has nibbled its way into the hearts of millions of children all over the world. Fifty years later, Eric Carle’s colorful story about metamorphosis has been translated into 62 languages, sold more than 50 million copies worldwide, and remains a staple of baby showers, bed stands and classroom bookshelves.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is a bright, bold, puppet-filled live stage version of Eric Carle’s timeless children’s book about an insatiable caterpillar that munches its way to become a full-fledged butterfly. Before and after the show, CCT’s lobby is a welcoming space for kids and families to relax and have fun, play games and create their own Eric Carle-themed keepsakes at colorful crafting stations.
Performances are April 15-June 4, 2023: Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Tickets start at $35.25, including fees, and are on sale now at chicagochildrenstheatre.org. Email email@example.com or call (312) 374-8835 to learn more about discounted rates for schools, playgroups, birthday parties and scouting groups. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is recommended for all ages, 6 months and up. Jerrell L. Henderson returns to direct.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show was created by Jonathan Rockefeller, who is also responsible for the acclaimed live stage version of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh. His creative staging of Eric Carle’s books earned a Drama Desk Award nomination and won the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Family Show.
When Chicago Children’s Theatre first presented The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show in 2019, the Chicago Tribune gobbled it up, raving “Incredible work…Eric Carle’s books are brought beautifully to life.” Chicago Parent agreed, “Be wowed by the live action colorful world.”
The production has gone on to become a global sensation having performed over 2,000 shows worldwide including sold out engagements in Australia, New York, United Kingdom, Dubai, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands.
About Chicago Children’s Theatre
“The Chicago theater scene is legendarily vibrant, so naturally a number of companies tailor productions to younger audiences. The cream of the crop is Chicago Children’s Theatre.” – Chicago Tribune
Chicago Children’s Theatre was founded in 2005 with a big idea: Chicago is the greatest theater city in the world, and it deserves a great children’s theater. Today, Chicago Children’s Theatre is the city’s largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families. CCT has established a national reputation for the production of first-rate children’s theater with professional writing, performing, and directorial talent and high-quality design and production expertise.
In January 2017, the company celebrated the opening of its new, permanent home, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, located at 100 S. Racine Avenue in Chicago’s West Loop community. The building, formerly the Chicago Police Station for the 12th District, was repurposed into a beautiful, LEED Gold-certified, mixed-use performing arts, education and community engagement facility that now welcomes all Chicago families.
CCT provides tens of thousands of free and reduced-price tickets to under-resourced schools each season in partnership with Chicago Public Schools. CCT also continues to grow its performing arts and STEAM education programs, offering classes, workshops, winter and spring break camps, and summer camps for ages 0 to 14.
In 2019, Chicago Children’s Theatre won the National TYA Artistic Innovation Award from Theatre for Young Audiences/USA. In addition, Chicago Children’s Theatre has garnered six NEA Art Works grants, and in 2017, became the first theater for young audiences in the U.S. to win a National Theatre Award from the American Theatre Wing, creators of the Tony Awards.
Chicago Children’s Theatre is supported by Goldman Sachs, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts, The Shubert Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity and the Arts at Prince, Bayless Family Foundation, The Crown Family, Rea Charitable Trust, ComEd, US Bank, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Illinois Arts Council, Illinois Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), The Susan M. Venturi Fund in memory of James and Roslyn Marks to Support Theatre Education Accession, and Erin and Jason, Ben, Bici and David Pritzker.
Chicago Children’s Theatre is led by Co-Founders, Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell and Board Chair Todd Leland, with Board President Armando Chacon.
For more, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org.