March of the 'Penguins': New performance added to meet demand for ALT Academy's latest
By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
The popularity of penguins can't be denied.
Demand is so high for Amarillo Little Theatre Academy's production of Mr. Popper's Penguins that all four planned performances — 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday — have already sold out.
Penguins will be staged in the ALT Adventure Space, 2751 Civic Circle, and the theater has just added a 6:30 p.m. Sunday performance to try to keep up.
The play with music is based on the 1938 book by Richard and Florence Atwater about a man who unexpectedly gets a male penguin, then a female, delivered to him; it was adapted into a 2011 movie starring Jim Carrey.
Mr. Popper (Charlie Turner) is a wannabe adventurer, whose wife (Emma Lewis) has to cut corners to feed their family — and that's before the birds arrive, much less before the original duo's hatchlings begin to multiply.
"I love the essence of the family," director Jason Crespin said. "They rally together and go with this crazy idea that the father has of raising these penguins ... and figure out a way to make things work."
The cast features 31 children ages 6 to 18 — whose ticket-buying parents are one reason the show sold out so quickly. The small performance space is likely another. But Crespin said the play itself is a draw, too.
"I never read the book as a kid ... (and) when I was reading the script, I loved the story, but I didn't know if people would know it," Crespin said. "But after we announced it, I had so many people tell me they loved the book."
Tickets are $12 for ages 12 and older or $10 for ages 11 and younger.
A limited number of tickets may be available at the sold-out performances if purchasers release their seats or don't show up. Crespin said that anyone willing to risk not getting a seat can come 45 minutes before each performance to be placed on a standby list.