The creator of The Pigeon series, Knuffle Bunny, and Elephant & Piggie, Mo will develop and present multidisciplinary programming and performances across the Kennedy Center including theater, jazz, dance, classical music, comedy, digital experience, and outreach over the next two years. Audiences will play, participate, and create with cross-genre experiences and world premieres seen nowhere else.
Highlights in Mo’s residency include the world premiere of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical); the world premiere orchestral rendition of Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs (a Symphonic Spectacular) with music composed by Kennedy Center Artistic Advisor Ben Folds for the National Symphony Orchestra; Mo Willems & the Storytime All-Stars present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!, a comedic celebration of reading; an interactive Jazz Doodle Jam! in partnership with Jazz Programming and Jason Moran; and more.
With a career spanning television, theater, books, and exhibits plus a ten-year association with the Kennedy Center, Mo is an exciting choice for this inaugural Artist-in-Residence. “I am thrilled by this opportunity,” says Mr. Willems. “I can’t wait to play and explore with the incredible talent available to the Kennedy Center while hopefully encouraging kids and the grown-ups in their lives to join in the fun.”
Author and Illustrator Mo Willems has been awarded the American Library Association’s Caldecott Honor three times for his picture book illustration. Additionally, he is the recipient of two Theodor Geisel Medals and five Geisel Honors for his Elephant & Piggie early readers. Mo began his career as a writer and animator on Sesame Street, where he garnered six Emmy Awards. His work has been exhibited around the world, including solo retrospectives at the High Museum in Atlanta and the New-York Historical Society. Over the last decade, Mo has written three musical theater works based on his books, two of which were commissioned and toured by the Kennedy Center. His papers reside at Yale University’s Beinecke Library.