World Premiere of “Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!”

by Lexa Pennington / Aug 19, 2009 /
Lexa Pennington's picture

Buckle Up, My Buddy Bert!

Reed Sigmund and Bradley Greenwald, the comic duo from “A Year With Frog & Toad”  bring Sesame Street and the hilarious adventures of “Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!”  to life at Children’s Theatre Company

(MINNEAPOLIS) – It’s Bert and Ernie as you’ve never seen them before. Inspired by Sesame Street’s iconic characters, the World Premiere of “Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!” will feature the fan-favorite duo of Reed Sigmund and Bradley Greenwald – the stars of Children’s Theatre Company’s (CTC) “A Year With Frog & Toad” – in a hilarious musical comedy that for the first-time ever introduces Bert and Ernie as real-life figures.

 

Bert and Ernie, Good Night! CTC


Bradley Greenwald & Reed Sigmund in the World Premiere of "Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!" at Minneapolis' Children's Theatre Company.  Photo by Ann Marsden.

 

“CTC’s reputation for bringing exciting new theatre to life for children is recognized across the country,” says Peter van Roden, vice president of Themed Entertainment for Sesame Workshop. “‘Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!’ will be a fresh, vibrant production – we’re anticipating a laugh-a-minute, song-filled show that is exciting and new, yet retains the essence of this classic friendship,” says van Roden.

With tap-dancing sheep, sing-a-long pigeons, inventive puppetry and Ernie’s wild imagination, it’s bedlam in one of CTC’s most widely anticipated musical productions in years.  Poor Bert wants to sleep, but Ernie’s outlandish antics unleash adventures of song, surprises, disasters and joy in a story of an unlikely, yet true, friendship.

“Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!” is presented by special arrangement with Sesame Workshop and VEE Corporation.  Sesame’s partnership with CTC began when “A Year With Frog & Toad” ran on Broadway. Peter van Roden, vice president of Themed Entertainment for Sesame Workshop, approached CTC about the prospect of introducing the Sesame characters to a new theatrical venue. This production comes to life just as Sesame Street is celebrating its 40th anniversary providing educational entertainment to young audiences.

“Ernie is a bit of a trickster. He is imaginative and enthusiastic, while Bert, who is orderly and disciplined, simply wants to sleep. Their personalities differ, but at the core, this is a friendship with amazing heart and tenderness,”
says Peter C. Brosius, artistic director at CTC.  Beloved by CTC audiences, Sigmund and Greenwald are perfectly cast. “With their extraordinary musical talents, humor and respect for one another, I’ve always envisioned Reed and Bradley as Ernie and Bert,” says Brosius.

Sigmund, a long-time CTC company member, is known for his comedic roles in many CTC audience favorites, including “Honk! The Ugly Duckling,” “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and “Seussical.”  Greenwald, best known at CTC for his roles as Frog and the Grinch in “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” is an Ivey Award-winning actor who has appeared on stage at the Guthrie Theater, Jungle Theater, Theatre de la Jeune Lune and Minnesota Opera.

“Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!”
is directed by Peter C. Brosius, whose philosophy for creating extraordinary theatre for children begins with providing noteworthy and memorable work that appeals across generations.  With songs from the original Sesame Street productions and Sigmund and Greenwald’s entertaining physical comedy, “Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!” is intended as much for older children and adults as it is for the preschool group who naturally gravitate toward Sesame Street. 

Adapted by one of the country’s leading playwrights for young audiences, “Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!” is written by Barry Kornhauser, who collaborated with CTC on “Madeline and the Gypsies” and in 2006, received an Ivey Award for his work as playwright on CTC’s “Reeling.”  Kornhauser is a playwright-in-residence at Fulton Opera House, in Lancaster, Pa., where he also directs the theatre’s Youtheatre program, which supports at-risk and disabled teens.  In January, Kornhauser and the Youtheatre program were recognized with a “Coming Up Taller” award provided by the White House. 

Capturing the imagination and intrigue of CTC’s audience, the scenery, costumes and vibrant puppets  stem from the imagination of G.W. “Skip” Mercier, whose work includes scenic design for Disney’s “Finding Nemo – The Musical” located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, in Orlando.  Mercier is well recognized for his critically acclaimed design for “The Ballad of Emmett Till” at the Goodman Theatre, in Chicago, and for “Juan Darien: A Carnival Mass,” which led to both Tony and Drama Desk nominations. Puppet consultation is provided by Eric J. Van Wyk, who created the striking puppetry for “The Neverending Story” at the Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Md.

Choreography is by Joe Chvala, founder and artistic director for the acclaimed dance company Flying Foot Forum. Chvala has directed, choreographed and been commissioned to create new works for the Guthrie Theater, Walker Art Center, Minnesota Opera and Zenon Dance Company and is a recipient of the Ivey and Sage Awards.


Ticket prices for “Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!” are $26-40 for adults and $16-25 for children. Single tickets go on sale beginning Aug. 3; subscriptions are currently available. For more information, please visit childrenstheatre.org or call the box office at 612.874.0400. 

CTC’s 2009-1010 season also includes: nationally recognized “The Mayhem Poets,” a panto-style “Cinderella,” “Mr. McGee & the Biting Flea,” “According to Coyote,” “Iron Ring,” Disney’s “Mulan, Jr.” and “The Biggest Little House in the Forest.” 

Children’s Theatre Company (CTC)
is the first theatre for young people to win the coveted Tony® Award for Outstanding Regional Theater (2003). Founded in 1965, CTC serves more than 300,000 people annually and is one of the 20 largest theater companies in the nation. The company is noted for defining worldwide standards for youth theatre with an innovative mix of classic tales, celebrated international productions and challenging new work.