Family Entertainment Series

Ibis Ensemble puts Caribbean spin on Little Red Riding Hood

Ibis Ensemble puts Caribbean spin on Little Red Riding Hood

Children at Chautauqua may have heard of Little Red Riding Hood, but it is unlikely they know the Midnight Robber or the Blue Devil of Paramin.

Those are traditional figures from Trinidadian Carnival and characters in the Ibis Ensemble’s performance of their Caribbean-flavored “Little Red Riding Hood.”

The Ibis Ensemble will play the contemporary work at 6:30 p.m. tonight in Smith Wilkes Hall as part of the Family Entertainment Series, along with other tribal music from Trinidad and Tobago.

Animals come to life through puppets in Ford’s ‘Animalia’ FES performance

Animals come to life through puppets in Ford’s ‘Animalia’ FES performance

The bald eagle swoops through the crowd, wings flapping. Though it’s not a living, breathing creature, the puppet crafted and controlled by puppeteer Hobey Ford looks and moves like the real thing.

Ford will take the stage with a host of animal puppets at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. tonight in Smith Wilkes Hall as part of the Family Entertainment Series. His show, “Animalia,” teaches animal behavior through art.

“ ‘Animalia’ is a ballet of animals. We follow a caterpillar as it turns into a butterfly,” Ford said. “The puppets don’t talk. For the most part, they are acting like the real animals.”

Vocal Trash brings ‘variety show’ to Amp stage for FES

Vocal Trash brings ‘variety show’ to Amp stage for FES

One man’s trash is another man’s instrument when it comes to Vocal Trash, the dance and vocal performance group that takes the Amphitheater stage at 7:30 p.m. tonight as part of the Family Entertainment Series.

“From age 2 to 92, they will be tapping their feet,” said Kelsey Rae, co-owner of Vocal Trash and the group’s lead singer and dancer.

The group creates beats using trash can lids, cans and bottles, encouraging recycling, as its members breakdance across the stage. Though the group is often compared to Stomp, Vocal Trash also offers 40 songs sung by the group’s six members in 90 minutes, Rae said.

Doktor Kaboom! rockets to Smith Wilkes stage

Doktor Kaboom! rockets to Smith Wilkes stage

David Epley is a real Renaissance man.

He worked the Renaissance fair circuit for 20 years with a trio called Theatre in the Ground before he combined his love for science, performing and comedy into his new traveling persona: Doktor Kaboom!.

“Science is for everybody,” Epley said. “Not just the person in the lab coat or the kid who wins the science fair.”

Epley as Doktor Kaboom! brings the show “It’s Just Rocket Science” to Chautauqua at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. today in Smith Wilkes Hall as part of the Family Entertainment Series. It’s Epley’s third time at Chautauqua as Doktor Kaboom!, but his first time with the show.

DFT expands community support through Family Entertainment Series sponsorship

DFT expands community support through Family Entertainment Series sponsorship

This season, the Family Entertainment Series Community Appreciation Tuesday Nights are sponsored by a company that feels giving back to its community should be just as emphasized as business integrity.

DFT Communications, a local telecommunication organization, is sponsoring all Tuesday night Family Entertainment in Smith Wilkes and Elizabeth S. Lenna halls this summer.

“This is our first year that we’re doing this on the Institution grounds,” said Dan Siracuse, marketing and public relations manager.

Ellen Ditonto, DFT’s director of sales, had originally spoken with Megan Sorenson, assistant director of the Chautauqua Fund, Siracuse said. He and Ditonto then brought the proposal to the president and COO of the company.

Gizmo Guys juggle their way to Chautauqua for Family Entertainment Series

Gizmo Guys juggle their way to Chautauqua for Family Entertainment Series

Clubs fly back and forth, shooting through the air between the two men.

They are the Gizmo Guys, a professional juggling and comedy duo. They perform at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. today in Smith Wilkes Hall as part of the Family Entertainment Series. The two have been juggling and clowning together professionally for 25 years.

Chautauqua is one of the few places they try to visit a day before their performance, so they can enjoy the peace and beauty of the Institution.

Photostory: A walk on the wild side

Photostory: A walk on the wild side

Peter Gros, co-host of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” shared stories and short videos of his travels in the wild while presenting animals to the Amphitheater audience, including many young Chautauquans, during Wednesday evening’s Family Entertainment Series program. Above, young audience members meet a porcupine, and at right, Aaron Stackpole, 9, volunteers to join Gros onstage to handle a snake-like reptiles.

Photos by Lauren Rock.

Emphasis on family time leads Penders  to sponsor Family Entertainment events

Emphasis on family time leads Penders to sponsor Family Entertainment events

Because of their longtime participation in family activities at Chautauqua, the Penders choose to sponsor events in the Family Entertainment Series through the Michael Pender Fund of The Cleveland Foundation, founded in memory of their youngest son.

“Theater and music were great loves of his, so we really look at this as something Michael would love too,” Pender said. “He was very much a family person.”

This season, the Penders and the Michael Pender Fund are sponsoring Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Starring Peter Gros at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater, and Vocal Trash on July 18, also at 7:30 p.m. in the Amp.

The show stars Peter Gros, an animal expert and environmental conservationist, who will share wildlife stories from his travel experiences and introduce the audience to live, exotic animals.

Vocal Trash combines a cappella, industrial-style drumming, breakdancing and knowledge of recycling to produce a high-energy performance that entertains and informs audience members of all ages.

Where the wild things are

Where the wild things are

Though bats are typically the sole animal inhabitants of the Chautauqua Amphitheater, today an alligator, a falcon, a porcupine and several other creatures will grace the stage with Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom’s Peter Gros.

The program, part of the Family Entertainment Series, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in the Amp.

“I hope to excite families about nature and wildlife” Gros said, “and inspire them to connect with the natural world.”