A Trip To The Hundred Acre Wood With Kirsty Moon
Musical theatre is one of my biggest loves, but a close second you may not know about, is the love I have for a 'silly old bear' named Pooh.
When I heard that Winnie the Pooh was going to make his stage debut off-Broadway, I knew it was going to be incredible! While I can't make the production (due to COVID travel restrictions), I had the opportunity to chat with Kirsty Moon, who is playing Piglet!
Read on to join the conversation as Kirsty shares her love of Winnie the Pooh, her time with Piglet and Roo, and the joy that these beloved characters can bring.
Was Winnie The Pooh a part of your life growing up?
It was! My grandma gave each of my siblings and I Winnie the Pooh bears when we were born so I remember it as my first toy.
My family loved watching The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and we collected all the stuffed animals of the characters. My father used to sing us The Tigger Song and he would bounce us on his lap. At the end of the song he would sort of throw us up in the air and catch us like we had just made the biggest bounce of our lives! I can’t tell you the amount of times we said, “Again! Again!” after he finished the song. He would sometimes do this 3-5 times in a row - A real life Tigger if there ever was one.
What was the process of getting involved with this production like?
I had worked on other Rockefeller Productions so they brought me in for the readings. I was thrilled because I love this Pooh so much and identify a lot with Piglet (he is my favorite character). I felt insanely honored to read for him and was thrilled when they asked me to come back and help with workshops and presentations for Disney. I cried the first time I saw the puppets!
In the workshops, we got to explore and figure out how these puppets best moved and lived. How does Piglet climb a tree? Ride a sled? Help put a scarf on a snowman? It was so fun to explore and play! Every time we added new elements like props, set pieces and music we were able to figure out how this world works and make the puppets truly come to life.
I originally was puppeteering Piglet and Kanga but later in the workshops it switched to being Piglet and Roo due to those puppets being more similar in size. When I was cast after auditioning it didn't hit me until the next day. I went and reread the books and couldn't wait for the first rehearsal.
For people unfamiliar with the art form, what are some of the biggest challenges of puppeteering?
There are a lot of different forms of puppeteering but I don’t think people always realize how physical every form of puppeteering is! (Which if people don’t realize, I suppose that’s a good thing that we as the puppeteers are making it look easy.)
Piglet and Roo have an extra added difficulty because of their height. I have to perform them mostly on my knees! I think there is also a difficulty of these characters being so recognizable and loved- all of us want to do them justice. I rewatched all the movies several times and read the books to really get a deep understanding of both Piglet and Roo. We want to make sure that even though these are our interpretations of the characters, that they are faithful to the source material and feel like they are the same characters everyone grew up loving.
Do you have a favourite part of playing Piglet and Roo?
I have many! As Piglet, I really cherish and adore every moment with Pooh. Jake Bazel is the perfect Pooh. We’ve actually been Pooh and Piglet from the first reading together as well as worked on many other projects so my friendship and admiration for him comes from a very real place. Since I’ve loved Winnie the Pooh from childhood, hearing him as Pooh call my name (well, Piglet’s name) feels so comforting and I get excited for every adventure we have together. If I had to pick my favorite scene, it’s when Pooh catches the snowflakes and lets Piglet make a wish. It’s truly magical.
And as for Roo, I love playing with Tigger!!! Chris Palmieri has become Tigger! His energy is so infectious! I think The Tigger Movie was very informative for both of us and we have such a fun time portraying that bond between Tigger and Roo. I also can’t help but think how much hearing him sing all of Tigger’s songs brings me back to my dad playing with me and my siblings as kids. My absolute favorite moment is actually when Tigger and Roo stretch together! It kind of happened in the background of a scene but it is so fun to do!
Winnie The Pooh has characters and stories loved by all ages, what is it like getting to share something so special?
I don’t know if I have the adequate words to express how special it is to share this! So many of us grew up with these characters and so many of us turn to these characters when we are feeling down because we know they are always there to make us laugh and smile. These characters are our friends. The Hundred Acre Wood is such a warm, charming and comfortable place for everyone to go to.
I mentioned my favorite part of Piglet is making the wish on the snowflake with Pooh. During the workshops, I would wish that I would be eventually cast as Piglet when it opened. During the rehearsals I would wish that we as a cast would grow together and form tight-knit friendships. Now that we’re performing it in front of audiences, I wish that this show would be a gift of joy for every audience member to cherish.
Why should people come and see The Winnie The Pooh Show?
If you are a fan of Winnie the Pooh, I don’t think you can miss this!
This whole cast and crew has had so much integrity working on this production! I haven’t gotten to mention Emmanuel Elpenord (Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit), Kristina Dizon (Kanga/Owl as well as my Piglet/Roo swing) and Sebastino Ricci (male swing), but I cannot sing their praises enough! We also have three different child actors rotating the role of Christopher Robin who I am constantly impressed by. Our crew flawlessly makes sure that every performance runs smoothly and we’re so grateful for them. Every aspect of this show is so beautiful—the puppets, the set, the costumes, the lighting, all so well thought out and expertly executed!
I think especially after the shutdown from the pandemic, this is the perfect piece of theatre to come see that will warm your heart, cheer your soul, leave you with a smile on your face and a spring in your step. For those prone to nostalgia, you might want to bring a Kleenex/tissue--our audience have been known to shed a tear or two from pure joy.
I am so grateful to Kirsty for joining me to talk about her journey with this production, and I hope you all enjoyed reading along.
I encourage everyone who can to go and see this beautiful production at Theatre Row!
Winnie the Pooh has always brought joy to people of all ages, and what a wonderful and comforting way to return to the audience in 2021.
Here is some more information about this brand new stage adaptation of Winnie the Pooh!
Disney's iconic Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and their best friends Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, and Owl (oh… and don't forget Tigger too!) in a beautifully crafted musical stage adaptation.
Featuring the Sherman Brother's classic Grammy-award winning music with further songs by A.A. Milne, this beautiful fresh stage adaptation is told with stunning life-sized puppetry through the eyes of the characters we all know and love, in a new story from the Hundred Acre Wood.
This production is created by renowned family entertainment creator Jonathan Rockefeller, and made by Rockefeller Productions alongside Disney Theatrical Productions.
To find out more and to purchase tickets, you can click the link below: