It's nearly impossible to not know about The Wiggles. With a TV show airing in more than 120 countries, 27 video/DVD releases, 12 sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and their own amusement park (Wiggles World at Dreamworld in Australia), The Wiggles are everywhere-and have been loved by millions of children for the last 20 years.
Yes, you read that correctly. The Wiggles have been making children sing and dance for 20 years, and to celebrate they are heading to the U.S. and Canada on their Big Birthday Tour. Sam (Yellow), Murray (Red), Jeff (Purple) and Anthony (Blue) can't wait to celebrate with their biggest, err, littlest, fans, and they're bringing along their friends Captain Feathersword, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, Wags the Dog and the Wiggly Dancers.
Want to celebrate with The Wiggles? Enter to win a 4-pack of tickets!
The Wiggles are taking over Rosemont Theatre on July 30 with shows at 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. To get ready, Chicago Parent talked with Murray Cook to find out more about the group and the big birthday party.
When you co-founded The Wiggles with Anthony Field and Greg Page (who left the group in 2006), what did you hope The Wiggles would do for kids? Why did you want to create a children's music group?
We weren't really intending to do something ongoing. We were preschool teachers and when we finished university we felt we should use what we had learned. We recorded an album appropriate for young children. It started to sell and we did a few little shows and it built and built. Our main aim was to help children experience the joy of music. We've written a lot of songs to help children with development. There is an educational background; we try to put in songs a positive message, like healthy eating ("Fruit Salad"), and elements used in teaching. There's also entertainment and fun.
When The Wiggles first started out, did you believe it would become the phenomenon it is today?
A: No, we thought it was going to be one album. We are constantly surprised by the success that we have had and we never take it for granted. We feel privileged to do what we do. When we moved to touring other parts of the world (after singing throughout Australia), we were blown away.
On this upcoming tour The Wiggles are celebrating their 20th birthday. What does reaching that milestone mean to you?
Twenty years is a long time to be doing anything and doing what we do, in the entertainment field, it's a real achievement. We feel proud of what we've done and amazed by what's happened in the 20 years. It's a celebration for us to have done what we love doing for so long.
What is your favorite part of being a member of The Wiggles?
One is playing in the live shows-walking out on stage and seeing the joy on children's faces. The other part I love is we often do meet-and-greets before shows, usually for families with children with special needs. To hear the families' stories and know you've made their lives easier or happier, that's really rewarding. It's really wonderful.
What can parents and kids expect from the show coming up in Chicago?
It's mostly going over the last 20 years and what people love the most. There will be the usual Wiggles things: lots of songs, our characters will be there and we have extra dancers. There will be some acrobatics. It's elements of music, theater and circus. We actually are having a competition to find the fifth Wiggle. In each city we'll get someone up on stage who has sent us a video and they can get up and sing "Fruit Salad" with us. (To enter, visit youtube.com/thewiggles. The deadline for Chicago's concert is July 16. Entrants must be 18 or older.)
Anna Carlson is an intern at Chicago Parent.