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Wiggles at the Fox Theatre, 3 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Since debuting with music and then a TV show during 1991 in Australia, the Wiggles have become an institution in children's entertainment. The quartet -- which grew out of a pop band called the Cockroaches -- has created an extensive collection of albums and DVDs, along with TV programs and concert tours.

Its appeal has hardly diminished during the past 28 years, either. The Wiggles were named Australia's top-earning homegrown entertainer for four years in a row and has sold an estimated seven million CDs and 23 million DVDs, playing to an average of a million people per year.

And in all this time the group has only changed members once, when co-founder Anthony Field (the Blue Wiggle) was joined by three new cohorts -- Emma Watkins, Lachlan Gillespie and Simon Pryce -- during 2013 to keep kids around the world, well, wiggling...

Watkins, the first female Wiggle, says by phone that the troupe's Party Time Tour! -- supporting the album of the same name -- is "quite interactive" and introduces a unicorn to a menagerie of characters that includes a dinosaur, an octopus, a dog and others. "There's lots of singing, lots of dancing -- just a lot to see and have fun with. It really is a show for everybody."

The tour comes on the heels of last year's Wiggles ballet, which was done in partnership with The Australian Ballet company and filmed. "That was pretty exciting," says Watkins, 29, who studied ballet and acted in Bollywood films before joining the Wiggles in 2010 as a dancer and various characters. We never thought we'd have the chance to dance with professional ballet dancers. One of their principle dancers had to do this series of pirouettes and I don't think I've ever witnessed in real life so many pirouettes done by one person at the same time. The whole process was really short, as both of our schedules are really busy. But it was really special to have these dancers in our studios. It was a really nice way for us to be able to introduce ballet to our audience."

Watkins has just filmed another season of her Australian TV series "Emma," and she says she enjoys juggling both it and her Wiggles work. "They feed into each other, really. It's nice to be able to explore a little more of my dance background with the 'Emma' show, but then it's comforting when Im back with the Wiggles and have other people to sing along with you and not so much pressure as you have when you're on your own. Both have challenges and positives, and I'm lucky to have them both."

The Wiggles perform at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. $45 and up. 313-471-6611 or 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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