New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
Elephant and Piggy
Photo: Teresa Wood

Written by Clare Lockhart, Summer 2016 Communications Apprentice

You know that one person who laughs at all your jokes, listens when you have a problem and is always there for you? That person’s your best friend! They could be someone you met at school, your sibling, your parent or maybe someone you met at The New Victory Theater. 

In honor of the magic of friendship, the US Congress declared the first Sunday of August "National Friendship Day" in 1935! Then countries all over the world wanted to celebrate as well, so it has now become International Friendship Day. And because we have some BFFs (Best Friends Forever) in our upcoming show, Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!, we’re going to share with you five fun NYC activities you can do with your BFF. 
Highline Elephant and Piggie are huge fans of sharing and of food! So why not combine the two by going on a picnic? Head downtown to Chelsea Market, pick out some fun foods you and your friend can enjoy and have a picnic on the beautiful High Line
Did you know that Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! is actually based on books written by Mo Willems? If you’re a bookworm, some of the most fun you can have is wandering a bookstore with your friend and sharing your favorite stories. Bank Street Books, Books of Wonder and Book Culture all have great kids' sections. The New York Public Library also has a KidsLIVE program which includes live readings, performances and more! So either share your favorite book with your friend or discover a new story together. 
Summer in the Square Something you may not know about Elephant & Piggie is that they have three squirrel friends who are in a band called The Squirrelles. We bet they would really enjoy Josh + the Jamtones at Summer in the Square. And if you’re a fan of music, or just rocking out with your best friend, we bet you would enjoy it too! 
The Children's Museum of Manhattan Now Piggie really likes to get dressed up, and we bet she’s not alone! If your kid likes to play dress up, The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is for you. Not only do you get to learn about history, religion and different cultures, but you get to dress the part as well! In past exhibits you could dress up as a football player, embody an ancient Greek philosopher or step inside a piece of modern art! Piggie would be very excited to try it out. 
Broadway In Bryant Park Do you and your BFF belt Wicked in your bedroom? Do you dream of being a big Broadway star? Then head to Broadway in Bryant Park to get up close and personal with the blockbuster stars of the Great White Way...and maybe meet your favorite actor. It’s a win-win situation. 
PLUS Two Bonus Activities!
Psychobarn Not only is it International Friendship Day in August; it’s also Women’s Friendship Day on August 21st. So in honor of all those female friends, here's a fun activity designed by a female artist. Transitional Object (or Psychobarn) was envisioned for The Metropolitan Museum of Art's roof by Cornelia Parker, one of the most celebrated English sculpters alive today. Take in Manhattan on the roof after exploring the third largest museum in the world!
AND Elephant & Piggie are super excited for this last activity. Their creator, Mo Willems, is getting his own museum exhibit called The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems at the New-York Historical Society. So, before you and your friends come to Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!, go explore their adventures and meet their friends, too. 
Clare Lockhart Clare Lockhart is a Communications Apprentice for The New 42nd Street. She is currently pursuing a BFA in Theater / Arts Management with a minor in Political Science at Emerson College. A native of DC, Clare is passionate about the power of theater, marketing, politics and keeping arts in schools.

Posted by Beth Henderson

Explore the World of Penguins 

Though penguins are often associated with an icy environment, many species of penguins reside in warmer climates in the Southern Hemisphere. The cooler the environment however, the larger the penguin! 

In October, we'll be welcoming Mr. Popper’s Penguins to The New Victory Theater where the very normal Mr. and Mrs. Popper suddenly find themselves with a house full of penguins... and chaos! In order to get ready for the show, you can read our selection of penguin-themed books or explore the different zoos of New York City with your family!

Read About Them!

Penguins have been book-stars for quite some time. Get to know Mr. Popper's co-stars a little better and make a visit to your local library to check out some of the following. 

