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Winnie the Pooh and his gang spread a lot of joy, a little hunny

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Deep in the hundred-acre forest (Athens) where Christopher Robin plays (where Bobcats go to school), you’ll find the enchanted neighborhood (Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium) from Christopher’s childhood.

That’s right, the most iconic Pooh Bear — and perhaps the only Pooh Bear — of all time appeared on MemAud Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in “Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation.” Accompanied by his loyal friends Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo and Owl, Winnie the Pooh sang about what it means to be a friend and how to find the greatest joy in life: hunny.

Athens residents, Ohio University students, and anyone willing to take the ride watched in awe as the magical characters, originally created by English author AA Milne, came to life. Staying true to the premise that the characters are Christopher Robin’s stuffed animals, the onstage characters were quite large puppets controlled by the actors behind them.

Whether the audience was there to watch Tigger bounce across the stage (because bouncing is what Tiggers do best) or to hear Eeyore’s terribly monotonous cadence (“ohhh-kayyy”), it’s safe to say that there was a good turnout of Winnie the Pooh fanatics. The room buzzed with excitement as the audience took their seats.

Winnie the Pooh and best friend Piglet were for sale at the performance.

Stuffed animals of favorite characters could be seen dancing and twirling in the air, as well as a host of homemade Winnie the Pooh merchandise, including crochet hats and a homemade Tigger costume complete with ears and a tail. Many noises were heard throughout the performance, including, but not limited to, the occasional sob, chatter, and lots of giggles.

While the general demographic of the audience was definitely aimed at the younger generation, some attendees proved that the love for Winnie the Pooh doesn’t stop when one just grows up.

This was proven in OU alumna and mom, Robin Gray. After getting the tickets to her two daughters’ musical for Christmas, Gray said she was thrilled to be back on campus and watch the beloved classic.

“They were two of my favorite things: Athena and Winnie the Pooh,” she said laughing, holding her own plush Pooh Bear.

The electrical excitement continued throughout the performance, coming to a head during the climax when poor Pooh got stuck in a tree after eating too much honey. Fortunately, Tigger, Piglet and Rabbit all worked together to untie Pooh and make sure he was safe and sound.

For Amelia Marino, a freshman studying psychology, Winnie the Pooh represents family and childhood memories. She said her brother is a super fan and her whole family had plans to drive and see the musical, but unfortunately they couldn’t make it. Despite this, they told her to go out and see it, and she said she really enjoyed the show.

She said that on family trips to Disney World, her family would always head for “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” ride. She said even their interiors reflect their love of the classic story.

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“In our house, you’ve lost count of how many Winnie-the-Pooh things there are,” Marino said.

Another fan, Mal King, made the trip from West Virginia after hearing about the musical on TikTok and subsequently received the tickets as a birthday present.

King said she is most closely related to the character Eeyore, even going so far as to go to Disney — or dress up as a tribute to a character — as him, wearing a blue cardigan, gray undershirt and a lilac scrunchie.

“I certainly tried to surround him on offense,” said King.

As the audience exited MemAud and took to the night air, smiles appeared on their faces as attendees recounted their favorite parts of the musical and hummed the recent tunes.

After all, Winnie the Pooh said it best: “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most space in your heart.”

@alyssadanccruz

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