Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Behind the Scenes at PST: The Magic of Hans Christian Andersen

Applause Unlimited: Give 'Em a Round of Applause

Chris, in The Tales of Beatrix Potter
Greetings, Readers!  Back for another "behind-the-scenes" adventure?  Good!  Because this week at PST, we welcome Applause Unlimited with open arms as they perform not one but three classic Hans Christian Andersen tales: The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelisa, and The Emperor's New Clothes.  Yes, it's true what they say - three's a magical number.  Hope you Hans and Honeys are ready for some kickin' storytellin' because that's what you're going to get with Applause Unlimited's show!

The Company...

You'd think after receiving not one but two "Citations of Excellence" from the Union Internionale de la Marionette, these guys would take a break.  Luckily, for us puppet enthusiasts at PST and audiences alike, they don't.

In addition to performing in schools, museums, theaters, and festivals in and around their hometown, Richmond, VA, Applause Unlimited has toured up and down the entire east coast, making a few stops here and there, including: The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, GA, The Puppet Co. Playhouse in Glen Echo, MD, The National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD, The Wetlands Institute in Cape May, NJ, and The Smithsonian Discovery Theatre in Washington D.C.

...And The Shows

Pretty impressive, right?  Well, that's because Applause Unlimited offers a wide range of performances featuring fresh interpretations of classic tales like The Velveteen RabbitPeter and the Wolf, Puss in Boots, and The Tales of Beatrix Potter (due at PST this December).  Using masks, music, and comedy, they entertain audiences as much as they educate 'em.  So, in other words, they put the "fun" in "learning can be fun."

The Velveteen Rabbit (left) and Peter and the Wolf (right)

Puss in Boots (left) and The Tales of Beatrix Potter (right)

Let's Meet the Performer

Now, you may be asking - who's the man behind the puppets?  The answer is: Christopher Hudert, a versatile artist whose many skills include script writing, sculpting, set and puppet construction, puppetry, clowning, stilt walking, and juggling.

Chris, between Siegfried & Roy - 1991
Christopher began his career in theatre at an early age, performing with The Children's Theater of Children and Puppetfest Productions.  Later, he put his Theatre Studies on hold to attend Ringling Bros. Clown College.  He was such a good student, they offered him a chance to join the Circus, which he, of course, accepted (who wouldn't?!).  Much thanks to his clown contract, Christopher went on tours across the United States and Japan, which goes to show - if you have dreams of traveling the world, you should pack your bags and go to Clown College.

Chris (right), in "A Duck Walks into a Bar" - Puppetry Slam
at the Puppet Co. Playhouse in Glen Echo Park 
To this day, Christopher - now a veteran of Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus - has performed for millions of people and has appeared in TV shows, commercials, magazines, and newspapers in both the United States and Japan.  He was Boss Clown for Ringling Bros. before leaving to join Master Puppeteer Terry Snyder in the creation of Applause Unlimited.  He is also the Stage Consultant and the Youth Services Coordinator for Puppeteers of America and serves on the Board of The National Puppetry Guild.

Oh, and if you're ever in need of a Clown College instructor, Christopher's doing that, too!

So, need to laugh a little?  Well then, be sure to come one down to PST to see Applause Unlimited perform three of Hans Christian Andersen's beloved tales in The Magic of Hans Christian Andersen, beginning Friday October 5th and running until Monday October 8th (BUY TICKETS).

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

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