Tom Zaizar is very mindful of the effect a theatrical production can have on the youngest members of the audience.

A child could be inspired to sing or dance, which could set off a chain of events that eventually leads the child to pursuing a show-business career, he said.

The performance director for “Clifford the Big Red Dog Live” said it is his job to make sure the show leaves a lasting impression on its target audience — children.

“It’s like a Broadway musical,” Zaizar said of the show, which will be presented at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Orr Auditorium of Westminster College, New Wilmington. “For many kids, it might be the first time they see a live show. We have the responsibility of making sure it’s a quality performance.”

Norman Bridwell created Clifford, the kind-hearted but clumsy and mischievous pet of Emily Elizabeth, in a series of books published by Scholastic. Clifford grew to be larger than a house from the strength of her love for him.

Clifford’s fame grew when he got his own public television show.

Heather Braaten adapted the theatrical show with both the TV show and book series in mind, Zaizar said.

In the stage show, Emily Elizabeth and her friends participate in a play contest, with the winner getting to lead a Founder’s Day parade.

Emily Elizabeth’s friend, Jetta, decides she has more talent and decides to abandon her friends for her own entry, only to find that she needs them.

There is plenty of singing and dancing, with choreography by Ms. Braaten and music by Kathy Sommer.

Although the backing music is recorded, all the singing is done live by the performers, said Zaizar, of Orlando, Fla.

The show, produced by Turnstile Entertainment, gets the youngest audience members singing and dancing, and interacting with the performers.

“We encourage them to make noise, not like traditional theater where they sit there nice and quiet,” said Zaizar, calling from Schenectady, N.Y.

The 90-city tour started in September and the response has been “awesome,” said Zaizar, who worked for “Sesame Street Live” shows for 13 years.

“You can always gauge how good a show is when the ushers come up to you and say what a good show it was,” he said.



Tickets: 1-724-946-7354 or email mcginncl@westminster.edu

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