Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live stops in Midwest City on Oct. 6 

click to enlarge JOHN E KASKO
  • John E Kasko

Every generation needs a guru, or simply someone to teach them how to tie shoelaces. From the late 1960s to the early 2000s, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood gently guided America’s youth through life’s early challenges and mysteries on television, speaking to young viewers like intelligent individuals.

Now kids experience the evolution of the late Fred Rogers’ concept with animated Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on the small screen and in a stage show. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live is 6:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at Hudiburg Chevrolet Center, 6000 S. Trosper Road in Midwest City.

“Now more than ever, it’s important for kids to experience education through theater,” said director and choreographer Jenn Rapp. “This show is a great opportunity for kids to engage with their favorite characters in a more direct way.”

The TV show is a spin-off of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and follows much of its original format.

“The cartoon is aimed at kids ages 2 to 6 and takes the finger puppets from Mister Rogers to create a new show,” Rapp said. “Every day, Daniel Tiger gets dressed, ties his shoes and invites kids into the town. It’s a nostalgic experience for those of us who grew up with Mr. Rogers.”

Daniel Striped Tiger was a character in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe on the original program. His son, also named Daniel, is the main character of the new animated show. Naturally, kids would want to experience Daniel Tiger’s world in real life, Rapp said.

“This is like the second generation Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, and onstage it’s even more exciting,” Rapp said. “Daniel speaks directly to his audience, the stage set is colorful and vibrant and by the end of the show, all the kids are usually up and dancing.”

Daniel Tiger’s transition from TV to stage significantly expands children’s education to a social setting and helps break the monotony of children staring at screens.

“I’ve worked on children’s productions for about 15 years, and kids respond well to their favorite cartoons being transferred to live shows,” Rapp said. “Live shows like this give kids the chance to socialize with one another because of their interactive nature.”

The live show incorporates music, brief segments and direct audience addresses. At the core of the show are themes and lessons preparing kids to be their best selves.

“The show is really about helping preschoolers know that what they’re going through is normal,” she said. “For most kids this age, this is an important time to show them how to relate to others, and Daniel Tiger gives them the tools to understand their emotions.”

Echoing Mister Rogers’ communal ethos, Daniel Tiger reinforces the importance of human interaction, prioritizing friendship and communication as building blocks for future generations.

“I think for parents, the most enjoyable part of the show is watching their children stay mesmerized and active,” she said.

Print headline: Tiger beat, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live brings the PBS favorite from small screen to big theater.

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