"The Nutcracker" Celebrates 29 Years of Family Fun!
It's hard to believe that it was 29 years ago that the Puppet Co. debuted "The Nutcracker" with the Arlington Symphony. That's nearly 2000 performances for well over a quarter of a million people! See the rave reviews here. Tiny Tots @ 10:00 has "Nutcracker Fantasy" on Wed., Sat. & Sun.
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - FIVE STARS! - “Simply put, if this production cannot get you into the Christmas spirit, then nothing can. With life-sized puppets, splendid effects, and a beautiful score, The Puppet Co.’s The Nutcracker is extremely enjoyable for people of all ages.
If your family is only seeing one show this holiday season, then make it The Puppet Co.’s The Nutcracker." - Julia L. Exline
Huffington Post - “My children, ages 2 and 5, sat through the entire 50-minute production and walked away as in love with the story as I am. When the show ended my son asked if we could see the show again -- his highest praise. I think we have the start of a new holiday tradition." - Jamie Davis Smith
DC Theatre Scene - “Well, now I’ve seen everything – a puppet rendition of The Nutcracker that works and will have you clamoring for more. There’s a reason why The Puppet Company has lasted nearly 30 years with The Nutcracker as its prime jewel — it features the perfect blend of actors in beautifully crafted masks and marionettes which are tiny masterpieces, telling the tale." - Debbie Jackson
Caffeine and a Prayer - “...though it is very much a departure from the ballet performance I grew up with, it was absolutely appropriate for their ages and a great introduction." - J. J. Newby
Culture Radar - “Around this time every year there are a wide array of Nutcracker performances to choose from, so it's exciting when a show really sets itself apart with an irresistible new twist."
Show Biz Radio - “The Puppet Company’s telling of The Nutcracker, in a not-so-traditional way using not-so-traditional actors, was enchanting. If you’ve never experienced The Nutcracker, this is an excellent introduction. And if you’re weary of ballet versions, the Puppet Company comes to your rescue with their 24th year of performing this holiday classic.." - Laura and Mike Clark
DCTheaterScene.com - The Hansel and Gretel simple familiar story comes to life with the right artists involved. In addition to directing, Allan Stevens is the multifaceted designer for puppets, costumes and sets. This rendition blends classical music with enough modern touches to keep the story fresh and engaging. On top of all that, watching a master puppeteer orchestrate and portray so many characters within the rich storyline is a treat for the entire family. - Debbie Jackson
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - As interesting as the beautiful puppets themselves (if not more so) is watching performer Christopher Piper manipulate them, sometimes controlling up to three at once. Piper also performs all the vocal characterizations, lending a uniqueness to every character (watch out for some playful German accents in this show!. How he manages to juggle all of these responsibilities at once, I’ll never know, but it is always impressive to watch someone who has mastered their craft. - Julia L. Exline
Our-Kids.com - Parents will also appreciate the simple and unaffected nature of this show. It is wonderful to see children enjoying and actively responding to a live performance free of any high-tech components, animation or character marketing. - Jennifer Rosenberg
DC Theatre Scene.com - The Puppet Co finds fresh new ways to share age-old tales where the characters have personality and wit. The gorgeous puppets, costumes and creative set design are all by Allan Stevens who also directed. Piper’s ad libs, scene development and flawless timing bring out chuckles in all the right places and also some unexpected spots with layered humor. Continuing their legacy of quality entertainment, The Puppet Co delivers fun for the entire family with Rapunzel. - Debbie Minter Jackson
TheatreBloom.com - Christopher Piper is a genius with control of these extraordinarily exquisite puppets. Unique in their style, these hand puppets are sculpted with precision and the utmost attention to detail. Crafted in tribute to the style of old-school punch-n-Judy puppets, watching these regal characters move about under the skilled guidance of Piper’s masterful puppeteering is a trip down memory lane for any adult that has ever attended a puppet show and a brand new discovery for any child that has yet to do so. - Amanda N. Gunther
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - In an unexpected twist the character of Witch Wortsmith is seen in a more forgiving light. Described as a “wishy-washy witch” by Piper, her intentions are honorable, but come from a selfish place. In this, we are able to see that characters can be much more complex than just “good” or “evil.” - Julia L. Exline
Our Kids.com - All hail Christopher Piper! The master puppeteer himself takes on six personalities in this one man show. To be able to change puppets, voices, and scenery requires great attention to detail. Piper’s calm and collected ability in doing so was flawless. - Kathleen Molloy
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - Piper is extraordinarily skilled at performing multiple characters in a solo act, lending each one a specific voice and unique mannerisms. This wide range is very impressive, and it makes him a joy to watch. - Julia L. Exline
MocoVox.com - Come for the story but do not be surprised if your kid picks up a little about classical music in the process. - David Cannon
DC Theatre Scene.com - You could tell that an old tale was getting fresh new treatment from the first hip-hopping beat to when a cool dude wolf bops along dropping the scoop from His perspective for a change. And is it an eye opener. The original flava-fresh script by Christopher Piper offers delightful new twists about what really might have happened when pigs decided to build houses made of straw, wood and finally brick. - Debbie Minter Jackson
