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A Monmouth Menagerie: A last trip to the ‘ZooZoo’ for Imago Theatre

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2/17/2016

WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – As part of its 10th Anniversary schedule of events, The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are on sale for a March 6 appearance by the touring company of Imago Theatre, performing their celebrated family-friendly show ZooZoo.

Part of the 2016 Winter-Spring Performing Arts Series, the 2 p.m. Sunday matinee represents one of the last dates on the “Final Return” tour of ZooZoo — and for the New Jersey audience, a last look at a crowd-pleasing production that’s been described as “a madcap revue of illusion, comedy and fun ... a circus, a zoo, and a world all its own, where penguins play musical chairs, a cat becomes trapped in a giant paper bag, hippos have insomnia, and anteaters work as waiters.” Presented in the recently renovated Pollak Theatre, the show promises to put the all-new seating and enhanced stage area of Monmouth’s flagship performance space to excellent use — and to place the audience within the action in some delightfully surprising ways.

Employing vivid costumes, masks, props, acrobatic dance and mime in a way that evokes echoes of Mummenschanz, Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil, the Portland, Oregon-based Imago troupe crafts a whimsical environment in which a menagerie of creatures — from snakes, worms and fireflies to polar bears and bunnies — go about their business; exploring their world and their moving, leaping, twisting bodies; now and then casting a curious glance at their human onlookers, in a way that asks just who’s on display here in this colorful ZooZoo.

Performing to an original music score, the company that made its first big splash with FROGZ (and yes, those green pond-hoppers promise to be present and accounted for on the Monmouth stage) transcend verbal language to create a universal experience for audience members of ages 3 on up. But when the ZooZoo train returns to home base at the end of March 2016, the show that’s entertained audiences worldwide since 2009 will be retired; its critters packed off to Imago’s “warehouse museum of fascinating creatures” and the creative team “leaving behind the special world of mask theatre, which has been our forte for several decades,” in the words of co-founder Jerry Mouawad. “It will be a sad goodbye.”

Even as Mouawad and founding partner Carol Triffle explore new directions in sophisticated, innovative live theater, the animal friends of ZooZoo carry on the company’s signature mission to bring smiles to all ages — and on March 6, the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth promises to be one happy place.

Tickets are priced at $30 and $40 (with a Gold Circle seating option available for $55), and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts.

Tickets for other upcoming family-friendly events in the Performing Arts series — including the Theatreworks production of Charlotte’s Web (March 22), and Curious George: The Golden Meatball (May 18) — are also on sale now.

To schedule interviews, please contact Kelly Barratt at 732-263-5114.