Creative Theater with a Purpose

Kohl’s Wild Theater is made possible by a partnership between Kohl’s, the Milwaukee County Zoo, and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. This educational and fun-filled program offers conservation-themed theater performances using drama, songs and puppetry to engage and delight audiences young and old. Kohl’s Wild Theater performs for children and their families at the Milwaukee County Zoo and also travels to schools, festivals and community events, all free of charge.

Kohls Wild Theater Intro

See Kohl’s Wild Theater at the Zoo

Kohl’s Wild Theater offers family-friendly, 15-minute performances at the Zoo between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, right inside the Northwestern Mutual Family Farm. Don’t forget to look for our interactive, at-exhibit performances around the Zoo at 9:15-9:45 a.m., 11-11:30 a.m., 12:45-1:15 p.m. and 2:30-3 p.m.

Our summer 2021 lineup:

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Bee

Grab your fedoras, gumshoes, because Jo Appletree, Milwaukee’s most hard-boiled detective, is on the case! When Buzz, a rusty patched bumblebee, goes missing, Detective Appletree must navigate the seedy underbelly of the pollinator world to catch his culprit and bring Buzz home safe. In this family-friendly, film noir adventure, audiences will learn where their food comes from and what role Wisconsin pollinators like bees and butterflies play in their daily lives.

Book by Melanie Wehrmacher and Zach Woods

Rear Hippo

Jimmy and Grace, a nesting pair of hamerkop birds, lived a quiet life until Thorwald moved in down the river. He’s large, only comes out at night, and can fling poop up to 32 feet in any direction! The neighbors might be fooled, but Jimmy won’t rest until he exposes Thorwald for the troublemaker he is! Developed in celebration of the Milwaukee County Zoo’s new Hippo Haven exhibit, this Alfred Hitchcock parody will highlight the hippopotamus as a keystone species and teach audiences about the many benefits they provide to the other animals in their habitat.

Book and Lyrics by Kelly Doherty
Music and Additional Lyrics by Jonathon Gideon

Bring Kohl’s Wild Theater to You

Throughout the year, Kohl’s Wild Theater brings live, educational, family-friendly shows to schools, libraries and various community events within 60-miles of the Zoo, completely free of charge.

Questions? Contact us at KWT@zoosociety.org or call 414-258-5058 ext. 404.

Our current traveling performances are:

The Legend of the Trash Monster
Clock Teal June 19-Dec. 22, 2021 (virtual only)

By Brittany Curran, Kelly Doherty, Doug Jarecki, John Tanner, and Melanie Wehrmacher

As the sun sets over the Wisconsin woods, a rowdy band of scouts gather for the nightly meeting of the Silly Scary Stories Club. Audiences will assist the storytellers as they strive to outdo their friends and weave the creepiest yarn around the campfire. But which tale will be the scariest: the kid who threw trash on the ground, the bodybuilders who wasted food, or the royal badger and his selfish king? “Reduce, reuse, and recycle” are the lessons at the heart of this family-friendly variety show. The Legend of the Trash Monster will be available in a virtual format only. Performance Length: 40 minutes.

Request a Performance

Monkeys in the Middle
Clock Teal Oct. 4-Jan. 27, 2022

By Reva Fox, Doug Jarecki, Christopher Orth, Paula Foley Tillen, and Zach Woods

There’s monkey business abound in this hilarious double feature. First, audiences will join superhero Captain Superfantastic on a daring adventure around the globe. Will the Captain and his sidekick reach the African rainforest in time to save it from the villainous Coltan? Find out in Captain Superfantastic and the Coltan Conundrum! Next, audiences will help internet sensations Chet the Grumpy Cat and Phoenix the “Doge” take their website, #Pets, to the next level. They’ll need some serious “likes” to keep trending, but a mischievous cotton top tamarin monkey may complicate matters. Concepts presented include electronics recycling, pet care and responsible internet usage. Most appropriate for grades K-5 and families with children of all ages. Monkeys in the Middle will be available in-person and virtually. Performance Length: 40 minutes.

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Welcome to the Zoo!
Clock Teal Jan. 31-May 20, 2022

By Erica Berman and John Tanner

Solitary student Skylar Schultz is on a school trip to the Zoo. After a mysterious encounter with a wise river turtle, Skylar is transformed into a Humboldt penguin, a zebra and a river otter. Skylar learns that in order to return to human form, one must “wade with the waddle,” “doze with the dazzle” and “roll with the romp.” With the help of some colorful animals and a caring zookeeper, Skylar learns to overcome a fear of interacting with others. This interactive musical meets social-emotional learning standards by exploring the connections between young people, zookeepers and animals. Most appropriate for grades K-5th. Welcome to the Zoo! will be available in-person and virtually. Performance Length: 45 minutes.

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All Feelings Great and Small
Clock Teal Feb. 28-May 20, 2022

By Tom Bebeau and Brett Ryback

Lucy is struggling to connect with the new family dog until, through the magic of empathy, she finds herself walking a mile in her pup’s paws – all four of them! During this musical, audiences will come to understand the basic principles of animal empathy as Lucy and Willow the dog learn to look at the world through a different set of eyes. Featured animals include dogs, elephants and spiders. Most appropriate for grades 2nd-5th. All Feelings Great and Small will be available in-person and virtually. Performance Length: 45 minutes.

Request a Performance

Upcoming Kohl’s Wild Theater Shows

No Events

Kohl’s Wild Theater also performs at many festivals and other venues open to the public. See what’s going on in our community:

Events

Our Cast & Crew

Kohl’s Wild Theater employs professional actors, screenwriters, composers, and designers. This team of dedicated performers and educators are passionate about spreading the message of conservation and animal science through interactive, engaging, and entertaining plays for children and their families.

Meet the Kohl’s Wild Theater Cast & Crew

Interested in joining our team?

To be considered for a future contract, send your resume to KWT@zoosociety.org. Writers and composers should send two writing/music samples. Writing samples should be under 10 pages and should be from a play or musical for young audiences.

Careers

Tall Border

Upcoming auditions:

No auditions currently scheduled.