Spring is right around the corner, and so is The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, a bright, bold, super fun live stage version of Eric Carle’s timeless children’s book, emerging April 15-June 4, 2023 at Chicago Children’s Theatre, 100 S. Racine St. in Chicago’s West Loop.
Created by Jonathan Rockefeller, this mesmerizing global sensation boasts a colorful menagerie of over 75 enchanting puppets, including the star of the show – “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” along with three other Eric Carle favorites: “Brown Bear, Brown Bear,” “10 Little Rubber Ducks” and “The Very Busy Spider.”
The production has special audience participation elements, plus all attendees have the opportunity to take a picture with The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Before and after the show, Chicago Children’s Theatre’s lobby is a welcoming space for kids and families to relax, have fun, play games and create their own Eric Carle-themed keepsakes at colorful crafting stations.
More photos from Chicago Children's Theatre's 2019 Chicago premiere of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and a photo ID key are here. Please credit: Ari Craven
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show has been dazzling audiences around the globe for over five years. When Chicago Children’s Theatre presented its local premiere in 2019, the Chicago Tribune gobbled it up, raving “Incredible work…Eric Carle’s books are brought beautifully to life" (read the review, here).
Chicago Parent agreed, “Be wowed by the live action colorful world.”
But the best testimonial is from the celebrated author himself, Eric Carle, who sadly passed away in May 2021 at age 91.
"I hope the performances will be enjoyed by many and that the colorful characters will bring comfort and joy to all who see the stories that have been so carefully produced," said Carle, who wrote more than 70 children’s books that sold more than 170 million copies. "It is uplifting to see such beautiful and cheerful works inspired by my characters! I hope my books - and this show - will inspire you and your imagination.”
Press play above or here to screen and download a video clip from Chicago Children's Theatre's 2019 Chicago premiere of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show. Clip courtesy Chicago Children's Theatre.
Parents, there’s no better joy than watching your child filled with delight as they cheer on their favorite bedtime character, an insatiable caterpillar who munches their way to become a full-fledged butterfly.
Showtimes for The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show are Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., April 15-June 4, 2023. The show is recommended for all ages, 6 months and up. Run time is 60 minutes.
Tickets, $35.25, including fees, are on sale at chicagochildrenstheatre.org. Email email@example.com or call (312) 374-8835 to learn about discounted rates for schools, playgroups, birthday parties and scouting groups.
Chicago Children’s Theatre, 100 S. Racine St., at Monroe, is in the former 12th District Chicago Police Station, now the city’s largest professional theater devoted to children and young families.
CCT is centrally located in Chicago, 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.
Access Weekend at The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show: May 6 and 7
Access Weekend for The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is May 6-7. Services include:
Saturday, May 6
- 9:30 a.m. ASL interpretation and Open Captions
- 11:30 a.m. Sensory Friendly
Sunday, May 7
- 9:30 a.m. Audio Description (Touch Tour on request)
- 11:30 a.m. Sensory Friendly
Leslie Ann Shepherd is returning for Chicago Children's Theatre's 2023 remount of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show. Photo by Ari Craven.
Micah Figueroa is also returning for Chicago Children's Theatre' 2023 remount of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show. Photo by Ari Craven.
Behind-the-Scenes: 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. More than 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. To learn more about this icon of children’s literature, visit eric-carle.com.
Chicago director and puppeteer Jerrell L. Henderson, who staged the acclaimed Chicago debut of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, returns to direct.
Jerrell M. Henderson, director, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
Original cast members Micah Figueroa and Leslie Ann Sheppard are also back, joined by actor/puppeteer Shay Turnage, who made her CCT debut last fall in Manual Cinema’s Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster. Time Brickey is understudy.
The Chicago production team includes Will Bishop (scenic design), Caitlin McLeod (costume design), Jason Lynch (lighting design), Matt Reich (sound design), Shannon Golden (production stage manager) and Anastar Alvarez (assistant stage manager).
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show earned a Drama Desk Award nomination and won the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Family Show. The New York Times called it “bedazzling,” Newsday gave it “Five Smiles,” and Live Theater UK raved “your favorite small person will be changed for the better.” The production has performed sold out engagements in Australia, New York, United Kingdom, Dubai, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show was created by Jonathan Rockefeller, co-founder of Rockefeller Productions, a company that combines film, theatre, animation, puppetry and television. Rockwell also created the acclaimed live stage version of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh.
“After 2,000 plus shows worldwide, response to The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show has been incredible and has exceeded our expectations. We are thrilled that so many children are experiencing the magic of theater for the very first time, with a character they all grew up with,” Rockefeller said.
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, 100 S. Racine Ave. in Chicago’s West Loop, is Chicago’s destination for the best plays, musicals, classes and performing arts camps for young audiences. For parents, caregivers and teachers, Chicago Children’s Theatre is a convenient, welcoming community hub, centrally located in the city, with free, onsite parking.
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, following 11 years as an itinerant company, CCT celebrated the opening of its forever home, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, 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. In addition to presenting professional productions on its flexible stage, CCT offers education programs year round for ages 0 to 14, including performing arts classes, workshops, winter and spring break camps, and summer camps.
CCT provides tens of thousands of free and reduced-price tickets to under-resourced schools each season in partnership with Chicago Public Schools. The company also continues to grow its commitment to all Chicago children with a full slate of Access services for patrons with disabilities, including ASL interpretation and open captioning, touch tours and sensory friendly performances.
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 chicagochildren