“Greatest hits” shows begin September 22 with “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show”

BETHESDA, MD (August 22, 2023). Imagination Stage™, the metro DC region’s largest professional theatre for young audiences and leader in positive youth development through the arts, starts its ‘Greatest Hits' series with the return of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, running September 22-October 22. Reviewers are invited to Opening Night on Saturday, October 1 at 4:00 or to any performance thereafter.

Beloved by children for generations, Eric Carle’s children’s books come off the page and onto the stage in this unforgettable theatrical experience, created by Jonathan Rockefeller and directed by Imagination Stage’s Associate Artistic Director, Kathryn Chase Bryer. The global sensation The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show has been performed over 2,000 times worldwide including sold out shows in Australia, New York, the United Kingdom, Dubai, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands. It returns to Imagination Stage after a sold-out run in 2019. With seventy-five larger-than-life puppets and original music, this Drama Desk and Off-Broadway Alliance Award nominated production follows all your favorite characters  from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, The Very Busy Spider, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, and – of course – The Very Hungry Caterpillar. See a video promo here

From a lumbering brown bear, to a curious caterpillar, to a fleet of rubber ducks, and countless other critters, Carle’s beautiful illustrations come to life through puppetry and theatre magic. "I am so thrilled to bring The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show back to the Imagination Stage audience," says Kathryn Chase Bryer. "I have loved this story for many years, having read it to my own children (who are now adults!) and brought it to life in countless drama classrooms over the years. The artistry of this production is thrilling, from the masterful puppet design to the sophistication of the music composition. I am looking forward to hearing audiences young and old chime in with our professional actors as they say 'and he was still hungry!'"  

For the first time, Imagination Stage will present four Spanish-language performances of the show, called La Oruga Muy Hambrienta Espectáculo. Managing Director Jason Najjoum sees this as an opportunity to deliver on Imagination Stage’s mission of empowering all young people to discover their voice and identity through performance arts education and professional theatre. “We are thrilled to give children and families whose primary language is Spanish a chance to experience a show at Imagination Stage. And we hope they will come back for next spring’s bilingual production of Cinderella: a Salsa Fairy Tale as well as some of our bilingual class offerings.” To read this press release in Spanish, go here and press the translate button.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, based on the beloved books by Eric Carle, is best for ages 3-8 and runs from September 22 to October 22, 2023 in Imagination Stage’s Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Theatre. Shows for the general public are Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00 and 1:00. Tickets are $12 and up and may be purchased online at imaginationstage.org, in person at Imagination Stage’s box office, or via phone at 301-280-1660. Group rates are available for parties of 10+. 

The ‘Greatest Hits’ series celebrates the twentieth anniversary of Imagination Stage’s beautiful building in downtown Bethesda. The series will continue with A Year with Frog and Toad in November, Cinderella: A Salsa Fairy Tale in February, and Miss Nelson is Missing! in summer 2024. 

The cast is composed of talented puppeteers, including Jordan Essex, Irene Hamilton, and Andrés Roa; the Lighting Designer is Jason Arnold and the Sound Designer is Robert Pike. Samantha Leahan will serve as Stage Manager. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show will be showcased at Imagination Stage’s inaugural Arts for All Festival on October 21 from 10:00-1:00. The festival is a FREE, fun, hands-on celebration of performing and visual arts, especially for children, and will be held both inside and outside at Imagination Stage. Look for a separate release about this exciting event.

Special Performances

Meet the Actors (a chance to say hello and pose for pictures with members of the cast following the performance)
–Saturday, October 7 at 1:00
–Sunday, October 8 at 10:00
–Sunday, October 15 at 1:00 
–Sunday, October 22 at 10:00

Spanish Language Performances
–September 30 at 10:00
–October 7 at 10:00
–October 14 at 10:00
–October 22 at 10:00

Access & Inclusion is a core value and program of Imagination Stage. In our professional theatre, that takes the form of having ASL-interpreted and Sensory-Friendly performances of every show. For The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, those performances are:

ASL-Interpreted performance:   October 7 at 1:00
Sensory-Friendly performance:   October 8 at 10:00


Imagination Stage, the DMV’s leader in youth development through the arts, is driven to build a generation of compassionate, collaborative young people who are capable of changing the world. Starting as an arts academy in Bethesda in the late 1970s, it has responded to the evolving “needs of now” over the last 43 years by expanding its reach throughout Montgomery County and  Washington, DC. Since the pandemic, we see more than ever how the arts play an essential role in positive youth development. Children from every socio-economic group need experiences that teach empathy, demonstrate resilience, and inspire hope. Theatre does just that. Beyond the classes, camps, and shows at our Bethesda location, Imagination Stage brings programming to locations throughout Montgomery County and DC through partnerships with Montgomery County Public Schools, DC Public Schools and others. One example is our Theatre for Change programs. They serve teenagers, using theatre productions and educational workshops to bridge cultural divides, lift up underrepresented voices, and explore complex social justice issues.



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