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Bear and friends pay visit onstage

Discussion in 'Family Worlds' started by Phillip, Nov 26, 2002.

  1. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Bear and friends pay visit onstage
    Courtesy of The Post Standard

    Joe Kovacs has spent a large part of the last five years of his life dressed as a 7-foot orange bear.

    He's not even close to being ready to give up his role.

    Kovacs, and his bear, star in "Bear in the Big Blue House Live! Surprise Party!," which opens a five-show run Friday night at the Crouse-Hinds Concert Theater in the John H. Mulroy Civic Center.

    "The bear is a very endearing character," Kovacs says by phone during a break from shows. "He's very gentle, and kids love him because of his loving, gentle nature.

    "He's very non-confrontational and so warm. Kids are attracted to that."

    The 90-minute show tells the story of a surprise birthday party for Tutter the mouse, one of the show's lead characters.

    As the tale opens, Tutter is sad because no one has said a thing about his birthday. He believes that everyone has forgotten his special day.

    "He's OK with it," Kovacs says of Tutter's burden of the forgotten birthday. "He deals with it."

    But there's more to this scenario than first appears. Bear has been plotting a surprise party for Tutter and assigned his friends Ojo the bear, Pip and Pop the purple otters and Treelo, a friendly green and blue lemur, to arrange a special birthday for Tutter.

    In the end, everyone is happy, especially Tutter, according to Kovacs.

    The show is based on the television series produced by Jim Henson Television. Henson (1936-1990) built an entertainment empire with a simple approach. He had a knack of speaking to children without talking down to them. His Muppets included such familiar names as Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.

    Bear in the Big Blue House follows Henson's trademark approach. The show features "charming, safe-haven sets, terrific music that's both sophisticated and child-friendly, informed writing and realistic reflections on children's emotions," according to Lynne Heffly of the Los Angeles Times.

    Kovacs, for one, looks forward to his visit to Syracuse.

    "The energy that comes from the kids and their parents is amazing," he says. "I wouldn't want to be doing anything else."


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