It’s not easy being a kid, or a Pigeon!
Mo Willems said in a Nov. 13th interview, “probably the most fundamental insight is that even a good childhood is difficult: You’re powerless; the furniture is not made to your size”, and this is an idea that permeates all of his books. The conflicts in his stories are big topics with simple setups: A Pigeon who wants to drive a bus, a toddler who can’t speak yet, but left her bunny at the laundromat (Knuffle Bunny).
As silly as it sounds, it was a controversial decision to not let the Pigeon drive in the original drafts for Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus. In 2003, when the book was published, editors weren’t sure if the Pigeon’s plight would resonate with younger audiences or frustrate them. The results speak for themselves: Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus! is one of the most popular children’s books to this day.
Mo Willems has often said that his books are meant to be “played” not read, and this is true for his stage adaptations as well. DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! THE MUSICAL! has a slightly different story than the picture book audiences have come to love. The Pigeon is still very much himself, but the conflict is broadened a bit. The plucky bird still does not drive the bus, but this time, the show asks why? Because he can’t reach the pedals? Because he doesn’t have the training? Because the bus absolutely must reach each stop on time?
The conflict is bigger. It isn’t about simply wanting to do the impossible on impulse, but something larger: wanting to have a thing. Everyone’s got one. The Bus Driver drives buses, the Teenager loves movies, the Little Old Lady likes to throw birdseed around. Everyone has a “thing” that makes them unique, and the Pigeon is feeling insecure because he doesn’t know what his “thing” is yet.
It’s a big conflict, truly worthy of a Mo Willem’s story, and it’s told with the same simple, connective, honesty that fills all of his work.
Will the Pigeon find his “thing”? Do the Pigeon’s yearnings sound like someone you know in your own household? Come see DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! THE MUSICAL! and find out…
Written by DCT Staff Member, Joanna Coogan
Don’t miss your chance to see the show, we’re selling fast!
Published by Hyperion Books for Children
Script by Mo Willems & Mr. Warburton
Lyrics by Mo Willems
Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma
Dramaturgy by Megan Alrutz
Directed by Nancy Schaeffer
Now thru February 19
Recommended for ages 3 and up