Hey there Puppet Friends! Spring is here, birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and we are in the LAST series of our 40th Anniversary Season! Boy, how time flies. Our "Tiny Heroes" started off with a bang with Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers' productions of "The Legend of Banana Kid" and "Everybody Loves Pirates", which were SO much fun we are still recovering! And now we have SEVEN more shows for you to round out the series, starting off this week with "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Magpie Puppets!
Show Description: Kids learn to speak up for what’s right in this fun and highly interactive show. The Emperor has so many outfits that he orders all the shops and schools in the kingdom to close so that he’ll have more space to store his wardrobe. Two brave tailors, Greta and Rebecca, outwit the vain Emperor to save their country from ruin. Audience members help fool the Emperor’s assistant by inventing an imaginary outfit, then everyone teaches the Emperor a lesson by questioning him at the Royal Press Conference! Children will enjoy the show’s many colorful characters and silly adaptations of courtly behavior.
SHOW DATES & TIMES:
Thursday, April 30th @ 10:30am
Friday, May 1st @ 10:30am
Saturday, May 2nd @ 1pm & 3pm
Sunday, May 3rd @ 1pm & 3pm
About the Performer: Maggie Whalen is the creator of Magpie Puppets, a one-woman puppet theater based in Stoneham, Massachusetts. She has been creating and performing puppet shows for children since 1969. In 1971, she founded and directed Poor People’s Puppets in NYC, which performed in its own storefront theater from 1971-1974. In addition to performing, Maggie has taught puppet-making workshops at schools, community centers and at Club Med Mini-Clubs in the Caribbean. She builds customized puppets for theater, film, and individuals as well. She is a member of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry and Puppeteers of America.
Recommended for ages 3-6. Very gentle, silly, and interactive.
Coming up immediately after that will be the quintessential tiny hero: "Jack and the Beanstalk" by Spring Valley Puppets...
Show Description: Can a boy outwit a giant? Can beans make wishes come true? They can and do in this award-winning puppet production! When Jack trades the family cow for a few magic beans — which grow into a beanstalk overnight — he climbs it to find adventure and fortune. Along the way he meets a feisty and funny chicken, a magic singing harp, and one real rat of a giant. This popular classic features beautifully crafted hand and rod puppets, colorful scenic design, special effects, and an original script in which Jack, with the help of a clever chicken, saves the day!
SHOW DATES & TIMES:
Thursday, May 7th @ 10:30am *SOLD OUT!*
Friday, May 8th @ 10:30am
Saturday, May 9th @ 1pm & 3pm
Sunday, May 10th @ 1pm & 3pm
About the Performer: Michael Graham has performed with puppets since he was a young boy. He founded the Spring Valley Puppet Theater in 1977. Since then, he has performed throughout New England, primarily for schools and libraries. His work has been featured numerous times at regional and national festivals of the Puppeteers of America, and he is a recipient of the prestigious UNIMA citation of excellence. Michael designs and makes all of his puppets by hand, writes his own scripts, creates the scenery, and performs many of the voices. He graduated from Western Connecticut State College with a degree in Elementary Education and Spanish, and has created many bilingual adaptations of folk tales. Michael has been a guest instructor at the University of Connecticut Puppet Arts program, the Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts (IPPA) at the O'Neill Theatre Center, and has presented casting and hand puppet construction workshops for puppetry guilds in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Recommended for everyone ages 4 and up.
What's next, you ask? Why, it's the classic tales of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Lion and the Mouse" by Pumpernickel Puppets! You don't want to miss this one...
Show Description: Two classic tales make up this wonderful show. In 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff,' the quick-witted billy goats outsmart the troll, but the troll isn’t really mean – he’s just green, has a snaggletooth, and lives under a bridge. In 'The Lion and the Mouse,' two unlikely friends – one very big and one very small – learn to help each other to solve their problems. Both tales are told with colorful, friendly hand puppets and lots of audience interaction.
