It is nearly autumn in the Hundred Acre Wood, and just as change will soon come to the leaves in the Honey Tree, so too will it come to Christopher Robin’s long, lazy afternoons. As Pooh finds his friend out of the Wood and back to school - while finding himself fresh out of honey - so sets off the most adventurous and wonderful year the Wood has ever seen.
Disney's Winnie the Pooh
About the Show
At their core, the adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood are an invitation to play, existing somewhere between the real world and the make-believe. To bring Christopher Robin’s ‘toys’ to life as full-scale walking, talking puppets, is a wonderful return to the genesis of Winnie the Pooh who has gone from stitch to sketch and back again.
We’ve pored over our favorite moments and tableaus from Disney’s entire Winnie the Pooh catalogue - from Honey Trees to Heffalumps - and have built new stories around iconic Disney Pooh imagery that will feel both fresh, yet familiar. Our story features some of the great classic Disney Pooh songs over the last fifty years, building a tale to engage, entertain, and inspire both our littlest audience members and those who have long-considered themselves residents of the Hundred Acre Wood.
Created by Jonathan Rockefeller, and made by Rockefeller Productions - the renowned family entertainment company - alongside Disney Theatrical Productions. The puppetry in this production received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Puppetry Design. Following premieres in New York and Chicago, Pooh and friends are now delighted to be touring the United States beginning Fall 2022!
About Rockefeller Productions
Jonathan Rockefeller and Rockefeller Productions embraced the challenge of re-imaging Disney’s Winnie the Pooh for a new audience by bringing it to life on stage in puppet form. The company has garnered global accolades, from critics and audiences alike, for their production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, with 14 productions playing on four continents. An extended run of the show in New York City culminated in Drama Desk and Off-Broadway Alliance nominations, as did Paddington Gets in a Jam, which tours China and the US in 2022. Other projects include the award-winning short film, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, written by preeminent author/illustrator Eric Carle and the recently released Christmas special Paddington Saves Christmas. Rockefeller Productions has also produced the acclaimed mini-golf experience Pixar Putt - an 18-hole course based on the iconic slate Pixar films, which has been hosted in New York City, San Antonio, Houston, Chicago, Denver, Melbourne & more.
Rockefeller Productions debuted their latest theatrical project, Sesame Street the Musical, in Fall 2022 at New York City’s Theatre Row.
About Disney’s Winnie The Pooh
When the Winnie the Pooh books were first published, they were household names in Great Britain and across Europe, but not many families in America knew of Pooh. However, one man did know and cherished these books and wanted to share the delightful friends of the Hundred Acre Wood with kids across the United States. Walt Disney and his wife thoroughly enjoyed reading Winnie the Pooh to his daughters. After hearing his children’s giggles at bedtime and asking for more of these stories, Walt Disney knew he wanted to adapt Winnie the Pooh to bring this joy to many more children in the States. Disney received the rights to Winnie the Pooh in 1961, but he didn’t want to create a full movie right away. He had an idea to slowly introduce Pooh through shorts (also called featurettes) so children could slowly get to know Pooh and all of his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. With families more familiar with all the characters from the Hundred Acre Woods, he believed there would be more excitement and a bigger audience for the full length movie. He believed it would become classic and a household name and it worked!
While adapting Winnie the Pooh, the animators wanted to stay as close to the original beloved Earnest Shephard illustrations from the books. The only changes made were making sure all the characters could move well and have wide ranges of expression - this is what animators have to do when taking a still picture and making it animated! Disney also took care to make sure all the featurettes and stories were based on real chapters from the books, not only to make sure they captured the honesty, lovable characters and innocent childhood adventures of the original novels, but to remind children they could follow more adventures with Pooh in the books. That’s why the animators often drew Pooh and his friends inside the books, interacting with words of the pages, and interacting with the narrator. Along with songs written by the Sherman Brothers, Buddy Baker wrote and arranged the musical score for the first full length movie. He used different instruments to represent the different characters. For our show, different instruments and sounds were used to represent different seasons.
In 1977, the full length movie The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was released which combined the previous featurettes with some new additional scenes as well as a new ending. Just as Disney had imagined and hoped for, many people flocked to see the new movie and children all across America fell in love with all the charming friends of the Hundred Acre Wood.
