Request Tickets
Click here to request tickets – limited availability
Which Show is Right for My Students?
Educator Guide
Click to download the PDF
  • Info
  • Performance Description
  • Plot Synopsis
  • Content Advisories
  • Student Matinee Schedule
  • 2018 – 2019 Ticket Prices
  • Curriculum Connections

Presented by Children’s Theatre Company in association with Kenny Wax Family Entertainment and TC Beech
Based on the novel by Richard and Florence Atwater
Adapted for the stage by Pins and Needles Productions
Music by Luke Bateman
Lyrics by Richy Hughes
Directed by Emma Earle
For imaginative 4-year-olds and up

It is hard enough for Mr. Popper, a modest painter, to support himself and his family, and the unexpected addition of twelve penguins makes it even tougher. But then! The imaginative Popper turns his talented penguins into a traveling vaudeville act. They sing! They dance! They become a theatrical sensation and give a must-see Penguiny performance! Applause! Applause! This play shows you a wild and witty way to follow your dreams.

Performance Description

Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a musical production performed by a small group of adult actors and puppets. This show was created by Pins & Needles Productions. It is based on the Newbery Honor book by Richard & Florence Atwater.

This production takes place on our UnitedHealth Group stage and seats up to 745 people per performance.

Approximate run time: 1 hour without an intermission.

Run time and other details are subject to change during rehearsal process.

Plot Synopsis
Caution: This is a complete synopsis of the play, so it is full of spoilers.

Polar Explorer, Admiral Drake, begins the show with a radio broadcast from the bottom of the world. We hear about his expedition to the South Pole. Meanwhile, in the small town of Stillwater, Mr. Popper is getting ready to leave for his job as a house painter. On his way, he greets many townspeople. Mr. Popper has an active imagination and while he is working, the color of his paints inspire his daydreams about traveling around the world. He laments that at the end of the day, he is still in Stillwater.

Back at the Popper house, Mr. Popper is reading a book about Arctic adventures. Mr. Popper loves to learn about the arctic through books, movies, and Admiral Drake’s radio broadcast from Antarctica. This evening, Mr. and Mrs Popper are listening to the radio broadcast together when Admiral Drake addresses Mr. Popper directly from the radio. Admiral Drake announces that he has sent Mr. Popper a special surprise.

Just then, the doorbell rings. Inside a package is a real, live penguin. The penguin is clearly nervous and upset about being in a new environment and causes quite a mess by jumping on the couch, knocking over furniture, and eating the pet goldfish. Mr. Popper decides to name him Captain Cook. Mrs. Popper is nervous about having a penguin as a pet but decides it is okay as long as the penguin follows the rules. Captain Cook makes the fridge his bedroom, where it is nice and cold.

The next day, the penguin is still causing quite the commotion and destroying everything in sight. Mr. Popper decides to take Captain Cook out for a stroll around the town. Mr. Popper’s new pet confuses the residents of Stillwater and they mistake him for many different animals. A balloon seller gives the penguin a balloon which causes him to float into the air. Captain Cook upsets a baby when he jumps onto a baby carriage and the police are called. The police officer instructs Mr. Popper to keep his new pet on a leash and get a penguin license. Mr. Popper quickly learns that it is not easy to obtain a penguin license and gives up.

Mr. and Mrs. Popper begin to notice that Captain Cook does not seem happy. He will not eat and has fallen ill due to the warm weather. They try to take him to the vet who explains that penguins just aren’t meant for the climate of Stillwater. The vet encourages them to wrap him in ice packs but fears that the penguin might die. They nurse him back to health as best they can, but write to famous explorers for help. The London Zoo ends up hearing the news of Captain Cook and they send Greta, another penguin suffering from loneliness, to live with the Poppers. Greta does the trick and Captain Cook bounces back in no time.

Winter is setting in and the penguins enjoy the change in climate. The two penguins are too big to both fit in the refrigerator so Mr. Popper decides to open all of the windows to make the entire house cold like the Arctic. Mrs. Popper is not fond of this idea. The Popper’s begin to wonder what Greta and Captain Cook are saying to each other and sing a love song. Before long, the entire house has been transformed into a winter wonderland complete with an ice skating rink.

Greta & Captain Cook are inseparable and before long, Greta lays eggs- eight eggs! They name the newest additions after famous explorers. The baby chicks grow at a tremendous rate and the more they grow, the more they eat! The Poppers begin to suffer the financial strain of providing large amounts of fish every day for them to eat.

Mr. Popper needs to find ways to generate more family income and decides to put the penguins to work in his painting business. The penguins spend more time playing than helping and Mr. Popper has to come up with another plan to keep the penguins busy and increase their income. Mr. Popper schedules them an audition with a theatre producer and the penguins are hired to go out on tour. The penguins walk on a giant ball, lift dumbbells, and perform acrobatics. You truly have never seen a show like Mr. Popper’s Performing Penguins.

Admiral Drake decides to pop by for a visit and has a chance to see the penguins’ performance. At the end of the night, Admiral Drake breaks the news that it is time for the penguins to go back home to their natural habitat. Mr. Popper is sad but understands that this is what is best, so he begins to say a tearful goodbye. Admiral Drake is surprised because he expected Mr. Popper to come with them. Mr. Popper begins to explain that he can’t leave home because of Mrs. Popper, but sees that she is already onboard! They all travel to Antarctica for a fabulous adventure.

