'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.