Monkeys and meatballs.

"Curious George Live!" at Nassau Coliseum features both childhood favorites. It's "All You Can Eat Meatball Day" at Chef Pisghetti's Italian restaurant, but no one shows up. The customers have all gone across the street to try the new competitor: Phineas Lightspeed makes square meatballs with an instamatic meatball maker.

"I so sad," Chef Pisghetti declares, and vows never to cook again.

George decides he has to cheer up his friend, so he mails himself to Italy to enter Chef Pisghetti's meatballs in the international Golden Meatball competition. "We all get to follow George to Italy to try to track him down," says Shaun Rice, the actor who plays Chef Pisghetti.

ONSTAGE MONKEY BUSINESS

The Broadway-style musical marks the first time Curious George has hit the stage. Curious George was created in 1941, and has previously been featured in books, movies and a PBS television series.

"The format of the show is set up just like the TV show," Rice says. "George finds a problem and solves the problem."

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MUSIC . . . AND A PLOT

But while the TV show has just a theme song - yes, you'll be able to sing along at Curious George Live! - this production also has 16 songs. Unlike some children's shows about colors and numbers, this show is story driven, Rice says. "It has a plotline. There's a beginning, a middle and an end." It appeals most to the age 4-to-8 crowd, he says.

The show is nearing the end of the first season's tour, which was performed primarily in the Midwest. The second season kicks off in August, featuring the same story, and hits more of the East Coast, Rice says.

Will Chef Pisghetti garner the trophy - a huge golden meatball on a fork? Will he ever cook again? Will Phineas Lightspeed go back to making fuzzy dice, which is what his meatball machine originally produced? You'll have to buy a ticket to find out.


WHAT Curious George Live!

WHEN 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday

WHERE Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale

COST $15, $22, $27 and $37. $52 for Gold Circle Seats and $100 for Monkey Seats (which include a VIP seat and a preshow meet-and-greet photo opportunity with Curious George). A facility fee of $3.50 is added to all tickets.


TICKETS Ticketmaster 800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com


INFO 516-794-9300; curiousgeorge.com