Recreating the Past: Sewing Sousa

Recently, a commission request came through my inbox from a director I know from a prior theatre show.  The mission, should I choose to accept it? Recreate this jacket ensemble (or the spirit of this jacket ensemble) of Philip Sousa:

I love projects like this. It gives me a chance to stretch my pattern creation muscles and also really delve into the history of the piece to recreate it in a historically accurate fashion.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tackled a project like this.  This director is also the one I worked with to reproduce the costumes for the 1903 Operetta of The Wizard of Oz.  The blog article that covers this project can be found here.

So, needless to say, though puppet class has ended, I will still be sewing and busy! Here’s to historical creations: Huzzah!

I’m Off to See the Wizard

I’m sure many of you are familiar with The Wizard of Oz.  But did you know that in addition to the wonderful book series, there was a musical that predated the famous movie where Judy Garland sang us “Over the Rainbow?”  Indeed there was!  The 1902-1903 Operetta of Wizard of Oz was hugely popular in its day, and performances of it sold out across the country for multiple years.

This gem of early American musical theatre was nearly lost to us, but luckily, through the efforts of historians, enough details were kept that in the summer of 2010, the Canton Comic Opera Company produced the first performance of this wonderful musical in over 80 years. You can watch this great video montage of posters and advertisements of the original show.

Now, why am I waxing poetic about this rare musical? Well, I had the great opportunity of not only being cast in the production, but I also was commissioned to recreate the costumes for the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Poppies for the show. Talk about a wonderful creative challenge that was exciting and intimidating!

Here is photo gallery that shows my process of creating these wonderful costumes.  Also, you can go to the online gallery of the photos from the show to see the other costumes that were built or rented by others to create our 1903 version of The Wizard of Oz.

Puppet Pandamonium Part 2 – The Video Links

I finally had the time to update my YouTube account with all the videos we have made in Puppet Class at the Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts.  And so, in an act of shameless self promotion, here they are, in all their glory — links to the lovely shenanigans and puppety fun we’ve had over the past year at TCCA:


Fall 2011 TCCA Puppet Class proudly presents….

Meet the Crew

For each session of my class, we start performing with our puppets by conducting interviews with them.  This allows the kids to learn how to match their voice to their puppet’s mouth movements (and vice versa) and really helps them develop their puppets’ character.

The Talk Show

The Fall 2011 class had a big idea when it came to what they wanted to do for their final video project – they decided on a Talk Show where I (playing Harry, the Big Brown Furry Guy Talk Host) led their puppets through a series of interviews to develop the story about a Mayor in New Puppetdelphia that was giving the citizens a hard time.

Where’s Derp?

The Fall 2011 class continued their videos with the Adventure of “Where’s Derp?” – a continuation of the story from the Talk Show where we find out what happened to Derp when the Mayor imprisoned him.  (I love children’s limitless imaginations!)

Gallery Talk with Coco 2

Gallery Talk is one of my favorite projects to do with the kids is to have their puppets go around the art gallery and pick out a piece of art they like.  They then give a brief critique of it – who created it, what it is made of, and why they like it.

Gallery Talk with Sherbet

**The Fall 2011 class videos were created using my iPad 2 and iMovie.


Spring 2012 TCCA Puppet Class proudly presents….

Welcome to Puppet Class

A behind-the-scenes look at our class, who our puppeteers are, and watch us making some of our puppets.

Puppets and Letters

This year’s class decided they wanted to do some videos using their puppets to help teach younger children letters, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results! All these videos were extemporaneously spoken from a brief outline we created during class.

Gallery Talk with the Puppets: the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition 2012

Another session of Gallery Talk, this time with art created by school-aged artists all around the state of Ohio – the finalists for the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition show for 2012.

Puppet Bloopers

Many of our bloopers aren’t captured on camera, unfortunately, but here were a few that we did manage to get! Enjoy! 🙂

**The Spring 2012 class videos were made using my iPhone 4 and iMovie.