Director Jon Ludwig and his crew of puppeteers are paying homage to a cherished children’s book this summer at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Midtown.
“Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat” premiered at the center last week as the first “all-puppet” version of the performance.
Ludwig said this is the Southeast’s first time to offer the theatrical adaptation of the book.
“We’ve been wanting to do this piece since 1978 and we finally got the right to it,” he said.
The book was originally adapted and directed by Katie Mitchell for the National Theatre of Great Britain, and the show is now being produced in America.
“It’s like walking into the book,” Ludwig said. “[The set designer] really made it look exactly like the book with the beautiful iconic blue that’s in the background of most of the book. It has every detail, prop, stitch and cross-hatch from the book.”
The story includes only six characters, he said, with duplicates of several of them, amounting to between 20 and 30 puppets, including rod puppets and hand-and-mouth puppets.
Amy Sweeney, who has worked at the center for 12 years, is one of the six puppeteers in the show, and plays the boy who tells the story.
“I am excited about bringing the story to life for the kids,” she said.
The other puppeteers are Dolph Amick, Aaron Gotlieb, Reay Kaplan, Rudy Roushdi and Tim Sweeney.
Ludwig said he hopes audience members will have fun with the “great classic story where everybody learned to read.”
“Everybody has read this book. It is cross-generational. We say [age] 4 and up, but even toddlers could enjoy it because it is so colorful and there is not a lot of dialogue” he said.
Ludwig also welcomes audience engagement, since most everyone is familiar with the classic tale.
Both he and Sweeney said no one should run the risk of messing up Dr. Seuss’ work, because he played a large role in their childhoods, as well as several others.
“I just hope they have a great time and go home and read the story after the show,” Sweeney said. “We stuck very religiously to the book.”
“Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat” will be in the center’s Mainstage Theatre from now until July 28.
If you go:
o What: “Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat”
o When: now through July 28; Tuesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and noon, Saturdays at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m., and Sundays at 1 and 3 p.m.
o Where: Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St., Midtown
o Tickets: $9.25 for members and $16.50 for nonmembers
o Information: www.puppet.org