World Premiere of The Elephant Speaks Jazz at the Weber Center for the Performing Arts April 1–3, 9–10

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Join the Viterbo University Conservatory for the Performing Arts and Wonderstruck Theatre Co. as they present The Elephant Speaks Jazz, Friday, April 1–Sunday, April 3 and Saturday, April 9–Sunday, April 10 in the Weber Center for the Performing Arts Lyche Theatre.

This brand-new production features an original score and life-sized puppets that will delight audiences of all ages with playful storytelling. The Elephant Speaks Jazz follows sister and brother team, Lucy and Sam. When ordered to go discover and play they stumble upon an unlikely new friend, Ellie the elephant. Little do they know the wild ride Ellie will take them on across town, in a lake, and back to her circus home where they discover her hidden talent.

“Puppetry transports the audience to a new space and tells the story in a unique way,” said Eric Van Wyk, who conceived and designed The Elephant Speaks Jazz. For example, Ellie the elephant is a stylized full-size Asian elephant puppet brought to life by three carefully coordinated ensemble members. “This show uses a lot of visual storytelling drawing on playful circus and clown elements.”

The production also features composed jazz music by Luke Thering played by a talented four-piece jazz band onstage throughout the entire performance. The jazz music creates an expressive playfulness that underscores the imaginative nature of the show.

“There is a very gifted ensemble of students who bring an amazing range of talents to the show,” said Van Wyk. “Many play one character, then puppeteer an object, and then play a different character. Puppetry was a new skill to learn for many of the student actors and watching them bring objects to life is delightful.”

The Elephant Speaks Jazz is intended for young audiences and families but can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It is supported by the Jim Henson Foundation and is presented in collaboration with Wonderstruck Theatre Co. as part of the Viterbo University New Works Festival.

Performance times are 7:30 p.m. on April 1–2 and 2 p.m. on April 2–3 and April 9–10. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 12 and under, plus taxes and fees. For more information or to order tickets, contact the Viterbo box office at 608-796-3100 or visit