SHOW DATES & TIMES:
Thursday, May 14th @ 10:30am *SOLD OUT!*
Friday, May 15th @ 10:30am
Saturday, May 16th @ 1pm & 3pm
Sunday, May 18th @ 1pm & 3pm
About the Performer: The Pumpernickel Puppets are the creation of John McDonough of Worcester, Massachusetts. John was four years old when he saw his first puppet show, and he immediately knew that he wanted to be a puppeteer. By his teens, John was presenting shows all over the New England area. The Pumpernickel Puppets have had the honor of appearing at The Puppet Showplace Theatre, Boston Children’s Museum, The Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., The Cultural Olympiad at The Center For Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia, and the prestigious International Festival of Puppet Theatre sponsored by the Jim Henson Foundation at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre in New York. For each production, John creates and performs all of his own puppets, which range from small hand puppets to larger-than-life figures.
Next up is the hilarious tale of "The Reluctant Dragon" by All Hand Productions. This is truly a special show, funded in part by the Jim Henson fund!
Show Description: Princess Penelope loves to read about dragons. Imagine her surprise when she actually meets one! When the much-touted dragon slayer Sir Reginald Thwebes arrives in the castle, King Rhubarb calls upon him to fight the fearsome beast. The Princess has to think quickly to save her friend. Will it be a fight to the death? Will it be a draw? Will they even fight at all? Find out in this hilarious performance featuring magnificent moving-mouth puppets, elaborate medieval costumes, and many very creative ways to hide a pet dragon.
SHOW DATES & TIMES:
Thursday, May 21st @ 10:30am
Friday, May 22nd @ 10:30am
Saturday, May 23rd @ 1pm & 3pm
Sunday, May 24th @ 1pm & 3pm
About the Performer: David Stephens is the creator of All Hands Productions, a puppet company that, for over a decade, has been dedicated to developing and presenting quality puppet theater for audiences of all ages. David has toured his seven popular productions to theaters, schools, libraries, and festivals throughout the United States and Canada. His show, 'Billy Goats Gruff and Other Stuff' was awarded the prestigious UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence in 2005 (the equivalent of an Oscar in the puppetry world).
In addition to creating original works, David has also been a puppeteer for the Jim Henson Company and has been a Muppet performer on 'Sesame Street.' He also performed numerous characters in the live production of Emmet Otter at the Goodspeed Opera House. David is a graduate of Troy University and the University of Connecticut’s Puppet Arts program (MA 2001). Originally from Alabama, he now resides in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition his work as a puppeteer, David is also an accomplished banjo player. For more information visit www.allhandsproductions.com andwww.davidstephensbanjo.com. Recommended for everyone ages 4 and up. This show was funded in part by a 2008 Jim Henson Foundation Family Grant.
Had enough heroes yet? Neither have we! Here comes "Every Hero Has a Story" by Sparky's Puppets, an adorable tale that's perfect to kick off your summer!
Show Description: You never know who will save the day: it’s not always the biggest and strongest! This show is a lively collection of tales about some surprising heroes. Watch a tiny mouse rescue a huge lion. Follow the adventures of a brave kitten who travels to the moon to solve some puzzling riddles. See how a clever rabbit outwits a pesky goblin. And discover an unexpected character who proves to be 'the greatest of all.' Kids will love the funny voices and very silly storytelling in this highly interactive show!
SHOW DATES & TIMES:
Thursday, May 28th @ 10:30am
Friday, May 29th @ 10:30am
Saturday, May 30th @ 1pm & 3pm
Sunday, May 31st @ 1pm & 3pm
About the Performer: Kathleen 'Sparky' Davis began dramatizing stories with hand puppets while working as a children's librarian. Since 1980, Sparky's Puppets have delighted children and family audiences at schools, libraries and festivals throughout New England. Every summer, Sparky creates a special show for the Rhode Island statewide public libraries' summer reading program.
Sparky loves to see children's reactions to their favorite stories brought to life with endearing puppet characters. She is known for her quick wit and hilarious sense of humor. A preschool child at a recent show was heard to say.'It was so funny I burst out laughing!'
