Circus Artist Defies Multiple Sclerosis in NEW Puppetry Performance


"Reverse Cascade"

by Anna Fitzgerald, UCONN Puppet Arts Program

Apr 10-12 (Thur-Sat) at 8pm


Join us this April for another exciting "Puppets At Night" performance for adult and teen audiences. The Boston premiere of “Reverse Cascade” is a powerful theatrical tribute to circus artist Judy Finelli, who fights to remake her performance career after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Created by Finelli’s student Anna Fitzgerald (UCONN Puppet Arts Program), “Reverse Cascade” features virtuosic manipulation, found-object puppetry, and original music. Recommended for ages 13+.

What happens when the skills you have spent your life acquiring are stripped away from you by a debilitating disease? Do you give in, or find a well of deeper inner strength? Can we truly ever abandon what we love? Find out in this inspirational true story.

Found object puppetry brings to life the inspiring story of circus performer Judy Finelli.

About the Performance:

After building a career as a circus performer and juggler with remarkable physical control, Judy's body began to fail her. For years, she searched for an answer and was eventually given a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Slowly, Judy lost control of her body, her spirit, and the juggler that was inside of her. But the circus called her back, and Judy found new ways to challenge herself, pushing her body to the limits once again.

"Reverse Cascade" by Anna Fitzgerald

Through the simple magic of found object puppetry and live music, this production will lead you through a story inspired by Judy Finelli's amazing journey from legs, to wheels, to new heights. Students from University of Connecticut's famed Puppet Arts Program are proud to bring the Boston premiere of one of its newest works to Puppet Showplace Theatre.


About the Performer: 

Anna Fitzgerald is a puppeteer from Baltimore, MD and an MFA candidate in Puppet Arts at the University of Connecticut. She has performed at The Green Mountain Puppet Festival, Baltimore’s Artscape and Whartscape, EnvisionFEST Hartford, and in theaters around the country. Anna began working in puppetry as a company member in Liebe Wetzel’s Lunatique Fantastique in San Francisco. 

She co-founded UnSaddestFactory Theater Company in Baltimore producing, directing and performing in several original plays and organizing and producing three sold out Ten Minute Play Festivals.

Before moving to Connecticut, she studied Theater at The Baltimore School for the Arts, Mime and Social Theater with The San Francisco Mime Troupe, Justice at American University, Clown at lthe Clown Conservatory of San Francisco. She continues to write and perform her own puppet work on stage while dabbling in short stop motion films and exploring the new possibilities of visual arts.

Post Show Discussion:

Following the Thursday April 10th performance, Boston opera star Barbara Quintiliani, also diagnosed with MS, will lead a post-show discussion on “Opportunities and Obstacles for Artists with Disabilities.”

Throughout the run, paintings from “Snow on the Brain,” Marguerite McDonald’s visual exploration of her own experience living with MS, will also be on display. This discussion and exhibit are co-presented with VSA Massachusetts, the state organization on arts and disability.

About MS:

Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is an unpredictable disease that damages the central nervous system.

Find out more: 

Life in Spite of MS