Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Mo Willems
Publisher: Music Theatre International
Acts or Scenes: 3 Acts
Estimated Runtime: 75 minutes
Number of Characters: 18
Cast Requirements: 6+ male or female
Time Period: Present Day
Production Requirements: simple set portraying underground tunnels, Naked Mole Rat body suit costumes, sound requirements for music.
The Naked Mole Rats love being naked, playing rock music, and being the same as everyone else. Each morning begins with the same groovy song and dance that celebrates their nudity followed by a predictable day in the tunnel. Until one day, when Wilbur the naked mole rat gets tired of it all and discovers CLOTHES. When a hat, followed by a complete outfit, falls from the sky Wilbur gets dressed and finds that getting dressed was the thing missing in his life. His friends meet his happiness with shock and disgust. How could anyone go around not naked? They attempt to bring him back to the naked fold by threatening a meeting with their leader, Grand-Pah, but Wilbur refuses to give up the happiness he has found. Grand-Pah deliberates, and returns wearing a snazzy seersucker suit, decreeing that all Naked Mole Rats have the choice to wear, (or decidedly not wear,) whatever makes them happy. The result is happiness, understanding, open minds, and gasp – the option of some Opera music!
The whimsy and style of the charming book Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed comes to life on the stage. Characters have been fleshed out and catchy, clever songs have been added. These additions, along with Willems signature humor work together to create a fun-filled hour for both children and parents. Expanding on themes present in the book, tolerance is taught as the Naked Mole Rats slowly learn that being different is OK and that individuality can be celebrated. Wilbur’s bravery in trying something new and staying strong in the face of opposition and some bullying can lead to a good post-show discussion. An important note from the author reads, “While at first glance this musical may seem like a ‘coming out’ story, this is, in fact, a ‘letting in’ story.” An apt remark, the show is rather a celebration of differences and the way those differences can create a brighter, happier community.