The Rumpelstiltskin Society
By popular demand, there will be puppet shows and events open to the public at this year's festival!
Most of the activities at PuppetFest MidWest are designed for those who
have pre-registered and are attending the whole week. If you are interested in puppetry but not able to attend for the entire week, we invite you to join us for live performances every night of the festival.
The Huber Marionettes
Tuesday, July 10 - 7:30pm
The term "puppet", or in this case "marionette", conjures preconceived images which have little to do with The Huber Marionettes. This company has always had a primary appeal for adult audiences. Phillip Huber's manipulation is the key to their success. In a series of variety vignettes, he reveals incredibly compelling characters of humor, pathos, drama and grace. Fantasy is imbued with a sense of reality. These are not performances of grand spectacle, but rather ones employing subtle artistry to touch the innocence within us all ..... an entertainment that makes you "smile with your heart" .
Grey Seal Puppets
Wednesday, July 11 - 7:30pm
Receiving gifts everyday of the year sounds like a dream come true. But for the mighty Emperor, who can have anything he wants at the snap of his fingers, the dream turns into a nightmare. Bored with the constant barrage of “fru frus,” “doo daas,” and “gobbledy gook,” the Emperor seeks something else... the beautiful song of a simple gray bird, the nightingale. The bird's song enchants everyone in the palace, until the arrival of a curious box with a picture of the nightingale inside.
The box sings as beautifully as the real nightingale and whenever the Emperor desires. Mesmerized, the Emperor and his faithful court jester watch the box all the time. One day the singing box fails to work. Devastated, the Emperor grows ill and can only be rescued from death by the song of the real nightingale.
Adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen story, The Nightingale is presented in a unique style. The puppeteer as storyteller, takes on the guise of several characters as well as bringing to life the large rod and shadow puppets. With original music and a Dr. Seuss inspired design, The Nightingale is truly enchanting.
|SOCK PUPPET SERENADE
Thursday, July 12 - 7:30pm
Singing socks on strings. Dancing box on strings. A dozen intricate marionettes are the featured performers in this delightful, amusing and eclectic showcase. As noted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Artist Kurt Hunter uses understated wit, astounding grace and a great menagerie of delicately stringed creatures to usher us into the odd and endearing world of marionettes.” Each carefully handcrafted marionette reflects the thirty years that puppeteer Kurt Hunter has spent perfecting his craft. There’s truly something for everyone, young and old.
|BILLY THE LIAR
A High Energy Farce for KIds of All Ages!
Toybox Theatre & Cripps Puppets
Friday, July 13 - 7:30pm
Follow Billy and his friend Suzy as he tells more and more lies and get into more and more TROUBLE! Learn new vocabulary and life lessons! Plus Ponies! Told through the use of Czech style rod marionettes, toys, and over-sized toy theatre.
"Billy the Liar" was conceived by Keith Shubert of Toybox Theatre. His storytelling is defined by the surprising warmth of its comic darkness; Keith’s villains are often as sweetly naive as his protagonists and equally endearing to children and adults. A prolific artist, Keith was most prominently featured this past year in the stylish alternative publication Glubdub - Tales From The Underground.
Taking the lead on show construction is Madison J. Cripps of Cripps Puppets. Madison’s intricate marionettes spring to life in his hands with personalities almost as outgoing as his own. While some are friendly, like his foot-smelling rabbit or maudlin street sweeper Sammy, others are blood thirsty, egotistical, or dangerously insane. All of them share a need for attention and love that makes them both relatable and memorable to a crowd.
Valerie Meiss provides the sound and musical design for Billy the Liar. Though Valerie is an accomplished visual artist in her own right, she is best known as the accordion virtuoso with the rich operatic voice from the Hellblinki Sextet, a band that combines American folk, European cabaret, and punk rock with costumed spectacle.
|Jack and the Beanstalk
Saturday, July 14 - 7:30pm
Though English in origin, Jack has become a true American Folk Hero. Jack and the Beanstalk focuses on Jack and his many adventures; from Jack be Nimble, Jack Horner, Big Jack and Little Jack to the popular Jack and Beanstalk: the four part mini-series. Based on the Appalachian folk tales collected by Richard Chase.
Jack and the Beanstalk utilizes the ancient art of shadow puppetry in a new and innovative way. With songs and stories and well over 80 handcrafted shadow puppets, Jack Tales is sure to delight young and old.
Jim Napolitano (NappY’s Puppets) is a native of Milford, Connecticut, and a graduate of the University of Connecticut's Puppet Arts Program. After completion of his degree, Jim worked with Bits and Pieces Puppet Theater, Performing around the country and around the world, including The National Culture Center in Japan and The National Theater in Taiwan.
Jim is now working as a freelance artist and performer. Jim’s television credits include the PBS show, Between The Lions, as well as The Book Of Pooh, The Weinerville Chanukah Special, A Show of Hands and Stick Stickly . Jim has also worked on programs for Scholastic Home Video and HBO Pictures.
“It is a wonderful experience to watch a former student develop a professional career with depth and breadth and the respect of his peers. Jim has grown to become a resource to the Puppet Arts Program.”
Bart Roccoberton, Professor of Puppet Arts University of Connecticut
Hoover Theater, the perfect venue for puppet shows
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