TYKEs season takes flight with ‘Pigeon’ musical


TYKEs (Theatre Young Kids Enjoy) will launch its 17th season with “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Nov. 6-7 and 13-14 at the JCC Hart Theater, 1200 Edgewood Ave., Brighton.

The musical is based on the “Pigeon” books written and illustrated by Mo Willems. It follows an overzealous pigeon who pleads for permission to drive a city bus. That story was Willems’ first children’s book and earned the first of his three Caldecott Honors. 

Willems wrote the script for this production with longtime collaborator Tom Warburton, executive producer of Disney Junior’s “Muppet Babies,” featuring music by Deborah Wicks La Puma. The show is directed by Matt Mayne with a score by music director Jim Schmitt.  

The production showcases a cast of six local adult professional actors accompanied by puppets. TYKEs founder Freyda Schneider contacted Rochester native Rick Lyon, who designed and created the puppets for “Avenue Q” on Broadway, and he agreed to make puppets for the show.

“We pulled out all the stops for TYKEs’ joyous return to live theater after the long COVID break,” Schneider said. “Our show brings alive perhaps the hottest title in children’s books today, combined with ‘Avenue Q’-level puppets made by the original legendary puppet artist, plus a dazzlingly catchy score.”

Local actor Chris Martin plays the Bus Driver in the TYKEs production of “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!”

The musical is recommended for ages 3 and older. Proof of vaccine or proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours will be required for attendees ages 12 and older. Tickets are $20, $18 for JCC members, and can be purchased at tykestheatre.org.

The season will continue with “Something Magical: Disney in Concert” on Dec. 4-19; “The Sharing Stone” on Jan. 8-16, 2022; “Red Riding Hood” on Jan. 24-29, 2022; and “Last Stop on Market Street” on April 2-10, 2022.