Content Advisories (subject to change as the production goes into rehearsal):

Language: 0 out of 5 stars

Themes and Situations: 1 out of 5 stars
Captain Cook feels lonely and becomes sick. They fear he might die. Greta lays eggs.

Violence & Scariness: 0 out of 5 stars

Sensory Advisories: 1 out of 5 stars
Musical numbers can be loud. Snow falls over the audience.

Potentially Anxious Moments: 1 out of 5 stars
Captain Cook feels lonely. Captain Cook eats the pet fish. Mr. and Mrs. Popper feel financially strained.

Mr. Popper's Penguins
Student Matinee Pricing Guide

Themes

Trying New Things Collaboration Exploration
Perseverance Friendship Adventure
Family Conservation Daydreaming


Curriculum Connections

Arctic Animals Creative & Critical Thinking Environment
Arctic Climate World Explorers Variety Shows/Vaudeville
Letter Writing Depression Era America Literature & Adaptations
Rhyme & Rhythm Animal Adaptations & Environment Predator & Prey
Maps & Globes Puppets Compare & Contrast
Animal Classification    


Vocabulary

Antarctica Arctic Curiosity
Dedication Determination Explorer
Unique Novelty Voyage
Plummet Unfurled Summit
Inhabited Continent Bloomers
Flippers Quaint Promenade
Eccentric Navigation Mayday


Minnesota State Benchmarks

Literacy

Reading

CCRA.R.2; CCRA.R.3; CCRA.R.5; CCRA.R.6; CCRA.R.7;

Speaking & Listening

CCRA.SL.1; CCRA.SL.2; CCRA.SL.3;

Language

CCRA.L.3; CCRA.L.6;

Arts

Artistic Foundations
Theatre, Music, & Dance

Benchmark 1, Benchmark 2, Benchmark 3.2

Artistic Process: Create or Make
Theatre, Music, & Dance

Benchmark 1

Artistic Process: Perform or Present
Theatre, Music, & Dance

Benchmark 1



Privacy Policy

Thank you for reviewing the privacy policy and disclaimer.

Children’s Theatre Company (“CTC”) is committed to providing a safe online experience. We collect no personally identifying information, unless you choose to provide us with that information. This statement of Privacy applies to the CTC website and governs data collection and usage. By using the CTC website, you consent to the data practices described in this statement.

COLLECTION OF PERSON INFORMATION
If you visit our site to browse, read, watch videos or download, we automatically collect and store only the following information about you:
  • The IP address from which you access our Web site (an IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing.)
  • The type of browser and operating system used to access our site
  • The date and time you access our site
  • The pages you visit
  • and The Internet address of the Web site from which you accessed our site

This information is used to improve the functionality of the website—to learn about the number of visitors to our site and the types of technology our visitors use. We do not track or record information about individuals and their visits. We may compile and report aggregate statistics about our users — numbers, traffic patterns, and related site information — but these statistics will include no personally identifying information. CTC is not responsible for privacy statements or other content on websites outside of CTC, including those linked from CTC’s website.

USE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

If you identify yourself by submitting mailing list, donor or ticket request forms contained in the site, we use that information only to respond to your message and to help us provide you with the material you have requested or to send you a written acknowledgment of your donation as required by law, or to verify and/or mail purchases and/or to process your ticket order.

You have the option to contact us by phone or by email (web@childrenstheatre.org) to request that we remove your name from our mailing and/or calling and/or trade list. If you opt to be taken off our mailing list, you will receive no mail from us, including publications or special notices. If you opt to be removed from our calling list, you will receive no calls from us except when a performance is canceled. We will not sell, trade or share a donor’s personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations. If you are not a donor and you opt to be removed from our trade list, we will not provide your name to other arts organizations that might be making special offers or anyone else.

USE OF COOKIES

CTC’s website uses "cookies" to help you personalize your online experience. A cookie is a text file that is placed on your hard disk by a web page server. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you, and can only be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you.

The purpose of a cookie is to tell the web server that you have returned to a specific page. We and our advertising partners, including advertising networks, use information gathered through cookies and other similar technologies, as well as other information we or they may have, to help tailor the ads you see on our sites and to help make decisions about the ads you see on other sites. To opt-out of targeted adversity from many ad networks visit: http://www.networkadvertising.org/choices

You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies. Please be aware that some web pages may not work correctly if cookies are disabled. More information is available here: http://www.aboutcookies.org.

CREDIT CARD SUBMISSION

All credit card transactions including ticket purchases and donations is processed on a secure server. Credit card information is protected by encryption technology, such as the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol. This helps to assure information is protected from unauthorized access.

CHANGES TO STATEMENT

CTC may occasionally update our Statement of Privacy to reflect customer feedback or changing technologies. CTC encourages you to review this statement periodically.

CONTACT

CTC welcomes comments and questions about or Statement of Privacy. If you believe CTC has not adheared to this statement, please contact us at web@childrenstheatre.org.

DISCLAIMER

Under no circumstances shall CTC, its employees or contractors be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, punitive or consequential damages that may result in any way from your use or inability to use the information provided on this or any other web site supported or maintained by CTC or from your reliance on or use of information, services or merchandise provided on or through the web site or that result from mistakes, errors, omissions, interruptions, defects, deletion of files, delays in operation or transmission or any failure of performance. If you are dissatisfied with the information provided on this web site, or with any of the practices of the CTC in the operation of this web site, your sole and exclusive remedy is to discontinue using the web site.