Little bird, big dreams

In the musical stage adaptation of Mo Willems’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (book by Willems and Mr. Warburton, music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, and lyrics by Willems), a down-on-his-luck pigeon (Brade Bradshaw) is fed up with never getting to do anything fun. He’s an underdog who wants nothing more than to feel heard. When he meets the passionate local Bus Driver (Karla Serrato), he decides that his purpose is to drive the bus.

From there, Pigeon’s neighbors try to convince him, primarily through song and dance, that there’s no way he can drive the bus. It’s a fun, simple story with a lot of heart and plenty of pertinent life lessons for young people.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Through 2/26: Sat 10 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM, Sun 1 PM; also Fri 2/20 7 PM; Sat 2/11 10 AM and 1 PM only; Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-404-7336,, $25 ($19 under 12). NOTE: all performances currently sold out. Contact box office for information on cancellations and wait lists.

Among the standout features in this Young People’s Theatre of Chicago production (directed by Randy White) is Jackie Penrod’s set design, which depicts a colorful abstraction of Chicago, allowing the audience to imagine Pigeon and his friends in their backyard. 

The young audience was enthralled with Pigeon’s journey at the show’s opening performance. They cheered him on, felt his pain, and swayed to the show’s bright songs (sung live to recorded music). While there is no question that the show is for younger children, adults can undoubtedly appreciate the pure joy of Pigeon’s world and the central message that there’s plenty of time to find your place and learn to fly.

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