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Lyle the Crocodile

Northwestern’s Imagine U family program a hit with children and adults

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A cheery, toe-tapping aquatic reptile will take children and their families on a musical adventure in the final production of the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University’s 2012 SummerStage season.

“Lyle the Crocodile,” adapted by Kevin Kling and based on the book by Bernard Waber, with music by Richard Gray, will be staged from July 20 to 29, at the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 5 p.m. Sunday.

Each performance will include an opportunity to meet with members of the Northwestern undergraduate student cast, plus the production of “Lyle” will feature pre- and post-show events such as Family Picnic Fridays, Pajama Saturdays, book drives and pajama drives.

Presented through TIC’s Imagine U Family Series and directed by Northwestern M.F.A. director John Michael DiResta, “Lyle the Crocodile” is the story of the lovable crocodile that appears in the bathtub of the Primm family’s Upper East Side New York apartment. Since he is smart and easy-going and offers to cook and clean and help with homework, Lyle wins the hearts of most everyone he meets, except for one grumpy neighbor and his reptile-fearing cat. But with one act of bravery and kindness, Lyle is able to help everyone set aside their differences.

 “Lyle” fans can expect to see some of their favorite stories in the production. Most musical numbers are based on episodes from the books, so the adventures, language and characters will be familiar to children and parents who have read the classic series. 

“There will be a sense of surprise in all corners of our production and the rules will be just slightly off kilter, as they are in a child’s imagination,” DiResta said. “We are telling a story that is replete with excitement, color and interesting, lovable people. We want audiences young and old to understand that there are limitless possibilities to the world we live in.”

Imagine U programming is recommended for children aged 5 to 10 and their families.

“The Imagine U series is designed as a special opportunity for families to experience the joy of live theatre by taking beloved stories from the page to the stage,” said Jim Davis, Imagine U producing director. “This summer, we are adding such community-outreach events as a book drive, in partnership with Open Books, and a pajama drive, in partnership with the Gurnee Chapter of the Pajama Program. With these events, we hope that children will begin to learn the importance of sharing with their communities."

Imagine U programs are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

General admission for children and adults is $10; $5 tickets are available exclusively to Northwestern students with a valid ID on advance ticket purchases only. Tickets can be purchased through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or online at



All performance dates/times

Imagine U is excited to bring “Lyle the Crocodile”from the page to the stage this summer. In partnership with Open Books, a nonprofit social venture that promotes literacy, Imagine U will be collecting gently used and new books for Open Books’ reading and writing programs that help out students of all ages throughout Chicago. Audiences may bring any books they would like to donate during any “Lyle the Crocodile” performance.


Friday, July 20, & Friday, July 27, 6-6:45 p.m.

Sculpture Garden Lawn (located across from the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, Evanston)

Celebrate the summer weather with Imagine U each Friday before “Lyle the Crocodile”. Activities will include face painting, arts and crafts and games. Made possible through a generous donation from Whole Foods Market, wrap platters, fresh fruit, vegetables and natural beverages will be provided. Families are welcome to bring additional snacks and blankets for lawn seating. This event is free but limited to the first 50 registrants. Advance registration required. To register, visit or call the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282.


Saturday, July 21, & Saturday, July 28, 10 a.m. performance

Imagine U is throwing a Saturday morning pajama party. Audiences attending the 10 a.m. performances can roll out of bed and come to the show in their pajamas. In partnership with The Pajama Program, a non-profit organization that provides new pajamas to children in group homes, shelters and temporary housing, Imagine U will also be collecting new pajamas at both Saturday morning performances, which will be given to Evanston-area children in need. 


Saturday, July 21, & Saturday, July 28, following the 10 a.m. performance

Being a crocodile in New York City can be a very strange experience. Come explore the world of Lyle the Crocodile and the different ways bodies move for different animals. Following the Saturday 10 a.m. performances, families are encouraged to participate along with kids to draw, imagine and swampity stomp their way around NYC with Lyle. This event is free, but limited to 30 children and 60 parents total. Advance registration recommended. To register, visit or call the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282.


Sunday, July 22, & Sunday, July 29, following the 2 p.m. performance

Sometimes the hero in a story don't always choose the safest option. The Evanston Fire Department will be on hand after the 2 p.m. Sunday performances of “Lyle the Crocodile” to give an exclusive demonstration about fire safety and explain the best way to help a cat that is stuck up a tree. This event is free and open to the public. No reservations required.

CONSTRUCTION ALERT: A three-year construction project underway on the southeast end of the Northwestern University campus has closed the Arts Circle Drive to traffic. Free parking for evening and weekend events remains available, but the project will impact handicap parking and patrons requiring special access to Evanston campus theaters. Visit to learn more.

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