This holiday season, the Imagination Stage welcomes audiences to the festive musical Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: the Rock Experience. Mo Willems’ best-selling 2009 picture book Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed inspired this show. We attended the show to share all about it with you.
The show runs November 16 – January 8 and is best for ages 4+. Its message of acceptance and inclusion is meaningful any time of year, but even more so during the holiday season.
Do Naked Mole Rats Wear Clothes?
This rock musical follows Wilbur J. Mole Rat Jr. and his fellow naked mole rats. Because they live in a rocky tunnel under the earth they take their ‘rock’ very seriously. It is their musical genre and vibe, as well as their physical environment.
Suddenly, clothes fall from a hole in the ground above and Wilbur decides that clothes “make this mole whole.” He scandalizes all the cool kids by donning pants, and then doubles down by opening a clothing store.
Through a series of witty, silly, tuneful rock songs, the leader of the naked mole rats ultimately decides that each mole rat can choose whether to dress or remain naked. How do they celebrate? With a mole rat fashion show!
We loved this show. There is no better way to remind kids that to be true to themselves than through a rock musical. Our kids loved the refrain ‘why not?’. We love that we can say ‘why not?’ in our family and we all stop and think.
This performance raises the question is it a crisis or an opportunity? When we are faced with new realities that seem to challenge what we know how we frame it is huge. It is so important to model these situations as opportunities for our children. Acceptance is not reliant on conformity or understanding. This show was a lovely lesson in how to live and let live with compassion and kindness.
To Dress or Not to Dress?
Willems believes that “Wilbur does not ‘grow’ so much as the society around him does. The other naked mole rats learn to accept that naked mole rat culture and clothes do not necessarily clash. They learn to bend, to understand, to accept and every-mole becomes more fashionable for it, nude or not.”
Imagination Stage is the metro DC region’s largest professional theatre for children. Imagination Stage envisions a future where theatre experiences are a fundamental aspect of children’s lives, nourishing their creative spirit, inspiring them to embrace the complexity and diversity of their world, and helping them overcome their challenges with hope, courage and, above all, creativity.
Learn about Naked Mole Rats
The Smithsonian National Zoo is the Education Partner for Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed. They will be providing engaging content about naked mole rats in the theatre lobby for children to explore before or after the performance.
“We’re excited about the production of Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and partnering again with Imagination Stage to bring special benefits to our members. It is our hope that combining arts and science will delight, educate, and inspire young people to learn more about our naked mole-rat colony,” said Matt Cannella, Director of Advancement, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.
See Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: the Rock Experience
Catch a performance of Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed November 16 – January 8. General public performances are Saturdays and Sundays and special matinees during Thanksgiving week and the week between Christmas and New Years. The play is in the Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Theatre, is best for ages 4-10. Tickets are $12 – $36 (group rates available) and may be purchased online at imaginationstage.org or by phone at 301-280-1660.
Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience
Based on the book Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems
Published by Hyperion Books for Children
Script and Lyrics by Mo Willems
Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma
Directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer
November 16 – January 8
Imagination Stage has been holding camps, classes, and performances safely and successfully indoors since summer 2021 and believes that COVID-19 safety is paramount. Among the measures in place to keep audience members healthy:
- All actors and staff who come into contact with patrons are fully vaccinated.
- Everyone in the theatre age 2+ must wear a mask, in keeping with Actor’s Equity Association regulations.