One of Daniel Jared Hersh’s favorite moments in the new, live show for preschoolers, “The Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure,” happens the minute he takes the stage.
His Captain Barnacles character is the first one from the hit animated Disney Jr. TV show to appear to the audience. “Right away, the kids explode into applause,” he says.
He assumes that will be the case on Saturday, Nov. 26, as well, when he and his team of animals who seek to “Explore, Rescue and Protect” the ocean and its marine life come to Tilles Center in Brookville for one show.
SONG AND DANCE
The Octonauts are a group of eight animals — Captain Barnacles, for instance, is a polar bear — who travel the seas in their Ocotpod and don special bubblelike helmets that let them enter the water during missions.
“It reminds me of ‘Star Trek’ for kids underwater,” says Hersh, a 26-year-old actor from Southern California. “It’s got the same concept. Captain Barnacles is like Captain Kirk. Kwazii [the kitten] is like Spock.” Other characters include Dr. Shellington the sea otter and Prof. Inkling the octopus.
During the live show, the characters teach the audience to be human “Octo-cadets” to aid the Octonaut team. Unlike the TV show, the live show — about 90 minutes with one intermission — includes more than a half-dozen songs, such as “We Are the Octonauts” and “Friends Come Together.” During the latter, “it ends up being a big dance party, with kids in the aisles dancing,” Hersh says.
The live show is true theater — it’s the actors’ own voices, and not a prerecorded voice-over. “I have to emulate exactly how he sounds in the cartoon,” Hersh says, mirroring his character’s deep voice and British accent.
FIRST U.S. TOUR
This is the first time a live Octonauts show has come to the United States; it’s adapted from a show that toured the United Kingdom in the past, says Jonathan Shank, executive producer. The U.S. tour started in September in San Diego and ends in December in Miami.
“For right now, we have 60 shows,” Shank says. “We are looking at doing another run next year in the spring or the fall. It’ll probably be the same script.”
The plot of the show: The Octonauts are alerted to an undersea volcano that might erupt, and they travel there to help rescue sea creatures in jeopardy.
They meet two blobfish (yes, there really is such a creature; it lives off the coasts of mainland Australia and Tasmania, as well as in the waters of New Zealand). Though blobfish in the real world have been voted the world’s ugliest fish, in the show they are witty and cute, Shank and Hersh say. Both puffy pink blobfish are named Bob, and they are missing their third brother, also named Bob, so the Octonauts aid them in their search.
Another of Hersh’s favorite scenes is when the stage is dark and black lights and UV puppets bring an underwater scene to life. “It literally looks like there are fish swimming across the stage,” he says. “It’s visually amazing.”
WHAT “The Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure”
WHEN | WHERE 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville
INFO $32.50, $42.50 or $52.50; 516-299-3100, tillescenter.org