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, Henry Cole
— Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester, Lynn M. Munsinger
— Penguin by Polly Dunbar
— Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon
— A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis
— Penguin on Vacation by Salina Yoon 
— 365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental, Joëlle Jolivet
— Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater, Florence Atwater, Robert Lawson

Catch Them All!

Sadly, the zoos will not take kindly to you catching their penguins. Instead, print out this list and check off each bird you see this summer in the square next to their name! You can keep track of where each species lives by looking at the map above. 

 Little Penguins or Fairy Penguins

The most pint-sized penguins that exist, these little guys grow to be only one foot tall! Like many species of penguins, they live in warm climates. You can typically find them swimming in the waters of Australia and New Zealand, living up to their scientific name Eudyptula meaning "good little diver." The main difference between little penguins and other species is that they're nocturnal, meaning they only are awake at night!

Little Penguin

Where will you find them this summer? The Bronx Zoo
Fun Fact: The Bronx Zoo successfully hatched a little penguin chick for the first time in 120 years on May 10, 2016!

 Magellanic Penguins 

Contrary to what you'd expect, these birds also live nowhere near ice! They live along the coast of South America under bushes, unless they're able to burrow for their nests. Their unique name comes from Ferdinand Magellan, who first spotted these critters in 1520. 

Magellanic Penguin
Where will you find them? The Bronx Zoo

 African or Black Footed Penguins 

Known for their donkey-like bray, the African penguin lives off of the southern coast of Africa. In fact, it's the only penguin to breed in Africa! You can tell how closely it's related to the Magellanic Penguin due to its similar appearance and behavior. For instance, they both mate for life. Sadly, due to human behavior like oil spills and habitat disruption, the African penguin is listed as an endangered species. If nothing changes, experts believe they will be extinct in 15 years. 

African Penguin

Where will you find them? Staten Island Zoo and New York Aquarium 

 Gentoo Penguins 

These penguins are famous for a lot of reasons. They have the largest tail, they're the third largest of all penguin species and they're the fastest diving bird in existence! Even more impressive, these are the penguins that Mr. Popper receives in the mail! You might be wondering about their odd name. Unfortunately, no one is sure where it comes from, but theories range from Anglo-Indian to Portuguese origins. Though the gentoo penguins are native to the cold Antarctic waters, they prefer to live in areas without any snow or ice. 

Gentoo Penguin

Where will you find them? The Central Park Zoo

 Chinstrap Penguins

Most closely related to the gentoo penguin, these chinstrap penguins rock some serious facial feathers. They're one of the two penguin species with white faces, but theirs are separated from the body by a thin black strap. They make their homes on steep, rocky terrain in cold climates. They aren't found as far north as their relatives, and their breeding colonies can be found near the Antarctic Peninsula. 

Chinstrap Penguin

Where will you find them? The Central Park Zoo

 King Penguins 

Second in size only to emperor penguins (which, sadly, cannot be found in any NYC zoo), king penguins are seriously large birds. They grow up to three feet tall and weigh up to thirty-five pounds! King penguins have a long and healthy relationship with zoos and are even the Edinburgh Zoo's mascot. In the wild, you can find them in the sub-Antarctic belt in groups that can number in the tens of thousands. 

King Penguin

Where will you find them? The Central Park Zoo

Bonus point!

 Tufted Puffins 

These funny looking fellas are relatively common birds found throughout the northern Pacific Ocean, close to Alaska. They gather on islands or cliffs where predators can't easily access their nests, the steeper the better! Many people are quick to group puffins and penguins together, but in fact they are from completely different families. There's not even any geographical overlap between the two! 

Tufted Puffin

Where will you find them? The Central Park Zoo


Mr. Popper's Thumb Make it Social!

While you’re visiting all your penguin pals, make sure to take some snapshots! Post them on social and tag us on Instagram @NewVictoryTheater or Twitter @NewVictory. Use the hashtag #MrPoppersNewVic so we can see your photos! 


Posted by Beth Henderson
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