"puppets at night"

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


Puppets At Night: PUPPET IMPROV!

Puppet Showplace Slam: Improv Edition!
Saturday, March 9 | 8 PM ONE NIGHT ONLY!


Now is your chance to be part of a show like never before! For the very first time, we present the “Puppet Improv” edition of The Puppet Slam. PST challenges its best performers in multiple puppetry disciplines to conceive, construct, and carry out live performances on the spot. The night concludes with an adults-only shadow puppetry set by slam favorite "Uncle Nappy," AKA Jim Napolitano of Nappy's Puppets.

What is a Puppet Slam? It's an evening of varied theatrical mini-plays for adults that use (or sometimes abuse) puppets for all or part of the drama. Each piece is performed by a different artist or artists, and the content can be wide-ranging; some are elegant or poignant, others are satiric, irreverent, or humorous, and still others can be passionate, political, or spiritual in nature. The performers range from the seasoned professional to the nascent puppeteer, and often include musicians, dancers, mimes, actors, and other sundry affiliated artists.

CASH BAR! What is better than puppets on a Saturday night? How about puppets and BEER. We will be serving white and red wine as well, if that better suits your taste.

Jim Napolitano, or "Uncle Nappy" to his fans, is a native of Milford, Connecticut, and a graduate of the University of Connecticut's Puppet Arts Program. Jim worked with Bits 'N' Pieces Puppet Theatre of Tampa Bay, Florida and has performed around the country and around the world, including The National Culture Center in Japan and The National Theater in Taiwan.

"Uncle Nappy"

Little's Creatures, owned by Jonathan Little, is comprised of himself, Stephen Bailey and Christopher Little. From the strange to REALLY strange: all their puppets perform, everything from telling jokes to magic! 

Brad Shur with Puppet Master Jake. Brad is PST’s Artist in Residence and has designed and fabricated puppets for American Idol, Dollywood, and other theaters and performers from Austin, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts. Puppet Master Jake, when he’s not puppeteering, works as a professional zookeeper.  

Brad Shur

Puppet improv is quickly becoming an entertainment sensation!  Not sure what to expect at a puppet improv show? Let's take a look at Puppet Up, a live show produced by the Jim Henson Company which blends improvisational comedy and puppetry, since making its debut in 2006 at the HBO Comedy Festival. Puppet Up uncensored has toured world-wide in places such as Scotland and Australia. After monthly performances at Avalon Hollywood the project evolved in STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG which made its New York premiere on April 1, 2010.


Behind the Scenes at PST: Puppet Slam!


Saturday Nov 10, 2012
8:00 pm at Puppet Showplace Theatre


First Thing's First...

What is a puppet slam?  Well, for those of you who don't know, a puppet slam is a contemporary short-form puppet-and-object theatre experience for adult audiences.  They're often performed late at night in small venues like nightclubs and art spaces.

What's it like at PST?  It's an evening of short varied theatrical mini-plays for adults that use (or sometimes abuse) puppets for all or part of the drama. Each piece is performed by a different artist or artists, and the content can be wide-ranging; some are elegant or poignant, others are satiric, irreverent, or humorous, and still others can be passionate, political, or spiritual in nature. The performers range from the seasoned professional to the nascent puppeteer, and often include musicians, dancers, mimes, actors, and other sundry affiliated artists.

Gathering influence from vaudeville, burlesque, and performance art, puppet slams are rude, crude, and downright hi-larious!

PST'S Recent Puppet Slam History

You didn't know?  Just a few weeks ago, we hosted a puppet slam - better known as "Puppets @ Night" - here at PST and it was a huge success.  Full house, basically.  We think the reason why it was such a huge success is because we were able to showcase a wide variety of vignettes for our audience, including "The Golden Stoat" - the story of a royal princess and her dyslexic lover - which featured PST's very own Communications Director, Brenda Huggins, who served as the story's narrator and the Executioners.
Brenda Huggins in "The Golden Stoat."
Who knew the late hours of the night could bring out the "crazy" in these performers (in a good way).  It's a good thing, though, because without crazy, puppet slams are not as entertaining.

