Show History



Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play! is based on six of the books in the popular, Geisel Award-winning Elephant & Piggie children's book series by Mo Willems, who also wrote the script and lyrics for the musical.
The Elephant & Piggie book series debuted in 2007. The books are written in comic book-style, with conversations appearing in letter bubbles above the characters' heads. The books often address issues of friendship.


Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play! was commissioned in 2012 by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and had a workshop at the theatre prior to the full production.

The original production was directed by Jerry Whiddon, featured music direction by George Fulginiti-Shakar and was choreographed by Jessica Hartmann. The original cast featured Evan Casey as Gerald and Lauren Williams as Piggie, with Brittany Baratz, Ashleigh King and Deborah Lubega as The Squirrelles.

Cultural Influence

  • Two Elephant & Piggie books, There Is a Bird on Your Head and Are You Ready to Play Outside?, won the Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009.
  • Two books in the series have been listed on TIME Magazine's Top 10 Children's Books of the Year: Today I Will Fly in 2007 (ranked #2) and Elephants Cannot Dance! in 2009 (ranked #5).
  • Mo Willems is a number-one New York Times bestselling author and illustrator, and has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions. His debut, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, was inducted into the Indies Choice Picture Book Hall of Fame in 2009. Other favorites include the Knuffle Bunny books; Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and City Dog, Country Frog, illustrated by Jon J Muth.


  • Books are added to the Elephant & Piggie series on a roughly quarterly schedule, with two books occasionally released on the same day.
  • Pigeon, another series and character by Mo Willems, is hidden on the inside back cover of each Elephant & Piggie book.
  • Much of the same creative team from the Kennedy Center's hit 2010 production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical, also based on books by Willems, returned to work on Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play!
  • The original production of Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play! was backed by a live band, also in character as Dr. Cat and the Bear-a-Tones.