Friday, May 30, 2014

Puppet Showplace Celebrates 40th Anniversary

40th Anniversary Legacy Gala
Monday June 2, 2014
6:30 - 9:30 PM

at the

George H. Wightman Mansion
43 Hawes Street
Brookline, Massachusetts 

Join us this Monday, June 2nd, at the beautiful George H. Wightman Mansion for an evening that celebrate our 40 year history as New England's puppet theater, as well as the art of puppetry! With performances by some of our favorite puppeteers, a silent auction of incredible items, cocktails, and delicious catering provided by Whole Foods Brighton, this will not be a night to miss!

The George H. Wightman Mansion 


Throughout the evening, we will have performances taking place all over the Mansion, including live music. Many of our favorite puppeteers from across the years will be performing in rotation, so everyone will be able to see their talent and skill.

-Featured Performers-

Tanglewood Marionettes
Dream Tale Puppets
Crabgrass Puppet Theatre
Great Small Works
Resident Artist Brad Shur
Brenda Huggins and Phil Berman
Ronald Binion
John Lechner
Mask Ensemble with Avital Peleg
Michelle Finston and Christine Dempsey
Gavin Cummins

With musical performances by: 
Brendan Burns & Tony Leva, Phil Berman & Paul Watkins


Aside from our performances, we will be having a silent auction inside of the Mansion. There will be many items available to bid on, the majority of which were donated by our very generous partners in the community. Check out a sampling of our wonderful donors below:

Fundraising Goals:

All Legacy Gala contributions will support our three major fundraising initiatives:

Artists' Fund: As New England's puppet theater, we are always expanding our roster of artists. This fund provides audiences access to regional premieres of exceptional puppetry productions from companies they may not have seen before.

Facilities Fund: As a cultural destination, we are planning upgrades and renovations to the spaces that make up the theater, enhancing the physical aspects of what makes our theater a gateway to creativity and self-discovery.

Mary Churchill Memorial Fund: As a community partner, we are committed to increasing access to live performing arts for school children regardless of their ability to pay. Named for our founder, this fund is exclusively available to school groups who otherwise would not be able to attend our performances, in order to reach a broader audience of children.


Join us in honoring these remarkable individuals in the areas of excellence in puppetry arts and exceptional creative leadership!

Dr. John Bell & Trudi Cohen
Great Small Works

John Bell is Director of the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry and an Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut. He and Trudi Cohen met as puppeteers in the Bread and Puppet Theater where they both worked from 1975 to 1986; and are founding members of the Great Small Works theater collective, based in NYC.

John received his doctoral degree in theater history from Columbia University in 1993 and is the author of many books and articles about puppet theater, including co-editing the forthcoming Routledge Guide to Puppetry and Material Performance. Trudi has been producing director of Great Small Works’ three most recent International Toy Theater Festivals in Brooklyn, NY; and John is artistic director of the 2015 Puppeteers of America National Festival. Trudi and John play in the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band, and are organizers of the annual HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands in Somerville, MA.

Dr. Susan Linn
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

Susan Linn is Director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Her book, Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood launched the movement to reclaim childhood from corporate marketers.

Dr. Linn is also an award winning ventriloquist and children’s entertainer and is internationally known for her innovative use of puppets in child psychotherapy, which she pioneered at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Among many other honors, Dr. Linn received a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association for her work on behalf of children. Her work with puppets has been honored by the Union Internationale de la Marionette and Puppeteers of America.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Frogs, Frogs, and More Frogs!

"Puppeteers of New England"

Series of puppet shows that celebrate exciting and diverse 
work by puppetry artists from the Northeast.

We're going froggy this weekend here at Puppet Showplace! Join Andrew and Bonnie Periale of the Perry Alley Theatre for a hopping good time as they perform the well-known tale "The Frog Prince," along with two other froggy fables.

