2012 International Children's Festival Performances

April 24, 2012

The University of Pennsylvania Almanac
April 24, 2012, Volume 58, No. 31

The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts presents the 28th Philadelphia International Children’s Festival from Thursday, May 3 through Saturday, May 5, 2012. It provides three days of family-friendly music, theatre and dance performances and a host of fun, interactive activities. Performance highlights include Space Panorama, John Hadfield’s Monkeys in the House, John Tartaglia’s ImaginOcean, Circo Comedia and PASTA! A Pop Ups Puppet Musical. The outdoor Fun Zone features crafts, dancers, musicians and more, plus a special appearance by the Phillie Phanatic.

The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, now celebrating its 40th anniversary, continues its legacy of providing affordable performing arts to Philadelphia’s youngest audiences with its 28th annual Philadelphia International Children’s Festival. Families can enjoy performances perfect for the young (and young at heart). In addition, families can take part in a variety of fun and interactive activities such as crafts, face painting, jugglers and more in the Children’s Festival Fun Zone on the Annenberg Center Outdoor Plaza. Tickets are only $10 and include access to the Fun Zone. Families attending performances on Saturday, May 5 can save by purchasing a Children’s Festival Fun Pass and enjoy three shows, access to the Children’s Festival Fun Zone and a lunch for only $25. For more information visit

Founded in 1985 by Catherine Marshall, the Philadelphia International Children’s Festival was the first of its kind in the country, aiming to provide Philadelphia area families with an easy and affordable way to experience the artistry of international performance and visual arts. Attracting more than 15,000 children and their families each year, the eagerly anticipated springtime tradition also aims to build the arts and culture audiences of the future.

In partnership with WXPN, the Annenberg Center’s Zellerbach Theatre stage will be transformed into the WXPN Kids Corner Stage. WXPN performances include John Hadfield’s Monkeys in the House and PASTA! A Pop Ups Puppet Musical.

$5 tickets are available to West Philadelphia residents as a part of the PNC West Philly Rush Hour, starting two hours before the each performance begins and running for one hour. Proof of residency required. For more details visit

Space Panorama features British actor Andrew Dawson defying theater norms in a one-man journey from Houston to the moon and back. Armed with nothing more than a black-clothed table and music from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, Dawson explores this momentous event using only his hands, arms and upper torso to create an entrancing documentary of the entire mission. “Rocket science has never been so lyrical!” (Time Out London). Recommended for ages 7+.

John Hadfield’s Monkeys in the House: Flap your arms, tap your feet and let out your inner monkey! John Hadfield’s unique show, Monkeys in the House, combines original funny songs, whoopee cushion percussion, a robot bird, juggling, magic, plate spinning, an imaginary friend who comes to life and even an adorable screaming robot monkey head named Hilton. Whew! Often featured on WXPN’s radio show Kids Corner, Mr. Hadfield is an award-winning singer-songwriter and former circus performer who has traveled the world as a clown and juggler. Recommended for ages 4-10.

John Tartaglia’s ImaginOcean: Take a magical undersea adventure through John Tartaglia’s glow-in-the-dark musical puppet show, Imagin Ocean. Watch fish friends, Tank, Bubbles and Dorsel as they set out on a remarkable journey of discovery and friendship, jam-packed with glowing bubbles, lovable characters and showstopping music. John Tartaglia’s (Avenue Q, Broadway’s Shrek: The Musical and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast) ImaginOcean is a blast for kids of all ages from the first big splash to the last wave goodbye. Recommended for ages 2-10.

Circo Comedia: Unpredictable thrills, side-splitting comedy and daredevil stunts are the signature style of Circo Comedia, starring the fantastic duo Jean Saucier and Patrick Côté from Montréal. Featuring their distinctive flair for humor, acrobatic tricks and daring feats, these bad-boy clowns will entertain with their wacky showmanship and dazzle with their frenzied magic and eccentricity. Bolstered by 20-year backgrounds in the circus world, including previous stints with Cirque du Soleil, these deliriously comical and irreverent show-men take circus clowning to a whole new level of fun. Recommended for all ages.

PASTA! A Pop Ups Puppet Musical: Join the Pop Ups, a Brooklyn-based indie kid-rocker band, in their energetic live show that is as parent-pleasing as it is kid-centric. With cleverly crafted lyrics over catchy tunes, life-size puppets from the people behind The Muppet Show and rocking interactive dance numbers, PASTA! takes kids on a whimsical adventure through the Brooklyn borough, in search of ingredients to make the best locally-sourced tomato sauce ever. “Aside from marinara, what exactly is this band cooking up? Simply put: They’ve got the recipe for one of the most entertaining new kids’ acts in the city” (Time Out New York Kids). Featuring hits from the band’s Outside Voices album—a record called “the kids music debut of the year,” by NPR—PASTA! will catapult kids out of their seats in a delighted frenzy. Recommended for ages 2+.

Tomorrow’s Music Stars…Today!: Meet the musicians and the instruments; join students from the Curtis Institute of Music, the country’s premiere institution for training gifted, young musicians, and get an up close and personal glimpse into the thrilling world of classical music! The program features Curtis’ emerging stars demonstrating and interacting with the audience’s youngest members in an intimate and exploratory setting. Learn how each instrument makes its signature sound, how the musicians approach their technique and how all of the musicians work together to create remarkable music. Recommended for ages 5-12.

Children’s Festival Fun Zone: Free for all ticket holders, the Children’s Festival Fun Zone located on the Annenberg Center’s Outdoor Plaza features a host of engaging and hands-on activities for the whole family including crafts, face painting, jugglers, musicians and more. The Phillie Phanatic makes a special appearance on Saturday, May 5 at noon, just in time to celebrate the opening of baseball season. The Fun Zone will open daily at 10 a.m. Outdoor performance highlights include: Brian Sanders & JUNK (physical theatre), Joe Tayoun & Friends (Middle Eastern drummers), the Give & Take Jugglers, the Cat’s Pajamas (rockin’ music), and Wondergy and The Plants (imaginative and eclectic band).

The University of Pennsylvania Almanac