Diego Live! Reviews

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New York, New York
The New York Post

Our cub reporter goes head to head with her hero

By Lisa and Lillian Mabel Marsh
Published March 22, 2008

Diego's back! The cousin of Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer is coming back to Radio City Music Hall with his posse of pals--Dora, sister Alicia, the Bobos, Baby Jaguar and Boots the monkey--for a new live adventure.

In "The Great jaguar Adventure," Diego and company have their work cut out for them--trying to help Baby Jaguar get his growl back from those mischievous monkeys, the Bobos.

Cut reporter (and devoted Diego fan) Lillian Mabel Marsh, age 2 , checked in with her hero for some background.

Why are the Bobos always causing trouble? Is it because they're curious, like Curious George?
The Bobos are spider monkeys and they're some of the smartest monkeys in the world, so yes, they really are curious like George. The thing that gets them into trouble is that they always want to have fun and aren't very careful.

Have the Bobos ever met him?
They're big fans of his and love to read his books, but no, they haven't seen Curious George face to face yet. Or even tail to tail.

What do you keep in your Rescue Pack? And which pack is better equipped, yours or Dora's?
It's not what I have inside Rescue Pack, it's what it can turn into! Dora's Backpack has anything she needs inside, even ice cream. My Rescue Pack can turn into anything we need, even an ice cream truck. So I think Rescue Pack is better. But Dora may disagree.

Speaking of Dora, there's been talk on the playground--is she your cousin or your girlfriend. Dora's a girl and she's my friend, but she is not my girlfriend. She's also mi prima--my cousin.

Is Alicia jealous?
She's not jealous at all--she's my sister.

Right! So what do you want to be when you grow up?
A scientist like my mami and papi.

When you're in New York, what's your favorite thing to do?
I love to visit the museum with all the dinosaur bones. It's my favorite place.

Baby Jaguar is my favorite. Can he come live with me?
Baby Jaguar needs to live in a place where there are lots of trees for him to scratch, to sharpen his claws. Does your house have trees inside?

Not yet!

New York, New York
New York Newsday

Go, Nicole, Go! at Radio City

By Caryn Eve Murray
Published March 26, 2008

Even drenched by a downpour, the suburbs of Nicole Borbely's native West Hempstead could never have come close to resembling the rainforest she's now completely at home in--at least onstage--playing an adventurous, 11-year-old nature-loving computer whiz named Alicia.

The character is one of several in the traveling musical "Go, Diego, Go!" based on the popular Nickelodeon kids' TV program featuring a young animal rescuer as its hero, and Alicia, his older sister, as sidekick and helper. The rainforest takes root, at least temporarily, in Manhattan today through Sunday, when the show plays Radio City Music Hall.

Actress Borbely, 24, who now lives in Manhattan, still recalls what it was like being an 11-year-old girl. But, beyond that, her convincing transformation into Alicia was something of a challenge--a real case of "Go, Nicole, Go!"

Creature comfort. On TV, Alicia and Diego are known for various travels that find them pulling otters, elephants, iguanas, prairie dogs, turtles and penguins from the jaws of danger. "Growing up on Long Island, I didn't have any animals around," she said. Well, maybe a goldfish. And at 6 or 7, she did help her aunt try to save a baby squirrel.

Sisterly love. She is, like Alicia, a big sister. But in her case, the younger sibling is female--Alexandra, 21. And Alexandra doesn't swing from vines or ride on rafts: She is enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Worldly words. Spanish comes naturally to Diego, Alicia and their cousin Dora. Not so for Borbely, whose father, Joseph, was born in Hungary. Her mother, Adrienne, is of Greek heritage.

Friends in deed. As cousins and best pals, Alicia and Dora wear friendship bracelets symbolizing their bond. Borbely's best bud for most of her life has been Lauren Cavallaro of New Hyde Park, who is now a grad student. The pair, along with a few other friends, wore the symbol of their allegiance to one another a few years ago in the form of identical bright green St. Patrick's shamrock T-shirts.

On the wild side. Jungle adventures are second nature to Alicia, Diego and Dora. Borbely believes "safety" and safari go hand in paw. Last year, while visiting the zoo in Singapore, she took a nighttime safari, riding in the relative safety of vehicles that resembled golf carts. "there are no cages or anything, it is completely without barriers," she said. "The lions are out in the open with no guardrail or fencing." Diego of course was nowhere in sight, but, fortunately, no one--human or animal--needed rescuing.

