When a family of entertainers wanted wholesome Christian viewing for their kids, they rolled up their sleeves and made it themselves.
At-home entertainment for children has never been in such high demand. With the better part of two years spent indoors, kids have made it through the catalogs of streaming platforms at record pace. Thankfully, however, there’s a new show steeped in imaginative talent and Christian values.
The Wonderful World of Benjamin Cello is a whimsical live-action show that has seamlessly merged family entertainment and religious education. The program engages viewers, children and parents alike, with adventurous storylines and exceptional musical performances surrounding biblical themes. The first season has already racked up tens of thousands of viewing hours across streaming platforms.
The show was created by the Wolaver family, who, prior to launching The Wonderful World of Benjamin Cello, spent two decades touring as the Anne Moses Band. This award-winning, Emmy-nominated musical act is the basis of the excellent chemistry that drives the show.
In an interview with Aleteia, Benjamin and his brother Alex (who plays Professor Wordsworth) spoke about working as a family:
“Working together professionally as a family is a joy because we share a vision and a set of values that often have to be built from scratch in other contexts. We have discussed among ourselves how hard it would be to manage a five-member band who met out of college or a brand new team in a corporate start-up.” They added, “Twenty years after we started professional life together, we can’t imagine pulling all-nighters with anyone other than friends who just happen to be family.”
Segments often revolve around their superbly constructed songs, which weave clever rhymes around memorable musical phrases. The religious nature of the music is one aspect that makes Benjamin Cello an altogether unique viewing experience.
Benjamin and Alex said of the religious goals of the show:
“Benjamin Cello belongs to a broader vision we have for bringing the arts and Christianity together in a compelling way. Scientifically speaking, the minds of the very young are extraordinarily receptive. We want to help families impress on their children the eternal truths God has revealed to us through Christ.”
In a press release, Benjamin Wolaver, who plays the title role, explained why the Wolavers delved into family entertainment:
“When my siblings and I began having children of our own, we saw how children’s entertainment was full of garish images, gaudy music, and political messages. We wanted to resurrect the classic tradition of a Fred Rogers or Mary Poppins, but with a deeply biblical focus.”
Benjamin went on to note that the Wolavers saw a need for “a rich and intelligent alternative” to secular children’s programming. He said that The Wonderful World of Benjamin Cello is meant to foster exploration of “truth, beauty and goodness.”
The road to bringing Benjamin Cello to fruition has been a hard one, Alex said, but he also called it “deeply rewarding.” The Wolavers noted that secular streaming platforms were hesitant to pick up Benjamin Cello, and that led the Wolavers to produce the show on their own. The Wolavers have launched their own production company, KIN, which also ensures they can maintain the original Christian vision of the show.
Taking a leap of faith, they moved to Tennessee where they converted a large warehouse into a professional film studio. Their high-quality sets and richly colored costumes have been a labor of love for the family and the beautiful fruit it bore is clear to see, even in the trailer featured above.
Season 2 of The Wonderful World of Benjamin Cello welcomes children to “the Land of the Baptized Imagination.” Children and families are presented with timeless songs, lessons of faith and Scripture, and a creative and adventurous storyline. The show draws on the immense talent of the Wolavers to utilize puppetry, live song and dance, intelligent character development, and biblical themes.
The second season is available to stream or to purchase on DVD. Learn more about The Wonderful World of Benjamin Cello here.