Mo Willems is Kennedy Center Artist-in-Residence


The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced that Mo Willems-the beloved author and illustrator best known as the award-winning creator of The Pigeon series, Knuffle Bunny, and Elephant & Piggie-will serve as its first Education Artist-in-Residence.

Says Mo:

“Being a kid is serious work. Children are constantly told to be creative, work well with others, and try new things,” reflected Willems. “Talk about a challenge! Well, thanks to the Kennedy Center, I get to try to live up to those kid-standards by meeting and playing with an astounding array of artists in the worlds of dance, jazz, classical music, comedy, theater, and more. Our job will be to inspire each other to create exciting new work for you and the kids in your life. Maybe we’ll even get to collaborate with you. This is going to be fun!”

The Center and Willems have planned four major programs, including:


  • Mo Willems and the Storytime All-Stars present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!, a celebration of reading that features a cast of celebrity comedians performing sketch based on a selection of Willems’s books.

  • A world premiere musical theater adaptation of Willems’s Caldecott Honor book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, which will debut at the Kennedy Center and immediately embark on a national tour.

  • An interactive Jazz Doodle Jam!, hosted by Willems with curation by Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran.

  • In partnership with the National Symphony Orchestra, a concert adaptation of Willems’s book Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs (a Symphonic Spectacular) for actors and orchestra. Willems himself will write the book and direct the production, and NSO Artistic Advisor Ben Folds has been commissioned to write an original score.

It’s story time at Broadway World.