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

This has been a crazy few weeks.  Between all the items I balance in any given week, I’ve had the wonderful surprise of two different individuals coming to my website, checking it out, and emailing me to order puppets.  I now feel like a bona fide artisan. 🙂

My puppet class I teach is ending next week for the semester, and while I won’t get my weekly dose of teaching and hallmark moments from “my kids” until July (for a two week summer camp) and then September (for the next 10-week semester), this semester’s class has just amazed me with their talent, creativity, optimism, and downright joyful exuberance. I am truly going to miss them in the down time, but luckily most of them have promised to be in the next class, too.

Spring 2012 Puppet Class at the Tusc Co Center for the Arts - Setting up for a video shoot for the final for Puppet class, "Let's Talk about Letters"

I’ve been lucky enough to have 2 different opportunities for them to go “fuzzing.”

Let me define “Fuzzing” — one of my students and I have taken the idea of performance art / street art and mingled it with puppeting to bring you “Fuzzing” — or the art of bringing the puppets to the people.  Sometimes it’s formal, like the past two events I’ve taken the kids to.  We have gone to two local community areas and set up a table with our puppets and basically talk to whoever stops by, young and old, let them try the puppets, explain who we are, what we do, basically do meet-n-greet.  (I think it’s important for the kids to be able to give back to and interact with the community.)  Formal or informal, it doesn’t really matter.  Sharing puppets with the community is really just about spreading joy.  And who couldn’t use more of that?