"The Frog Prince and Other Frogs"
by Perry Alley Theatre
Thurs & Fri, May 29 & 30, at 10:30 am
Saturday, May 31, at 1 & 3 pm
No performances Sunday


Hop along with Perry Alley Theatre through the wonderful world of Frogs. This show includes the beloved “Frog Prince,” in which an exceedingly silly Princess is helped by an enchanted frog and learns not to make promises she can’t keep. Then, in "The Evolution of Frogs"-- Dive with us into the depths of ancient oceans to follow the evolution of one-celled creatures into clams, worms, fish and finally ancient frogs—a riveting romp through pre-history. Finally, in "Frog and Eggplant"--Two friends are dissatisfied with their lives, and wish they could trade places. A spirit overhears them and grants them their wish, with disastrous (and hilarious) consequences!


Andrew and Bonnie Periale founded Perry Alley Theatre in 1986 and moved to their current home and studio in NH in 1988. Together, they’ve produced a dozen major shows and many shorter pieces for touring. Andrew and Bonnie have performed at numerous national and regional festivals, at the Smithsonian Institution, the Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta), the Jim Henson International Festival of Puppetry and many other venues across the U.S. as well as in France and Italy. They have produced the magazines for UNIMA-USA for 28 years, establishing Puppetry International magazine in the early 1990s.

Recognition includes The Paul Vincent Davis Award, the George Latshaw Award, 3 Henson Foundation grants, 2 UNIMA Citations, an Emmy nomination, finalists in the International Festival of Film and Television and, from UNIMA-USA, a Lifetime Achievement award.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Traditional Tales Enchant Brookline This Week!

"Puppeteers of New England"
Series of puppet shows that celebrate exciting and diverse
work by puppetry artists from the Northeast.

"The Three Wishes And A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"
by Spring Valley Puppets
Thurs & Fri, May 22nd and 23rd, at 10:30 am
Sat & Sun, May 24th and 25th. at 1:00 and 3:00 pm

This week is filled with delightful mischief as two popular fables take the stage at Puppet Showplace! Join Michael Graham of Spring Valley Puppets from New Haven, CT as he and his hand-crafted glove puppets weave a magic all their own. 

"The Three Wishes"
"Thoroughly enjoyable! Informative! Exceptional quality!" 
Comprehensive Arts Program - New Haven, CT

"A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"

"...[A] delightful performance! Beautiful scenery and charming puppets ... a professional production that delighted the students and staff.
Parkway School - Greenwich, CT

About the show:

Stunning craftsmanship and delightful special effects bring two traditional tales to life in this elegant puppet production. In "The Three Wishes," a magical elf wreaks havoc in the household of an elderly woodcutter and his wife while teaching us a lesson about getting stuck in our routines. Then, a little lamb proves that she's not so helpless in an original adaptation of "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing". Based on Aesop's popular fable, this story is enlivened with a colorful Mexican setting, a humorous communication gap, and a surprise ending!

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.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mother Goose in Brookline this May!

"Puppeteers of New England"
Series of puppet shows that celebrate exciting and diverse 
work by puppetry artists from the Northeast.

It's a weekend filled with your favorite Mother Goose rhymes at Puppet Showplace...or rather...FATHER Goose!  Join Jim Napolitano of Nappy's Puppets from New Haven, CT for hilarious renditions of your favorite nursery rhymes. His signature shadow puppet style will have you in stitches!

If that's not enough laughs for you, then join us Saturday, May 17 for two special performances of "Mother Goose and Friends" by Sparky's Puppets from Providence, Rhode Island.  Help us celebrate these two amazing performers from New England during our "Puppeteers of New England" series. VIEW FULL CALENDAR

"Father Goose's Tales" by Nappy's Puppets
Thurs & Fri, May 15 & 16 at 10:30am
Sun, May 18 at 1 & 3pm

About the show: There is trouble in the nursery! Mother Goose has taken the day off, and Father Goose must do all of her chores, including the storytelling! But try as he might, Father Goose just can't get the stories quite right. "Father Goose's Tales" is a hilarious modern retelling of favorite nursery rhymes, stories, and children's songs that will delight audiences of all ages. Each performance includes a puppet demonstration and lots of audience interaction!

