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Mo Willems’ First Live Action Special Gets HBO Max Premiere Date

Mo Willems is bringing his beloved children’s art to HBO Max. The new streaming service has announced that the artist’s first live action special, Mo Willems and The Storytime All-Stars Present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!, will debut on Thursday, September 17. The new special, recorded live at the Kennedy Center, also includes readings and comedy from Anthony Anderson, Tony Hale, Rachel Dratch, and more stars.

According to HBO Max’s official description, Mo Willems: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! will be hosted by Willems, the illustrator, author, and performer, and his famed pigeon creation. “Willems’s clever stories, witty songs, and beloved characters are performed like never before by a panel of celebrity guests, enhanced with hilarious sound effects and animations in Willems’s unique style, for a quality family entertainment experience both kids and adults will enjoy,” says the streamer.

In addition to announcing the special’s September premiere date, HBO Max has released a new trailer for the live action event. Filmed at the Kennedy Center pre-pandemic (it was filmed in Summer 2019, per THR), Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! features a live reading of Willems’ Knuffle Bunny books from some of Hollywood’s top talent, including Anthony Anderson (black-ish), Yvette Nicole Brown (Community), Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live), Cameron Esposito (Take My Wife), Tony Hale (Veep), Greta Lee (Russian Doll), Tom Lennon (The Odd Couple), Natalie Morales (Abby’s), and Oscar Nunez (The Office).

Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! is directed by Jimmy Kimmel Live! alum Bobcat Goldthwait and produced by Stampede Ventures. Willems and Stampede’s Greg Silverman, Gideon Yu, Jay Judah, and Chris Bosco serve as executive producers on the special.

Willems has had quite a year. In late 2019, the Sesame Street alum was named the Kennedy Center’s first Education Artist-in-Residence, and in February, he was named HBO Max’s first Artist-in-Residence as part of an extensive multi-year deal. Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! serves as the first release under the Willem-HBO Max pact, but he has additional projects in the pipeline, including an animated series based on his book Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed.

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