Our-Kids.com - The show opens with the Wolf rapping and dancing. He wins over his audience immediately. I have never been to a children's show where the room erupted in laughter within seconds of the performance start but that is exactly what happened here. - Jamie Davis Smith
MocoVox.com - The show is totally enjoyable and not in the least profound. Yes amid all the silly antics and bad puns there are some cleverly woven themes that children can learn and adults appreciate. Not bad for a 40 minute parody of well-worn stories. - David Cannon
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - The puppets used in this production are rod puppets, and, like all of The Puppet Co. shows, they are the real “wow” factor; detailed, colorful, and maneuvered with a whimsical grace by the puppeteers...Indeed, while walking up to the venue, a child ran past me, full of excitement, yelling, “YAY! IT’S PUPPET TIME!” I’ve got a couple of decades on this kid, and yet, I have to admit that I felt the same way - Julia L. Exline
Kid Friendly DC - When I asked Owen to tell me his favorite part of Little Red Riding Hood & The Three Little Pigs, he immediately replied, “The wolf!” And when I asked him why he said, “Because he’s so funny and so rock and roll!” Okay, maybe my sweet boy is not quite up on his music genres, but I know what he means and I completely agree. The wolf was definitely the star of the show. And the show (what I saw of it, anyway) was very cute—a nice fusion of two classic fairy tales, brought together by the big bad rapper. - Kid Friendly DC
DCTheaterScene.com - These kinds of sophisticated touches ratchet Puppet Co.’s productions to a special place in family entertainment. They don’t get stuck in nursery rhymes or mindless pablum to youngsters. Instead, there’s a constant effort to keep everyone fully engaged by elevating the artistry and the message, and this production is no exception. - Debbie Jackson
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - The Puppet Co. does what it does best with Sleeping Beauty– it takes a beloved classic and delivers it through the medium of beautiful and professional puppetry. - Julia L. Exline
MocoVox.com - There are surprises right up to the end of the piece. What happens in the final scene with the Frog is unexpected, and how the hero arrives to save the day is quite imaginative. - David Cannon
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - FIVE STARS! - “I always enjoy an afternoon at The Puppet Company– the productions are top-notch and the staff is always warm and welcoming. Residing in the beautiful Glen Echo Park, a show and a stroll makes for a perfect family outing now that the weather is getting warmer. Embrace upcoming Spring with a showing of Beauty and the Beast!"
DC Theater Scene.com - “Christopher’s Beast is also a work of art, covered in brown fur, more like a ferocious king of the jungle than menacing or scary, while the father is stately with a caring expression."
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - FIVE STARS! - “The Puppet Co. broadens children’s horizons as far as their favorite tales are concerned, showing them in a new angle, a new light (which is ironic, because in reality they are much older than the Disney versions)."
Our-Kids.com - “If you have not seen a puppet show at the Puppet Co. in Glen Echo Park, you and your family are in for a treat."
Our-Kids.com - “Pride and Vanity, Beauty's spoiled sisters, were a riot!"
MoCoVox.com - “...the Beast’s castle turns out to be a wonderland of enchanted rooms that could easily captivate any child’s imagination."
DC Theatre Scene - FIVE STARS! - “You can feel the legacy and poignancy throughout –these puppets have a backstory and have entertained generations of families. They have a classic look and feel in the cut, weight and shape of the wood, movement of the segmented parts and facial expressions unlike anything you’ll see in modern cookie-cutter productions. Using an actual person, master puppeteer, Allan Stevens, as Gepetto the woodcarver adds a special touch, bringing the tale even closer to home and reality." - Debbie Minter Jackson
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - FIVE STARS! - “This is the second version of Pinocchio that I’ve seen at The Puppet Company; wildly different from one produced a couple of years ago, but just as enjoyable. While the audience is usually familiar with these tales, they are usually given rawer versions of them instead of the Disney versions that they are accustomed to. This guarantees that while the children are interested and engaged, they are also shown that there is more than one way to tell a beloved story, and they often come up with versions of their own as they excitedly leave the venue. I see imagination encouraged and uplifted every time I visit The Puppet Co., and I highly recommend Pinocchio for an afternoon of family fun!" - Julia L. Exline
DC Theatre Scene - “The marionettes (24 in total) are so real-looking, (Pinocchio has eyebrows that move and a nose that really grows) and interact so naturally with Allan Stevens (playing the father, the man who puts Pinocchio in a cage, and the Coachmaster) you forget they are puppets. Some of the expressive moments, including a crying ballerina and Pinocchio embracing his father, are quite touching." - Miriam Chernick
TheatreBloom.com - It’s the genie puppet, both larger than life, and more regally majestic than the wildest depths of the imagination, that truly inspires gasps of awe in the audience. There is a striking and enchanting beauty in the craftwork of this enormous puppet; mysterious and marvelous and just a little bit scary too. The way he arises is a strike of surefire theatrical genius as well. - Amanda N. Gunther