Bergen County, New Jersey
The Record

Audience kids help Baby Jaguar recover his voice

By Terecille Basa-Ong
Published March 21, 2008

Ask any preschooler who his favorite cartoon character is, and chances are you'll get either Dora, of the Nick Jr. show "Dora the Explorer," or Diego of the Dora spinoff "Go, Diego, Go!"

Diego teaches viewers how to say common phrases in Spanish during his quests through the jungles of Latin America to save animals in danger. In the live show, he must help Baby Jaguar, whose growl is stolen by the Bobo brothers as he is on his way to the annual Animal Carnivale, and without the growl the festivities can't begin.

Kids in the audience are asked to play along and help Baby jaguar, even getting jaguar masks to wear.

"So much is audience interaction; it's one of the greatest things with this show," says Daisy Castellucci, a "Diego" multi-tasker who juggles a puppeteer and Baby Jaguar in Act 1, then a Coco Nut and Baby Jaguar once again in Act 2. "It's built to hold the kids' attention so they're not just sitting there and being quiet; they're told to get up and jump and be physical and active. They're a part of the show, and if it weren't for them, we wouldn't be able to accomplish what we need."

A native of Chester, Castellucci credits the Hackettstown-based Centenary Stage Company and it Young Performers Workshop, which she attended in high school, with "giving me the tools to...figure out that I definitely wanted to do theater professionally."

After graduating with a theater degree from Montclair State University, she performed in various regional theaters and, most recently, in a European tour of "Grease" before joining "Diego," which is her first children's show and national tour.

"It's definitely different from any other show I've done because it's a kids show," she explains. "It's vibrant, and there's a really high, high energy. We run into the audience and get the kids excited, get the audience going. And it's really exciting how kids respond. When they're told to hold up their masks and growl for Baby Jaguar or when the coconut trees ask them to get up and jump and dance, they do it right away."

What does she love about the production? "The coconut trees--they're really fun!" Castellucci says. And her favorite song? "Silly Rainforest River," where "the scenery and everything that's going on, the river deck and the animals popping out of the water to start singing, is really amazing visually.

She feels that way about the rest of the production as well. "The costumes, puppets and story line are great. There's such a high caliber," Castellucci says. "This is a spectacular, wonderfully done kids show.


A terrific first "live" experience for little ones.

by Amy Hayden

Kids who have fallen in love with Diego, Alicia, and Dora on Nick Jr.'s popular television show Go, Diego, Go! won't be disappointed in this live stage production. It's jam-packed with interactive musical numbers, and children are encouraged to participate by singing, dancing, and answering plenty of questions about science and animals.

The 90-minute bilingual (Spanish and English) show follows Diego on his quest to help a baby jaguar get his growl back. The children in the audience are issued jaguar masks--at no additional charge--so kids really feel they're part of the action.

The production has one 20-minute intermission, and kids spend enough time dancing in the aisle that sitting still isn't much of a problem. The language and science educational aspects of the show, and the excellent production values, make it a terrific first "live" experience for little ones.

New York, New York
Entertainment Weekly Online

Jumping, growling, clawing, and, for good measure, the cha-cha

By Eileen Clarke
Published April 11, 2007

"Do you like animals?" asks Alicia, the energetic older sister of a certain someone who has yet to make his entrance. "I love animals." And it's clear from the audience's roar--or, rather, from the growls and jaguar claws popping up in the crowd of tiny fans--that most of the participants do too. Shortly after, Alicia greets everyone in Radio City Music Hall with a robust song of "Buenos Dias," and her famous brother, Diego the animal rescuer, enters the rainforest stage via hang glider.

If there's no one under 36 inches living in your household, a wee explanation: The dynamic duo on stage are the live-action versions of characters from Nick Jr.'s animated Go, Diego, Go!, the popular Dora the Explorer spin-off that debuted in 2005. Diego and Alicia do a fine enough job keeping everyone focused on the task at hand--the Bobo brothers, a mischievous pair of spider monkeys, have bottled Baby Jaguar's growl and hightailed it out of the forest, and it's up to them to try to get it back in time for Baby Jaguar to sound off at the Animal Carnivale. Apparently, the show's creators know the secret to engaging toddlers: Keep 'em busy! So before the audience has time to create that unintentional wave that is the norm for kids' shows--seats being vacated for bathroom breaks, crying fits, and emergency cotton-candy runs--the on-stage talent is leading the chorus and the rest of the audience with calls for jumping, growling, clawing, and, for good measure, the cha-cha, conga, and merengue (the coconut trees get a gold star for cha-cha).