Meet the Cast
COLDIN GRUNDMEYER (Winnie The Pooh) is thrilled to be playing that willy, nilly, silly ole bear on tour with this fantastic company. He’s a recent graduate from Montclair State University’s BFA Musical Theatre program and was most recently seen as the male swing in the Off-Broadway production of Friends! The Musical Parody. Other credits include A Chorus Line (Mike Costa) at Richmond Triangle Players, Guys and Dolls (Harry the Horse) at MSU, and Mary Poppins (Chimney Sweep) at Ocean City Theatre Company. He would like to thank his fiancée, his family, and his French Bulldog, Paco.
JOSH BERNASKI (Ensemble) Josh is thrilled to bounce back into the Hundred Acre Wood and to share this beautiful show across the country! As a puppeteer, Josh performed in both the Chicago and Off-Broadway runs of Disney's Winnie the Pooh and in Mr. Popper's Penguins at Lifeline Theatre. A Chicago-based actor, Josh has performed throughout the Windy City and at regional theaters across the country. Proud graduate of Temple University, founder of The Connecting Routes Project, represented by BMG Talent. Thanks to Rockefeller Productions and the Pooh family for such a wonderful journey, and to his friends and family for their support.
LUKE DOMBROSKI (Ensemble) is an NYC-based actor, puppeteer, and writer. A proud AMDA graduate of their Integrated Conservatory program, he has performed across the country on tours and in regional theatres, in Rockefeller Productions’ That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody (Dorothy. Yes, Dorothy) and multiple iterations of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show in NYC. Before the world ended, The Full Monty at The Argyle Theatre (Marty, Jerry/Dave/Malcolm cover).
KAITLYN LUNARDI (Ensemble) is ecstatic to be making her national tour and puppeteering debut with the incredible cast and crew of Winnie the Pooh. Originally a classically trained dancer, Kaitlyn later studied with NYU’s Atlantic Acting School, and recently completed her B.S. in Psychology with ASU. Recent credits include: Year One (Premiere Stages), Money Heist: The Experience (Netflix), and Wendigo (Raindance Film Festival Winner). Welcome to the Hundred Acre Wood!
BLAKE RUSHING (Ensemble) is very excited to be taking the Hundred Acre Wood on the road in the Winnie the Pooh: A New Stage Musical National Tour. Performance highlights include Mary Sunshine in Chicago (Broadway Theater Project), Pinocchio in Shrek (Creekview Theater), and Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast (ArtCentre Theater). Blake has also worked behind the scenes as the child casting assistant on seasons 51 and 52 of Sesame Street, and as the child guardian for the original runs of Winnie the Pooh Off-Broadway.
MELISSA XIAOLAN WARREN (Ensemble) is excited to be on her first national tour. Recent credits include Abby from Gordan Ferrel's the Girls Who Walked on Glass and messenger/ensemble in a reading of Jow Baker and Ray Roberick's new musical, Brooklyn's Bridge. She is a graduate of the Circle in The Square Theatre School with a focus in musical theatre.
HANNAH LAUREN WILSON (Ensemble) is a NYC based actor originally from Portland, OR. She received her B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from Coastal Carolina University. As an avid Disney fan, she is thrilled to make her national tour debut with this show. Regional: Cry-Baby (Lenora), Loch Lomond (Ailey), Heathers (Heather McNamara), Liza! Liza! Liza! (Young Liza Minnelli), Blood Brothers (Linda), Avenue Q (Kate Monster).
ROSS COUGHLIN (Christopher Robin). National tour debut! Upstate NY native. Wagner College grad, BA Theatre Performance. Regional: The SpongeBob Musical (Patchy the Pirate, Arizona Broadway Theatre). Many thanks to his family, friends, and teachers for their endless support. To all seeing their very first show: Welcome to the Hundred Acre Wood!
JONATHAN ROCKEFELLER (Creator, Director) and Rockefeller Productions have received global acclaim for their productions of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show based on the books of renowned author/illustrator Eric Carle, and New York Times Critic’s Pick Paddington Gets in a Jam, both of which resulted in a Drama Desk and Off-Broadway Alliance nominations. In addition to the current national tour of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation, Rockefeller Productions are also the creators of Sesame Street the Musical, a brand new Off-Broadway stage adaption which premiered at NYC’s Theatre Row this fall.
Jonathan Rockefeller (Creator, Written by, Director)
Zach Pizza (Lighting Design)
Nate Edmondson (Sound Design, Compositions)
Jeff Guidice (Head of Production)
Mason Huse (Head of Touring; Production Supervisor)
Rebecca Johnston (Touring Production Stage Manager)
Vic Cairl (Director of Marketing & Ticketing)
Krista Robbins (Company Manager)
Produced by Rockefeller Productions
Tour Booked by Rockefeller Bookings: Josh Sherman (Head of Bookings)