The Savannah Children’s Theater brings the vibrant, hip world of “Pete the Cat” to life at the Savannah Theatre. The children’s book and television character comes to life in this musical with 60s musical influences.
“‘Pete the Cat’ is a book series based on a groovy cat who takes life as it comes and no matter what troubles come his way, he’s fine. We thought he was such a wonderful character and a wonderful message to remind children and adults alike,” said Jenn Doubleday, Associate Director of Savannah Children’s Theatre.
“Pete the Cat” has a local connection. In 1999, James Dean, a self-taught artist, adopted a kitten from a Georgia animal shelter. It was a skinny black kitten named James “Pete”.
One day Dean started illustrating and creating paintings of Pete and changed the color from black to blue to avoid regrowth (because some think black cats are bad luck).
The real Pete wandered far from home, never to be seen again after living with Dean for about a year, but Pete and his impact survived.
Since “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes” by Dean and writer Eric Litwin was published by HarperCollins in 2010, it has sold over 3.5 million copies and spent more than 180 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
In the Savannah Children’s Theater show, Jimmy Biddle is the top student in his second grade class. That’s until Pete the cat moves in with his skateboard and electric guitar. When Jimmy needs help with his art project, Pete is the perfect buddy to spark Jimmy’s imagination.
They go on an artistic adventure together to Paris and return in Pete’s trendy Volkswagen bus.
“Jimmy wants everything to be perfect in every way, and he’s stuck creatively. Pete really comes to his side and teaches the lesson that if you love him, then that’s perfect. If you have him done, it’s perfect. There’s all the nuances and all the types of art, and they should all be celebrated,” Doubleday said.
The show is presented at the historic Savannah Theater in Bull St. It’s a collaboration we’ve been considering for a while and this show was the right fit as Pete goes wild on his electric guitar.
“We’ve wanted to do a collaboration with them for a long time, and this show seems perfect for their space. They have a great rock and roll set for their show Savannah Live which they air year round,” Doubleday said.
The cast includes Caroline Donica, Danielle Houston, Galen Schneider, JoJo Ward and Jack Webber as Pete the Cat. The music is by Will Aronson and the book and lyrics are by Sarah Hammond. Musical references from many acts of the 1960s and early 70s. This show has something for all ages.
“It is written for the very young. We’re talking about kindergarten through second grade, but many children’s books are loved by adults as well. This one makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it,” Doubleday said.
You can see the show September 17 and 24, October 1 and 8 at 10 a.m. and September 18 and 25, October 2 and 9 at 3 p.m. Buy your tickets by clicking on the ‘shows’ page at savannahtheatre.com