And yes, Diego's muy famosa cousin, Dora, does appear in the show's second half via swinging vine, though this slender creature could maybe use a little padding to appear a little more like her 2-D counterpart. Nevertheless, the Great Jaguar Rescue comes to a satisfying end with a rousing Carnivale and a perfect capper to rouse those who may have miraculously napped their way past intermission: a sprinkling from a real snow machine.

Boston, Massachusetts
The Boston Globe

On the prowl for a growl in Go, Diego, Go Live!

By Sally Cragin
Globe Correspondent
Published March 23, 2007

The rain forest depicted in "Go, Diego, Go Live! The Great Jaguar Rescue" at the Opera House is a colorful, cheerful place. Sloths loll on tree branches, tree frogs peep out picturesquely among the greenery, and every critter is adorably big-eyed. So are the live-action protagonists of this lively and upbeat musical revue based on Nickelodeon's massively successful preschool show Go, Diego, Go.

The plot is just enough for very little ones to understand. Baby Jaguar, Diego's boon companion, has had his growl stolen by the Bobo Brothers, a pair of mischievous howler monkeys. Somehow they've stuck it in a jar, and it's up to Diego, an intrepid child naturalist, along with his sister Alicia and cousin Dora, to restore Baby Jaguar's rightful voice. Only then can the Animal Carnivale begin.

The values espoused--everyone's special, happiness is good, and you can do anything if you try--are delivered with a light touch and good humor. And as entertainment geared for tots, Joel Someillan and George Noriega's tunes are bright and simple: a little salsa, a little hip-hop, a touch of surf rock. Richie Portela's Diego, Kirsten Day's Alicia, and Melanie Mendez's Dora are energetic and genuine--no small feat given that they're representing animated characters.

The puppets are equally winning. These were created by Martin P. Robinson, best known for the gigantic carnivorous "Audrey II" plant in "Little Shop of Horrors." There's no malevolence in this menagerie of cuddly jungle beasts, which are activated using a variety of techniques including hand puppetry and stick manipulation (the sloths have camouflaged puppeteers operating long poles). The scale seems just about right for the enormous Opera House stage, with enough action to keep the attention of the youngest viewers.

Adult theatergoers may be surprised to hear that the director is Gip Hoppe, best known for brilliantly satirical comedies including "Jackie: An American Life" (based on Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis). But Hoppe also directed the stage revue of "Dora the Explorer," and he clearly has a talent for a genial perkiness that's smart and sweet, not cloying or overbearing. That's no small triumph in the realm of big-business family entertainment.

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago Tribune

Interactive, appealing 'Go, Diego, Go' rocks our world

By Chris Jones
Tribune theater critic
Published February 23, 2007

"Hola!" says the perky young actress Kirsten Day, right at the top of "Go, Diego, Go Live!" "I'm Alicia."

At the Rosemont Theatre Tuesday night, that warm greeting was followed by an uncomfortable pause. As every television-watching 4-year-old knows, Alicia is the sister of the animal rescuer Diego and a relative of Dora, of exploring fame. Alicia is 11 years old. Alicia is a cartoon. Day, demonstrably, came in one too many dimensions.

But theater can work magic on a preschooler--and it didn't take long for the kids to warm to this new Alicia, or to the well-coifed Diego, or to the human Rescue Pack. Thank heavens Nickelodeon didn't send this show out with people in fake-cartoon masks--and, believe me, I've seen such atrocities committed in the name of brand extension.

"Go, Diego" has more integrity. It's a genuinely interactive and appealing theater show with an original score, a lively young cast, cheerful rainforest settings, appealing puppet animals and a decent little story wherein Diego helps Baby Jaguar get his growl back. It's not "The Lion King," nor anywhere close. But unlike a lot of similar big-scale kids' shows--the wretched "Sesame Street Live," incredibly, being the most egregious recent offender--this is not a pumped-up kiddy-rock show relying entirely on a child's prior relationship with its characters. "Go, Diego" works whether or not your kids watch Nickelodeon. It tells its small story on its own terms.

