Parentally speaking, what gives The Berenstain Bears LIVE! oomph is the way it seamlessly — and hilariously — deals with everyday family foibles: In short, what the books, TV series and specials, video games, and DVDs have stressed all along. And, in the ultra-plus column, the musical's generous doses of bearish tomfoolery and theatrical razzmatazz are gently counterbalanced with important childhood issues.
The consequences of eating too much junk food, for example, are presented in a colorful show-stopping number "Fluff on Your Tummy," that sends every kid in the audience into hysterics when pudgy Papa splits his overalls. A cautionary bedtime story about a silly goose and wily fox brings home the perils of talking to strangers in a in a kid-friendly way. And Brother, in the throes of a test he didn't study for, sings: "I was a real math wiz / I'm sayin' Phooey! Phooey! Phooey! / on this awful quiz! / Phooey! / On this awful quiz!" — and then proceeds to try hiding his grim test score from his parents, only to suffer the guilt-ridden results.
Not to worry, though: All ends happily, with the kids in the audience up on their seats singing and dancing to "Fluff on Your Tummy." All in all, not a bad way to share a summer Saturday or Sunday with the family — just you and your bears!
Inside Info for Discerning Young Fans
- The Berenstain Bears LIVE! arrives in Manhattan following a highly successful 35-city tour.
- After the show, kids can stand on a tree stump to have their nose painted black for a beary-cute photo op.
- For a cub-sized preview of the scenes from the show visit the official Berenestain Bears website, www.berenstainbears.com. And while you're on the site check out all the fun extras: mouse cursors and a screensaver to download; tons of interactive activities (dress up the bears, mystery messages, puzzles and mazes, create-your-own coloring book, and lots more); videos at The Bear Country Barn Theater; and merchandise galore.
- The Berenstain Bears were created by Stan and Jan Berenstain in 1962, beginning with The Big Honey Hunt in 1962 under Dr. Seuss's editorship; in 1974 they started their own line of books. Currently, more than 140 titles are in print; roughly 260 million copies have been sold.
- In the late 1980s, the Berenstain's younger son, Mike, joined his parents' creative team, and while Stan passed away in 2005, both Jan and Mike continue to write and illustrate Berenstain Bears in Bucks County, Pennsylvania — an area much like Bear Country.
Both parents and kids love this show!