Imaginocean-frontOut of the mouth of babes, as the saying goes, sometimes wisdom flows. “Mommy, I really liked that show,” said 4 year-old Katie DiIorio, of Oceanside, New York, as she hopped excitedly out of John Tartaglia’s ImaginOcean. “It was fun!”

That has to be good news for the production; Katie is its target audience. And, her sentiments matched those of the packed house of both young ‘uns and adults at a recent show.

The audience had just finished enjoying the undersea adventures of a group of fish friends, who uncover a treasure map that leads them to learn about themselves and ultimately uncover the treasure of each other’s friendship.

It’s no surprise that ImaginOcean is making big waves.

Tony-Award nominee and show creator John Tartaglia has certainly proven his creative intelligence and sensibilities when it comes to connecting with audiences.

He starred in the acclaimed Avenue Q, brought the house down with his rendition of Pinocchio in Shrek the Musical, and lit up as Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast.

The creator and star of The Playhouse Disney series Johnny and the Sprites brings his penchant for fun music and life-learning lessons to ImaginOcean as well.

“I like the fact that there’s stuff that the parents are going to get that maybe the kids won’t, and vice versa,” he says. “I think the best family entertainment is when you can appeal to everybody.”

People of all ages will enjoy this underwater sea world. The innovative black light musical production is a great introduction to the art, and gives children a true sense of the broken fourth wall.

Parents and friends will be in on the journey. Between the use of glowing bubbles and talking stage pieces, young audiences are in awe of the personal experience.

Because the theater at New World Stages is somewhat small, the underwater feeling is incredibly intimate, and families will feel as though they are swimming with Dorsal, Bubbles, and Tank on their musical adventure.

Packed with original music ranging from swing to R&B to Big Band, ImaginOcean is catchy and memorable.

William Wade’s music and lyrics are thoughtful and simplistic, yet reach kids on deep levels. A personal favorite of DiIorio’s is “On Our Way”, an uplifting tune she continued to sing upon emerging from ImaginOcean’s sea.

The talented performers bring life to their puppets and props, which include a dancing octopus and singing arrows- no easy feat considering we never actually see the performers’ faces! Dressed all in black, the actors are virtually invisible.

Donna Drake’s direction and musical staging is thoughtful and engaging.

The actors thrust their fluorescent puppets into the audience, to the point where many of the kids are excited to reach up and wave to their new pals.

In this act is the true magic of the evening — witnessing the joy that a team of theatrical collaborators can bring to families. It’s a must-see.

New World Stages Stage 5
340 West 50th Street
(between Eighth and Ninth Avenues)
New York, NY 10019

Opening 31 Mar 2010
Closing 12 Sep 2010

Show Times:
Wed at 11:00AM, 2:00PM & 7:00PM
Thurs & Friday at 11:00AM & 2:00PM
Sat at 11:00AM, 2:00PM & 4:30PM
Sun at 12:00PM

Tickets: $26.50 – $50.00
Box Office: Tele-charge: (212) 239-6200
Outside NY: (800) 432-7250

Show Run Time: 50 minutes

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