(Feb. 6) Millions of children go to school every day, so Dole Food Co. Inc., Westlake Village, Calif., thought that would be the best place to reach kids and teach them about the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s 5 a Day the Color Way campaign.

Dole has teamed up with the National Theatre for Children, Minneapolis, to develop a theatrical production teaching children about the importance of eating a colorful array of fruits and vegetables daily.

“We’ve always been committed to 5 a Day nutrition education, and this gives us a new venue for reaching kids,” said Amy Myrdal, nutrition communications manager for Dole’s Nutrition & Health Program, Oakland, Calif. “It’s also a way to show support for the 5 a Day color campaign — to support the PBH message point that you should not only eat five servings of fruits and vegetables, but you should also eat five colors of fruits and vegetables.”

Dole began creating the “5 a Day the Color Way” play with the theater group in September. Myrdal said the two organizations worked on message and script development.

During script development, sets were designed, actors auditioned and rehearsals started. The show is scheduled to open in Los Angeles on March 3, where it will continue playing for four weeks. Then the show will spend two weeks in Salinas, Calif., and two weeks in New York.

Myrdal said the production will run in 60 schools in the three cities, and each school will get two performances, one designed for kindergarten through third grade and one for fourth through sixth grades. Myrdal said a minimum of 700 kids per school would see the production, bringing attendance to a minimum of 42,000 schoolchildren.

In the 30-minute production, one actress plays Fiona Farnsworth, a student from the University of Fruit who comes home for summer and discovers that no one is eating their 5 a day because Evil Painter has stolen all the colors.

In addition to the production, the theater group is producing curriculum materials to reinforce the message. Tom Harris, vice president of marketing, said the 12-page color workbooks also urge children to go to the www.dole5aday.com Web site to learn more about nutrition.

“The concept there is to not only learn more but also be able to take advantage of that information and suggest to their parents that they continue to eat healthy not only at school but also at home,” Harris said.