Recommended for ages 3-6.
Coming up after Sparky's Puppets is our incredibly talented Resident Artist Brad Shur's original show, "Robin Hood"This show has been so popular in the past we are running it for TWO weeks this time, so make sure you reserve your chance to get a piece of the action!
Show Description: Explore the wilds of Sherwood Forest in this rollicking retelling of the classic tale! When Robin discovers that the Sheriff of Nottingham is up to no good, he sees his chance to fight back and fulfill his dream of becoming a hero. Of course, he'll need a little help from his friends. Join Maid Marion, Little John, and a mischievous deer with excellent taste in clothes on a medieval mission to save the forest. Featuring hilarious dialogue, original music, and beautifully-crafted costumes and scenery.
SHOW DATES & TIMES:
Thursday, June 4th @ 10:30am
Friday, June 5th @ 10:30am
Thursday, June 11th @ 10:30am
Friday, June 12th @ 10:30am
Saturday, June 13th @ 1pm & 3pm
Sunday, June 14th @ 1pm & 3pm
About the Performer: Brad Shur is a versatile puppeteer who has created and performed characters made of everything from pixels to papier mache. As the Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace Theatre he performs regularly and teaches puppetry classes to students of all ages, Pre-K to adult. As protégé of master puppeteer Paul Vincent Davis, Shur trained extensively in glove puppetry and currently performs two of Davis’ classic shows at venues across New England. 'Robin Hood' is Shur's first original glove puppet show. Shur’s other original works include 'The Carrot Salesman,' 'Dr. Doohickey and the Monster Machine,' 'The Yankee Peddler: Stories and Songs from Old New England' and 'The Magic Soup and Other Stories,' featured at the Puppeteers of America National Festival 2013. Prior to becoming the Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace, Shur toured the country as a performer with Big Nazo (Rhode Island), Wood & Strings Theatre (Tennessee) and The PuppeTree (Vermont). As a builder Shur has designed and fabricated puppets for American Idol, Dollywood, Avenue Q, and the U.S.S. Constitution Museum. He is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Last up, we've got the ever popular Tanglewood Marionettes back in town for their gorgeous production of "Hansel & Gretel"! This exquisite show is not to be missed, and is the perfect finale for our "Tiny Heroes" Series!
Show Description: 'Hansel and Gretel' is a riveting adventure story about a brother and sister who get lost in the woods. In this original adaptation, each sibling has a different strength, but they must learn to work together if they want to get back home. Large-scale puppets, intricate scenery, and an exciting musical score will amaze audiences of all ages and inspire kids to get creative when faced with big challenges!
SHOW DATES & TIMES, TWO DAYS ONLY!
Saturday, June 6th @ 1pm & 3pm
Sunday, June 7th @ 1pm & 3pm
About the Performer: Founded in 1993 by Peter and Anne Schaefer, Tanglewood Marionettes is a nationally touring marionette company whose unique productions have been seen by hundreds of thousands of children and families across the country. With seven shows currently in their repertoire, the company performs year-round at venues ranging from school assemblies to renowned cultural institutions. Performer Peter Schaefer was born into a Boston-area family of puppeteers and has visited Puppet Showplace since he was a child. After apprenticing with the Bennington Puppets, Peter launched his own company, “Mountain Marionettes,” before joining with Anne Schaefer and fellow Bennington puppeteer Stephen Hancock to form Tanglewood Marionettes. Performer Jennifer Tebo discovered her love of puppetry while pursuing a degree in Theater and Classical Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She has been touring with Tanglewood Marionettes since 2004 and plans to spend a lifetime in puppetry. The company has received two UNIMA awards, puppetry's highest honor, for their productions An Arabian Adventure and The Dragon King. Tanglewood Marionettes believes above all that a performance is a communal experience, with connections established not only with the performers, but also between members of the audience themselves as they laugh together, gasp together, and cheer together when the good guys prevail!