About the performer:

Jim Napolitano, a.k.a. “Uncle Nappy,” is a Connecticut native and one of America’s most-loved shadow puppeteers. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut’s Puppet Arts program, and has taught puppetry to students of all ages throughout New England. For over 20 years Nappy’s Puppets has toured nationally to theatres, festivals, libraries, and museums, delighting audiences of all ages with quality shadow theatre productions.

Jim has also worked extensively as a freelance artist and puppeteer. As a member of Bits and Pieces Puppet Theatre he performed musicals with giant puppets across the country and around the world, including at the National Cultural Center in Japan and the National Theatre in Taiwan. His television credits include Between the Lions, The Book of Pooh, and segments for Nickelodeon, Scholastic Home Video, and HBO Pictures. He currently resides in Connecticut with his wife and two children.

"Mother Goose and Friends" by Sparky's Puppets
Sat, May 17 at 1 & 3pm

About the show: See your favorite tales come to life in this fun and interactive show, with the one and only Mother Goose as your guide! Watch Grandmother teach a wolf some manners in "Little Red Riding Hood." Then, help the hard-working "Little Red Hen" bake a loaf of bread. Meet "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" and "The Three Little Pigs." Finally, bring a "Gingerbread Man" to life with some make-believe ingredients...and a pinch of magic!

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!"

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Local Folklore Kicks-off “Puppeteers of New England” Series!

As we count down the days until our 40th Anniversary, we have invited the region's top puppetry companies to share their work on our stage through June 14.

“The Yankee Peddler” 
by Brad Shur and Chris Monti [ MASSACHUSETTS ]

May 1 & 2 (Thur & Fri) | 10:30 am
May 3 & 4 (Sat & Sun) | 1 pm & 3 pm


Discover local myths and old legends through the use of shadow puppets and live music at Puppet Showplace Theatre. “The Yankee Peddler” features music and anecdotes sure to entertain and please all ages. Meet a singing bear, dancing chicken and a mammoth wheel of cheese! Yes, CHEESE!

Chris Monti sings the tale of a mischievous fox headed to a local town in, "The Fox"
About the Performance:

Have you ever wanted to sing along with a sea shanty? Or dive deep into a fox's den? Then join us for a whirlwind tour of New England's lesser-known folklore! Along the way, you'll help make the world's largest wheel of cheese, sail the ocean with the giant sailor Alfred Bulltop Stormalong, and meet a very fashionable bear. Drawing from three hundred years of stories, songs, and local history, there is sure to be something for everyone from the peddler's cart!

VIDEO CLIP listen to folk song, "Cluck Old Hen" from “The Yankee Peddler: Stories and Songs from Old New England” here:

About the Performers:

Brad Shur is a versatile puppeteer who has created and performed characters made of everything from pixels to papier mache. As the Resident Artist 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. Shur’s 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, recently featured at the Puppeteers of America National Festival 2013. Shur is currently working on a new adaptation of Robin Hood, set to open in January 2014. 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. Shur is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Performers Brad Shur (left) and Chris Monti (right) 
Chris Monti is a writer, singer, and musician based in Somerville, MA. He has released three records: Home, Locust Grove, and Swampland Flowers on CMO Records. Chris has opened for and toured with country-blues great Paul Geremia, and has had the pleasure of playing music with the Providence Wholebellies (led by harmonica wizard Chris Turner), with Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, and with composer Steve Jobe (playing the gigantic Bosch Hurdy-Gurdy). Monti regularly performs for children all over New England in schools, hospitals, and community settings. In addition to guitar, Monti plays harmonica, banjo, mandolin, dobro, piano, lap steel, and kazoo.

Bella Monster loves the music from “The Yankee Peddler!” CDs with Brad and Chris’s music are now available for purchase! Call the Box Office: 617-731-6400 x 101 for more details.