You also don't have to wander through a merchandising maze. Take note, greedy competing producers: Nickelodeon has the decency not to have wandering vendors in the house, sticking overpriced bits of plastic in kids' faces and blackmailing parents. Instead, there are free Diego photos in the lobby, and everyone gets the Baby Jaguar mask you need to take part in the show.

The ever-cheerful Diego and Dora can drive parents crazy on a premature weekend morning. But these nature experts deserve respect. They honor the Spanish language--a godsend for parents who have to live with their kids growing up speaking a different tongue. They preach an ecological message. And the multiple-choice plots are based mostly on scientific context and deductive reasoning. Those elements abound in this chirpy show, which had its pint-sized patrons singing, jumping, shouting and generally enjoying being inside a real theater.

Louisville, Kentucky
The Courier-Journal

'Go, Diego' will have fun, surprises for everyone

By Christa Ritchie
Published January 28, 2007

Dora the Explorer is headed to town for the third time to kick off a national tour at the Louisville Palace. But this time it's her animal-loving cousin, Diego, who will steal the spotlight. And a young actress from Southern Indiana is one of the featured players in the world premiere.

"Go, Diego, Go Live! The Great Jaguar Rescue" opens at the Palace Thursday. The production is based on Nickelodeon's top-rated preschool television series "Go, Diego, Go!"

This new live-action show follows Diego, his older sister Alicia and cousin Dora through the rainforest on an action-packed mission to get Baby Jaguar's growl back from the Bobo Brothers.

"The children have really just responded to him (Diego), and we just thought it would make a great live show," said Gip Hoppe, the show's director.

Both "Dora the Explorer Live!: Search for the City of Lost Toys" and "Dora the Explorer Live!: Dora's Pirate Adventure" kicked off their world premieres at the Palace and were also directed by Hoppe.

"The Palace is a beautiful theater, and we just love it there, so we keep going back," he said.

Kirsten Day, who will play Alicia, couldn't be more thrilled that the show is making its debut in Louisville.

The 24-year-old actress is a native of Covington, Ky., who grew up in Southern Indiana before moving to New York City to pursue acting. She's the daughter of Jackie and the late Sam Day of Georgetown, Ind., and is a graduate of Floyd Central High School and Ball State University.

"When they said we open in Louisville, I started screaming on the phone. I know I hurt the ears of whoever was on the other line," Day said. "I just screamed, and I was, like, it's fate."

Day said she has known she wanted to be an actress since "forever" and was even featured on David Letterman's show as a kid inventor. When she was 9, her school held an Invention Convention, and she created a Diaper Changing Gas Mask. The late-night show got wind of her clever creation and spotlighted her on the program.

"It was amazing. ... It was the best experience a 9-year-old could ever have," she said.

Now she's excited to be a part of her second national tour.

"It's actually the biggest job of my life," Day said. "I don't know if it can get any better. ... I'm so happy right now."

One of the most spectacular scenes in "Go, Diego, Go Live!" involves the Animal Carnivale near the end of the show. That's when all the characters will gather around a party volcano for a celebration.

"It will erupt with confetti and balloons. It's going to be quite a wild party," Hoppe said.

And, since Diego is an animal rescuer, the audience will see animal puppets in all sizes representing creatures from all over the world, including an elephant, giraffe, sloth, owl, panda bear, harpy eagle and more.

As in past Dora shows, audience interaction will play a major role in the production.

Hoppe promises "there's even going to be dancing in the aisles and all kinds of wild stuff." Characters will come out to the audience and teach parents and children such popular Latin dances as the mamba, conga and merengue.

"Go, Diego, Go Live!" will try to teach children a little something too.

"They are bilingual shows. We speak in English, but we teach the audience Spanish," Day said. "It also teaches that everyone is unique in their own way."

Day is quick to point out that audiences will be wowed with lots of special treats throughout the show.

"There's going to be lots of surprises," she said. "I don't want to ruin anything ... but it's great fun for everyone."

After Louisville, the show will travel across the United States, visiting cities including Indianapolis, Nashville, Cleveland, Detroit and New York City, before wrapping up at the beginning of July.