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Bear prepares for Broadway-quality tour

Courtesy of The Jim Henson Company
July 12, 2000

The lovable Bear that's one of the biggest stars in children's television is taking his big blue house on the road! A singing, dancing, Broadway-quality stage tour for children is bringing the star of Jim Henson's "Bear in the Big Blue House" to 40 cities across the nation. BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE LIVE'S "Surprise Party" premieres September 13 at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. The tour builds on a 20-year relationship between VEE Corporation and The Jim Henson Company. The stage musical is being produced by VEE, which also produces SESAME STREET LIVE starring Jim Henson's Sesame Street Muppets.


Based on the hit television series that airs seven days a week on Disney Channel, the production features a gentle seven-foot Bear who dances a mean cha-cha-cha. He's planning a surprise birthday party for his friend Tutter, the little blue mouse with a big heart. The guest list includes Ojo, the lovable little girl bear; Pip and Pop, two rambunctious purple otters; and Treelo, an affectionate green and blue lemur - all brought to life by professional puppeteers. The two-act production is 90 minutes in length and features four human friends as well as cameo appearances by Shadow the storyteller, Luna the moon, and Ray the sun.


Children will recognize many of the 16 songs in BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE LIVE'S "Surprise Party" including: "Welcome to the Blue House," "What's in the Mail Today?" and "Bear Cha-Cha-Cha." More than just a stage show, BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE LIVE bursts through the theatrical "fourth wall" with a state-of-the-art audience participation component. Roving performers with live cameras will capture comments from children in the audience, instantaneously beaming their responses to on-stage video screen.


The TV series "Bear in the Big Blue House" is based on the concept that a house defines relationships for young children. Its mission is to foster learning through imaginative play, music and art. Mitchell Kriegman, the creator and executive producer for the television series, wrote the script for BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE LIVE. Like the television series, the stage production includes timeless lessons on friendship, families and cooperation. Kriegman's credits also include the award winning hit on Nickelodeon "Clarissa Explains It All," the animated series "Rugrats," "Ren and Stimpy," "Doug," and "Saturday Night Live."


After three seasons, "Bear in the Big Blue House" is one of the top-rated programs on "Playhouse Disney," Disney Channel's daily preschool programming block which can be seen in 62 million homes. The series recently garnered two Emmy Awards including one for Best Creative Direction. In January 1999, VEE Corporation produced a 10-city promotional tour for Disney Channel, "On the Road With Bear in the Big Blue House." The tour drew more than 150,000 people to the shows, which played at malls across the nation.


VEE Corporation's creative team originated the stage concept for BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE LIVE. VEE Production Services is designing and building sets and overseeing the creative development. VEE's Costumes and Creatures® division is working with The Jim Henson Company to construct Bear's full-body costume. WORLD-RENOWNED STAGE TOURS VEE has an exclusive, long-term agreement with The Jim Henson Company and Sesame Workshop (formerly Children's Television Workshop) to produce the world-renowned stage tours of SESAME STREET LIVE. Headquartered in Minneapolis, VEE Corporation also produces live theatrical productions and interactive exhibits for entertainment, sports and corporate events. BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE LIVE underscores VEE's commitment to provide quality entertainment for families around the world.

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