This Week...

In addition to celebrating the holiday season with the Feast of Food and Folktales, PST will also be hosting yet another puppet slam.  For those of you who attended our last one, you know what you're in for (kind of), but for all you first timers?  This will be a great break from the norm.

Featuring the Iron Will Tate puppet show by Bat Honey Puppeteers plus new works by Evan O'Television, and musical guests Tom and Marianne Tucker - this month's puppet slam is sure to be just as hi-larious as our last.

About the Performers...

Let's start with duo of Britt Juchem and Ariel Gregory (a.k.a. Bat Honey Puppeteers).  They have collaborated on stop-motion animations, murals, children’s books, board games and puppet shows.  Britt Juchem was raised in Pennsylvania.  Loving the excitement and close proximity of the East Coast, Britt would draw inspiration from the unique sights and sounds of the city and the crowds.  Ariel Gregory was raised in New Mexico.  A lad armed with a spear and the wide open desert, Ariel’s work reflects a boy’s wild imagination.

An example of Bat Honey
Next is Evan O'Television.  He's been dazzling and perplexing audiences with his one-man-double-ac and video ventriloquism since 1995.  Evan also serves as a co-founder and resident Artistic Co-Director of the underground performing arts space, Pan 9.  In 2007 he was profiled in An Encyclopedia of Vaudeville Performers by Routledge Press.  Evan’s full-length solo theatrical work - Double Negatives” - premiered at the Perishable Theatre in March 2008 and will be appearing in new venues throughout 2009.
An example of Evan O'Television
And Tom and Marianne Tucker.  You may know them better as the team behind Tuckers' Tales Puppet Theatrethe Performing division of Puppet Perceptions, Inc., which is a Philadelphia-based performing company founded in 1981. Both Marianne and Tom Tucker have performed at puppet, folk, ethnic and street festivals, and at craft fairs, shopping centers, theaters and schools around the country. Audiences from small children to senior citizens have enjoyed the variety of styles skillfully displayed in their interesting programs.  They also teach workshops in puppetry and construct puppets as requested.
An example of Tuckers' Tales
What a colorful cast of characters, eh?  Just imagine what the performers are like...at night.  Oh, the comedic genius is endless.  They will all razzle and dazzle you.


Be sure to come on down to PST the night of November 10th.  Once the sun goes down and the moon rises, PST will host the craziest (therefore funniest) of performers you can ever imagine.  Tickets may be purchased HERE.  

Till next time!  Yours truly, Esra Erol - marketing intern at PST.  

Calling All Performers!!

Behind the scenes with Brad Shur,
 PST Artist -in-Residence.
Fall Fairytale Festival Slam: "Grown up Fairytales"
Saturday September 15, 2012
8:00 pm at Puppet Showplace Theatre

Are you a performer?  If not, would you like to be?  PST is now accepting proposals to perform in our upcoming September Puppet Slam! From the uproarious and farcical, to the melancholy and insightful, our Puppet Slams have featured some wonderful pieces in the past.  For information about our Puppet Slams,
Check Out Our Website!

What We're Looking For - The theme for the evening is "Grown Up Fairytales". We hope to have performances that showcase diverse styles of puppetry and theatre while fracturing, adapting, and riffing on the theme of classic fairytales. Performance pieces should be 3-10 minutes in length and have some connection to this theme.  Otherwise, all styles of theatre, puppetry, and musicianship are welcome to be a part of the show.  If you have a full act prepared, great!  If you have an unfinished work, or even just a concept, we'll help you!  As long as your performance can be ready by the performance date, September 15th, we will consider it.  We would love to have a wide range of subject matter, so please feel free to send us anything you've got! 

Submit a Proposal - The deadline to submit a proposal has been EXTENDED TO AUGUST 13, 2012.  Performers will then be notified by August 15th if they have been selected.  For any questions, email artistic@puppetshowplace.org  Click Here to submit your proposal.