'Veggie Tales:' Out of the fridge and onto the stage

Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato, with many more characters from the "Veggie Tales" gang, come to the stage in "God Made You Special, Live!" at Lancaster County Bible Church Friday.

The Veggie Tales Live show, "God Made You Special," coming to the Lancaster County Bible Church on Friday, will be a rip-roaring good time, according to producer Charley Redmond.

"How can you beat nine-foot vegetables?" he asks.

How indeed?

Since 1993, the Veggies, led by Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber (think Abbot and Costello, Bert and Ernie and Laurel and Hardy), have been charming kids and offering them Christian messages filled with plenty of humor and fun.

And yes, they are a bunch of talking vegetables.

"If someone said to me, we're going to do a video around a tomato and a cucumber, I would have said they were crazy, but the personalities they've given them are so much fun," says Redmond.

The Veggie Tales started as video episodes and have since moved to the big screen, a TV series on NBC and live shows like "God Made You Special," which has toured throughout the country.

"Visually, the show is pretty amazing," Redmond says. "The costumes are high-end, and the cast inside the costumes is very talented. Crazy as it sounds, these vegetables really come to life on stage."

Redmond says the appeal of the Veggies comes from their rich humor, which can be appreciated on different levels.

"All great animation has two lines of humor," he says. "The 2 or 3 or 4-year-old will chuckle at one thing and then the moms and grandmoms will chuckle at something else."

Redmond recommends the show for kids from 2 to 10 and older.

"It's a big rock-and-roll show, there's a lot of dancing," Redmond says. "And there's a bubble machine and a strobe light. There's a lot of visual stimulus going on."

The story also features some non-vegetable human beings, including Hazel, who everyone agrees is pretty weird.

The story begins when the Veggies and their human friends are at a video shoot and they begin talking about how some of the songs they are singing are really weird.

So Larry buys a Weird-O-Meter on ebay and starts testing the songs to see how weird they are. (Among the songs are "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," "Car Wash" and "Proud Mary," so yeah, they can be weird when you think about it.)

Suddenly, the machine goes haywire, the lights go out and when they come back on, Bob is gone.

And then everyone begins wondering about Hazel. Is she so weird, she set the Weird-O-Meter off? Did she make Bob disappear?

Of course, the message of the show is in the title, and everyone eventually realizes that Hazel is not weird, just unique and different and that's a good thing because that's the way God made her.

"That's a message even parents need to remember," Redmond says.

And Bob? Oh, he just went to the dentist.

THAT'S THE TICKET

Veggie Tales Live

"God Made You Special, Live!"

Fri. 4 and 7 p.m.

$15.50, $20.50 advance

$19.50, $24.50 at the door

Lancaster County Bible Church

2392 Mount Joy Road

Manheim

(800) 336-3206

www.creationconcerts.com

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