Sunday, May 06, 2018

“Peppa Pig Live!” Returns To Worcester’s Hanover Stage In Massachusetts On May 11

WORCESTER, MA - Daniel Jared Hersh knows his audience.

A bathtime scene in "Peppa Pig Live! Peppa's Big Surprise." [Promotional Photo]

“It’s a very young audience,” Hersh tells “But these are the kids that get excited about it. It’s been a lot of fun.”

The core audience for Peppa Pig Live! Peppa Pig’s Surprise is ages 2-6 — along with the older family members and friends who have taken them to see the show for what is often their first-ever theatrical experience.

“It’s been going great,” Hersh said of the tour, which brings Peppa Pig’s Surprise to The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts in Massachusetts for a show at 6 p.m. on Friday 11th May 2018.

Hersh’s main role is Daddy Pig, and he also takes a turn as one of Peppa’s friends, Danny Dog.

He knows something else about the young audience. “If you’re not on top of everything I’m sure they could get distracted pretty fast.”

Still, Peppa seems to know what she’s doing. Peppa Pig Live! has become one of the most successful family theater tours in North American history with more than a half million tickets sold to date. Earlier, box office records were set at the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End.

Peppa Pig began in the UK as a five-minute children’s animated TV series that was first broadcast on Channel 5 in 2004. The TV show is now seen around the world, including on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. channels around the world, including in the UK, Ireland and the USA.

Peppa is a 4-year-old pig with a younger brother, George, and friends who are different species of animal as well as characters such as Mr. Potato. Each TV episode involves good-natured everyday activities.

British producer, writer and director Richard Lewis successfully took on the task of creating a Peppa Pig Live! theatrical production. The fourth, Peppa Pig’s Splash, was the first to come to the United States, including a stop at The Hanover Theatre in 2015.

Lewis also directs Peppa Pig’s Surprise.

“He’s great. He really knows how to get inside the minds of the characters and how to keep them moving and alive,” Hersh said.

Daniel Jared Hersh

In the current show the audience meets a human, Daisy, who introduces Peppa and her friends and family. There are some regular activities, including taking a bath (bubbles find their way into the audience) and the singing of the famous “Bing Bong” song. But as the title of the show indicates, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig have a surprise in store for Peppa and George. It is (spoiler alert!) a trip to the seaside. “They get to meet a bunch of sea creatures and have a party,” Hersh said.

The new storyline comes along with new songs as the cast, with the exception of Daisy, wear full body costumes as their respective characters and walk, talk, sing, dance and jump up and down.

“All of us are doing our voices and singing,” Hersh said. While there is room for some vocal flexibility, the cast wants their characters to sound like the voices the audience already know, he said.

As for moving around as a life-size puppet, “it takes a bit of getting used to,” Hersh said. Actually, the body costumes are “surprisingly not that heavy. You’d be surprised how light it is.” Inside the costume is equipped “with a camera set up so I can see in front of me,” and a microphone for the voice.

Peppa Pig Live! Peppa’s Big Surprise began its spring tour on Thursday 5th April 2018 in Anaheim, California, after a short break from fall/winter engagements. Hersh, however, was new to the cast and didn’t get much rehearsal time.

But he was a known quantity, having performed ​in the first U.S. national tour of The Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure. The Octonauts is also a British animated TV show for children, this time featuring animals, led by Captain Barnacles the Polar Bear, who are underwater adventurers. The U.S. touring stage shows of Peppa Pig Live! and The Octonauts are put on by the same production company.

While the producers quickly hired Hersh for Peppa Pig Live! Peppa’s Big Surprise this spring, getting on board with The Octonauts as an unknown quantity was another matter. At an audition he was asked to do the voices of the Octonauts characters. Hersh was one of 60 people called back for a session that included mask work and group singing exercises. “It was a pretty long process,” he said.

Hersh now knows a thing or two about playing such characters. “The No. 1 thing is to do the voices and be a good team player,” he said. “Make sure when you’re on stage we’re all covering each other.” Recently a cast member’s microphone went out, and “someone was able to jump in and do the dialogue until the microphone was fixed.”

He was talking while the show was at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The production has gone up the West Coast from Anaheim, moved into Canada and would be making its way east. “Previously I had never been to Canada,” Hersh said.

Hersh grew up in Agoura Hills, California, and Henderson, Nevada, and earned a bachelor’s in fine arts in musical theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles. He’s performed in musicals, including with the Elite Theatre Company in Oxnard, California, and cabaret.

At the beginning of 2017 he moved to New York City.

Hersh knows where he is in his career, so he not only took a job as a waiter but also sings about it. He’s a member of singing waitstaff at the famous Ellen’s Stardust Diner. “It’s very busy. It’s one of the busiest restaurants in the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, “this job has been a blessing as well,” he said of Peppa Pig Live!

“Personally, I feel I’m at the beginning of my career, and what a way to start out. They treat us so well. It’s just a fun time. The travel that we do — we travel on very nice tour buses. I’m loving it.”

“Peppa Pig Live! Peppa’s Big Surprise”

When: 6 p.m. May 11

Where: The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester

How much: $35-$59.50. “Party Pass” tickets (includes a party after the show) $139.50. (877) 571-7469;

More Nick: Nickelodeon USA to Premiere New Episodes of 'Peppa Pig' in May 2018!

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