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The tour brings characters from four popular Nick shows -- "Dora the Explorer," "The Wonder Pets!," "The Backyardigans" and "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan" -- to the stage.
The tour brings characters from four popular Nick shows -- "Dora the Explorer," "The Wonder Pets!," "The Backyardigans" and "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan" -- to the stage. (Photo: Carol Rosegg)

Storytime Live! brings favorite Nickelodeon characters to the Milwaukee stage

If you missed Friday's performances of Nickelodeon's Storytime Live! at the Milwaukee Theatre, don't worry, you get three more chances on Saturday. There are shows at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The 70-city tour brings characters from four popular Nick shows -- "Dora the Explorer," "The Wonder Pets!," "The Backyardigans" and "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan" -- to the stage in a series of four vignettes emceed by Nick Jr.'s Moose A. Moose and Zee.

At Friday's debut performance, the house wasn't packed, but the assembled kids cheered and participated as the Chinese-speaking Kai-Lan urged kids not to be afraid to try new things. Kai-lan, like Dora later in the show, was portrayed by an actress. Their friends were clad in plush animal costumes that allowed the crowd to see only the actor's faces.

Meanwhile, all the Backyardigans were in costumes as they tried to help lure Robin Hood the Clean back to town to help them clean up Filthingham. The lesson? Bath time is fun.

After an intermission, the top shows were on tap and The Wonder Pets kicked off the second act with a story about a tea party gone awry. For this part of the show, the characters were portrayed by nearly life-size puppets worked by actors from behind. The approach was an interesting one and although my young companion noted the difference it didn't seem to affect anyone's enjoyment. In fact, it was the most interesting staging of the four vignettes.

Finally, as expected, Dora got the biggest applause and her arrival was perfectly timed. A few kids nearby started to go into meltdown -- the show lasts 90 minutes -- but were brought back down to Earth by the arrival of Dora and her smattering of Spanish phrases.

When Dora's monkey pal Boots falls under an evil witch's sleep spell, Dora has to complete a series of seemingly impossible tasks to wake him up. But, despite the odds, she tries hard. You won't be surprised to know that she gets the job done, but don't tell your kids, of course.

A rousing finale based around The Isley Brothers' party classic, "Shout!," featuring the casts of all the vignettes closes out the show in rollicking fashion. On the way out, my little one was enthusiastic after having spent the entire show in rapt attention.

Tickets for the performances on Saturday are still available and can be purchased at the Milwaukee Theatre box office or via Ticketmaster.

 

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