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TOY’s ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ is an exuberant holiday musical for everyone!

What’s more fun and adorable than tap-dancing penguins? Certain to dazzle young and old alike, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”—a highly entertaining and uplifting show that’s perfect for the holidays—will hit the stage at Theatre of Youth, Dec. 7-22.

“It’s really a sweet, delightful story filled with universal themes reflective of holiday spirit and sentiment,” said Meg Quinn, artistic director for Theatre of Youth. “It’s a great moment to just relax and remember what’s important, like being selfless and putting others first.”

Based on the classic novel by Richard and Florence Atwater, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” tells the story of a painter with little money and big dreams of becoming an Arctic explorer. When the gift of a real, live penguin shows up at his doorstep—soon joined by a mate and 10 children—the Popper family sacrifices everything they have in order to take care of their feathered friends. When Christmas comes around and they can’t afford to pay their bills, Mr. Popper comes up with the idea to turn the talented penguins into a traveling vaudeville act.

Great technical production brings the penguins to life, as large puppets affixed to tap dancers give the appearance of dancing penguins who perform to live music. And Set Designer Ken Shaw cleverly overcomes the challenges of multiple set locations (including a giant refrigerator) and the morphing of two houses by employing a number of scenery drops and trucks.

“Kids will see a lot of things that they never expected unfold right before their eyes,” said Quinn.

As Western New York’s only professional theater of adult actors dedicated to performing for young audiences, Theatre of Youth tells stories that comfort and empower young people as they grow and learn about themselves.

“Like them, Mr. Popper is curious about the world, asks questions and has a childlike sense of wonder and adventure,” Quinn adds.

A little more than an hour long, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” (recommended for ages 5+) is based on the classic novel by Richard and Florence Atwater, with adaptation by Robert Kauzlaric and music and lyrics by George Howe. The Talk-Back session after the show will begin with demonstrations and behind-the-scenes surprises followed by audience questions and the chance to join the cast onstage for photos.

Tickets, starting at $15, are available online or by calling 716-884-4400, ext. 304. Performances are Saturdays and Sunday afternoons (specific show times listed online) at Theatre of Youth, 203 Allen St., Buffalo.