A colorful visit from that friendly, purple T-Rex

Barney goes to the jungle, the beach and the Arctic

Family: events, activities

December 18, 2003|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,SUN STAFF

He loves you. You love him. So rejoice. Barney, the big purple dinosaur, is coming to Charm City for five live stage shows.

The colossal reptile will be starring in Barney's Colorful World at 1st Mariner Arena tomorrow through Sunday. He'll, of course, be accompanied by pals Baby Bop and BJ.

In the show, Barney and his friends travel the globe, discovering and exploring a rain forest, the beach, the Arctic and the sea.

"We use our imagination to go all over this colorful world of ours," Barney said in a phone interview.

You read that right. Barney took time out of his busy, 90-city tour to phone in and give us the scoop on his Baltimore shows.

"It's a lot of fun. We sing an elephant song. We sing about bubbles. Big monkeys come on stage. Polar bears do too. And I get to ice skate! We also go to the beach. And we go under the sea. There we see a starfish that sings just like Elvis Presley!" Barney said with his trademark giggle. "When he leaves, we say, `Shellfish has left the building.' Get it?"

The show features many elaborate set designs, as Barney travels by bus to the jungle, by boat to the beach and by airplane to the Arctic. There are nearly 30 interactive songs, both familiar and new, each with positive messages.

"We talk about how wonderful the world is," Barney said. "The best way to teach is through song and playing."

When asked about his longevity -- both as a children's entertainer and, uh, as a dinosaur -- he showed his sense of humor: "I've been around for over 200 million years. Although I hit my popularity in my last 13 years, I was pretty popular during the last Ice Age, too."

And clearly, he continues to connect with kids. The 2-to-5-year-old group still can't get enough of him.

"I understand what the children are thinking. They know, no matter what, that I love them," he said.

And how about those other extinct dinosaurs? How did Barney manage to survive?

"I'm so nice and loving. That's the only thing I can figure out. Maybe if they would have hugged a little bit more. It's all about hugs," he said.

As part of his appearance in each city, Barney makes it a point to visit a pediatric hospital and perform sing-alongs with patients.

"That's actually the most important part of the tour," Barney said. "I get to see my friends who can't [come to] see me. We do a show for them. They're not expecting it. I'll stay there all day if I have to, and see everyone."

Barney will be visiting the Johns Hopkins Children's Center while in Baltimore. He will donate a library of Barney videos to the hospital, as well.

So having done TV, stage, film, home videos, books, parades, even inaugurations, we wondered what's next for the T-Rex of nice: "We're working on some new shows for PBS. And you never know, there might be another tour. I sure hope so!" he said.

And what about Christmas? What does the 8-foot-tall ("around 9 feet on tippie-toes") purple one want for Christmas?

Not a thing.

"I've got everything I want. I'm the happiest dinosaur in the world," he said.

"Barney's Colorful World" takes place at 7 p.m. tomorrow, 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday at 1st Mariner Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St. Tickets are $10-$30. Call 410-481-SEAT or visit www.ticketmaster.com for tickets, or call 410-347-2010 for information.

For more family events, see Page 46.

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