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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Theater Watch: Lyle Lyle Crocodile

I’ve had a hankering lately to get into the fancy world of children’s literary adaptations.  Who can resist the siren call of the theater?  Not I!  With that in mind, I’m beginning a new spot on this blog:  Theater Watch.  Or should it be "Theatre" Watch?  Hm.  I’ll have to check this with my acting friends on this one.

Whatever the case, this week we take an up close and personal look at the Chicago Lifeline Theater and their current production of everyone’s favorite crocodile, Lyle.  Observe these natty pics:

Is that a gold belt?  Could I be any happier if it was?

Oh. No, I see. It’s just his shiny gold tummy.  Still, check out that soft felt hat.  Rowr!

Awww.  So cute. 

And here’s the press release:

                        Lifeline Theatre KidSeries presents the world premiere musical adaptation of “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” by Bernard Waber, adapted by ensemble member Christina Calvit, music and lyrics by George Howe , and directed by ensemble member Shole Milos.   The Primm family is busily moving into their new house on East 88 th Street , when suddenly they hear SWISH, SWASH, SPLASH, SWOOSH.   A search reveals a crocodile in their bathtub!   His name is Lyle, he only eats Turkish caviar, and he quickly becomes a treasured member of the family. This story has been read by loyal fans since 1962, and is now a new musical by the composer of Lifeline’s “Click, Clack, Moo” and the adaptor of “Rikki Tikki Tavi.” This production is appropriate for children ages five to ten, and runs about one hour with no intermission. 

No word on how many of the Lyle books the staged production incorporates.

If you’ve knowledge of an upcoming theatrical presentation of a children’s book, be it picture, novel, graphic novel, or what have you, feel free to drop me a line.  The weirder the better, I always say.  I’m planning on making this a regular thing.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Brian Floca says:

    I don’t know! The scales on this Lyle are kind of freaking me out. I think he reminds me too much of the Sleestaks.

  2. Come now, Brian. Admit it. A man walks you into his office, sits you down, and says, “Brian, baby, have I got a show for you. Three words…. Sleestaks: The Musical!” Tell me you wouldn’t buy into whatever that guy was selling right then and there. I know I would.

  3. Brian Floca says:

    This is a true story. In high school, a group of us on Student Council, which held the high responsibility of putting together the annual homecoming dance, persuaded the school to throw the dance to the theme of “Land of the Lost.” (We knew we weren’t getting dates anyway so we figured what the hell.) Dry ice and Sleestaks ensued. So don’t misconstrue my earlier remarks. I am a fan of the Sleestak, I am. But do I want one singing to me from my bathtub? That’s a different story.

  4. Jennifer Schultz says:

    I was told that “theater” refers to the building; “theatre” refers to what goes on inside the theater. “My sister used to play the clarinet for a local community theater; their production of Li’l Abner was one of the worst theatre-going experiences I’ve ever had.” However, it seems to be interchangeable.

  5. Susan Marie Swanson says:

    Great idea for a regular feature–the connections between children’s literature and theater are intriguing, instructive, amusing, and worth-knowing-about. There’s almost always something going on here in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where the Children’s Theatre Company leads the way. They’ve got a new staging of their “Frog and Toad” underway right now. It’s a wonderful show. Different approach though: no amphibian costumes to compare to Chicago’s reptile. “Bud Not Buddy,” “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” and others coming up at Children’s Theatre in the new year.

  6. I used to live in Minneapolis and, in fact, was friends with one of the stage managers at the Children’s Theatre Company. I see that the new staging of “Frog and Toad” does not involve Mr. Mark Linn-Baker again, which is a pity since he was a brilliant Toad. I saw the original production back in the day and it was magnificent. I still have the soundtrack too, though I don’t know how often songs like “Toad Looks Funny in a Bathing Suit” are going to come in handy.

  7. We sing “Toad Looks Funny in a Bathing Suit” around the house not infrequently. Either when someone is putting on a bathing suit, or when someone looks funny, or recently when I was cutting up a rutabaga (“rutabaga comes from a rutabaga root, and Toad looks funny in a ba—–thing—-SUUUUUIT!”)