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Release: Nov. 17, 2000

(NOTE TO EDITORS: You can reach the Children’s Theatre Company at 612-874-0500.)

Children's Theatre Company performs 'Lyle the Crocodile' Dec. 9 & 10 in Hancher

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Children’s Theatre Company, America’s foremost theater for families, will perform its original stage adaptation of Bernard Waber’s popular "Lyle the Crocodile" books at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa Campus.

The Children’s Theatre Company will present two free lecture/demonstrations in the community: at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at the Iowa Children’s Museum in the Coral Ridge Mall, and at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, during Story Time at the Iowa City Public Library.

During its visit to the UI, the Children’s Theatre Company will also present two Dec. 8 performances for area school groups, as part of Hancher’s Stage Door educational series.

As anyone who has read Waber’s books knows, Lyle is no ordinary crocodile. He is a sensitive, urbane croc-about-town who lives in a brownstone on East 88th Street in New York City.

As the curtain rises on the Children’s Theatre Company production, we meet Hector P. Valenti, star of stage and screen. He is in love with New York City, and introduces himself, his city, and the house on 88th Street with all the giddiness romance can induce. Hector P. also introduces us to Mr. and Mrs. Primm and their son, Joshua, who are just moving into the house -- and to the neighbor, grumpy Mr. Grumps, and his kitty cat, Loretta.

Inside the house everything is chaos. It is moving day and nothing is where it should be. But there’s something extra odd -- noises in the bathroom. The noises aren’t nearly as surprising as what’s making them. There is a caviar-loving crocodile in the bathtub! Hector P. Valenti attempts to introduce Lyle to the family, but only when lovable Lyle comes downstairs doing tricks do they begin to relax. They say he can stay -- if he helps around the house.

Lyle folds towels, makes beds, feeds the bird, sets the table, and Ms. Nitpicker, the neighborhood gossip, loves his hors d’oeuvres. Everyone loves Lyle, except for Mr. Grumps who hates him, but then, Mr. Grumps hates parades and people, and pretty much everything. It gets worse when during a game of hide and seek Lyle frightens Loretta up a tree. Firemen come to get her down but get so involved in calling each other names, they fail. Mr. Grumps gets Loretta down himself and threatens to send Lyle to the zoo if he makes one more mistake.

Of course, Lyle does make another mistake and he is carted away to the zoo. Further complications ensue, of course, but all ends happily. Mr. Grumps even falls in love -- with Ms. Nitpicker. It seems that happiness can be found in just liking a person for exactly what he or she is. And Lyle is back in his bathtub, and all’s right with the world.

Lyle made his theatrical debut on the CTC mainstage ten years ago, in the 1990-1991 season, but the touring production has a whole new look, including new sets and a fanciful new costume for the actor playing Lyle.

The Children's Theatre Company, which is headquartered in the Twin Cities, has been called "the flagship of North American children's theater." During three decades of performances and educational activities, the company has developed an international reputation for staging innovative original works and spirited adaptations of the best in children's literature.

The company’s tours have included regular stops at Hancher Auditorium, performing works including "Strega Nona," "Animal Fables from Aesop," "Two African Tales," "The Adventures of Pippi Longstockings," "Raggedy Ann and Andy," "Wondrous Tales of Old Japan" and "Tremendously Tall Tales."

Hames Mobil Homes, Inc., and the Heartland Arts Fund are the corporate sponsors of "Lyle the Crocodile," through the University of Iowa Foundation.

For audience members 17 and younger, tickets to "Lyle the Crocodile" are $12.50, $11.50 and $10. Adult prices are $25, $23 and 20. Senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount. Zone 2 and 3 tickets are available to UI students for $10, and UI students also qualify for a 20-percent discount on Zone 1 tickets.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at <>.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial
(319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

For UI arts information, visit this new address -- -- on the World Wide Web. To learn more about the Children’s Theatre Company visit <>. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.