Those of you with preschoolers need no introduction to the Wiggles, who arrive in town with their “Go Bananas Live!” tour on Saturday. The rest of us, though, need a brief primer. Jeff – aka the Purple Wiggle – was happy to provide us with one, via telephone.
“A Wiggles concert is really like a Broadway show for preschoolers,” said Jeff Fatt, who has been a Wiggle for 18 years. “There are lots of songs, lots of dances and lots of interaction.
“We model a lot of songs with very simple dances. There are lots of things for parents to enjoy as well.”
Take, for instance, a song called “The Monkey Dance,” which is a good example of the group’s style. The four Wiggles (Purple, Red, Yellow and Blue) sing a simple song about animals and lead the kids in dances that imitate monkeys, elephants and tigers.
The Wiggles will be joined on the INB Performing Arts Center stage by several other characters who have become mainstays of their albums, videos and TV show.
There’s Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, Wags the Dog and the least frightening pirate of all time, Captain Feathersword.
“He uses a feather instead of a real sword, because we wanted to make him kind of a benign pirate,” Fatt explained.
The Wiggles originated in Sydney, Australia, created by three preschool teachers.
Fatt is the only original member who wasn’t a preschool teacher. He was a member of the Australian pop-rock band the Cockroaches, along with future Blue Wiggle Anthony Field.
“Anthony asked me to come down to the studio and play some children’s songs,” Fatt said. “I thought it would only be a few hours and I was happy to oblige him. And it’s been 18 years, at this stage.”
He could never have predicted that kind of career switch, but he certainly doesn’t regret it.
“I’ve been able to be involved in music and to travel the world,” said Fatt. “It’s a great privilege to be doing this.”
The Wiggles first became an Australian phenomenon and then crossed the Pacific to California.
“Our initial foray into the U.S. was an invitation from Disneyland to come and perform in the park,” Fatt said.
Then a Wiggles show started airing on the Disney Channel, which brought them to the attention of the entire preschool-age nation.
Today, the Wiggles are on TV in more than 110 countries. Their show will be moving to the Sprout network in August.
The Wiggles are teaming with an early literacy program, Reach Out and Read, for Saturday’s show.
They are asking every family to bring a new children’s book, suitable for kids under age 5, which will be donated to children in our area.