DC Theatre Scene - “The Puppet Co’s Aladdin was cited in the Washington Post weekender Express as a “must see.” I agree. The puppetry is divine, and the lavish tale from “One Thousand and One Arabian Nights,” is presented with an exotic flair for an “only at the Puppet Company” experience." - Debbie Minter Jackson
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - This is one consistent thing that I truly love about the Puppet Co.: they perform the familiar stories that you love and cherish in their truest version, and it is always incredibly interesting and just different enough to make it a new experience. The vibrant storytelling mixed with the jaw-dropping puppetry makes this venue one of my very favorite places to visit for children’s theater. - Julia L. Exline
Washington Post - “Children wriggled with delight when a cute and cuddly elephant carrying a princess on his back strolled down the aisle during a recent show of Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp at the Puppet Co. They oooh’d and ahhhh’d when a ginormous genie loomed onstage." - Jane Horwitz
Our-Kids.com - The Puppet Co.’s production of Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp is breathtaking. Through the use of larger-than-life puppets, video productions, and other special effects The Puppet Co. brings Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp to life is a mesmerizing way. My children (4 and 7) could not settle on a favorite part. First it was the Princess entering on a (nearly) life-sized elephant, then it was the Sultan growing higher and higher on his pile of jewels, then it was the enormous purple genie, then “all the funny parts.”. - Jamie Davis Smith
Our-Kids.com - Before I took my kids to see The Puppet Co.’s latest main stage production, Snow White and the 7 Dwarves, I knew we were in for treat. Besides the fact that we’ve never been disappointed by a performance there, the description of the show promised their “usual sideways view of a popular story,” which I appreciate just as much as the incredible craftsmanship of the puppets. - Jamie Davis Smith
DC Theatre Scene.com - That scene alone with everybody twirling in their gorgeous gowns is worth the trip to Glen Echo Park. The costumes designed by Allan Stevens and created by MayField Piper are among the most beautiful I’ve seen. For the Ball, Cinderella enters in a glittering jewel encrusted white gown and silver mask while the entire entourage is also dressed up in colorful finery and multi-colored glittery masks. - Debbie Minter Jackson
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - FIVE STARS • The Puppet Co.’s Cinderella will give your children (and yourself!) a different angle of the classic told through puppetry and filled with elegance. Treat your family to a new twist on an old favorite. You’ll have a ball! - Julia L. Exline
MocoVox.com - [Cinderella] has always been one of the finest productions at the Puppet Co and they do it again with all the charm and magic that this classic story deserves. - David Cannon
Our-Kids.com - The story is very sweet and my husband said it was his favorite of all the Puppet Co. Theatre shows our family has attended. Backdrops for the show change seamlessly from the rolling hills of France, to the kitchen where Cinderella toils, to the Royal Palace. The show injects some magic when, with a little bit of smoke, Cinderella is given a lovely new dress, a pumpkin is changed into a carriage, and Prince Charming the Cat is changed into a horseman. My children were transfixed by these changes. Throughout the show, children are shown that it is ugly to be mean, the importance of being kind to everyone, that you should not judge people based upon their appearance and that it is alright to stand up to bullies. - Jamie Davis Smith
MD Theatre Guide - This Cinderella is a winner for kids and adults alike.- Elliot Lanes
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - FIVE STARS • Then the rod puppets come in, always beautiful and detailed, appearing so fragile and yet proven tougher than they seem as they thrash about the stage, manipulated by the puppeteers. With their medieval garments and large, hooded eyes, they have a sense of majesty about them that never fails to amaze me.. - Julia L. Exline
DC Theatre Scene.com - The Puppet Co’s rendition of this familiar tale brings new life and zest to the familiar passages by bringing a modern edge and sensibility to the story. - Debbie Minter Jackson
MD Theatre Guide - The Puppet Co. Playhouse does it again with a sweet adaptation of a classic fairytale. This time the fairytale is Jack and the Beanstalk with rod puppets and an exciting surprise carnival puppet as the giant.- April Forrer
MocoVox.com - Despite the limited resources compared to the Hollywood film, the Puppet Co still provides giant sized entertainment. - David Cannon
Our-Kids.com - Puppets are combined with projected images on a screen and a live Giant to make the tale come alive in a unique and visually appealing way. - Jamie Davis Smith
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - Juggling bears, flying trapezes, and tightropes! The Puppet Co. presents Circus, a spectacle of tricks and feats led by a band of marionettes, beautifully crafted by the talented Len and Pat Piper, Christopher and Mayfield Piper, and Allan Stevens. - Julia L. Exline
MocoVox.com - It’s a tribute to the circuses of our youth, and what better way to spend a late summer weekend. - David Cannon
Our-Kids.com - ...patrons are treated to a non-stop variety of tricks that elicited more ohhs, ahhs, and wows than I have ever heard at a live performance. After each act my son asked me if there would be another and was continually delighted with the entertainment on stage. When the show did come to an end he was visibly disappointed as were other children who didn't want the "circus" to end. - Jamie Davis Smith
MD Theatre Guide - If you want all the thrills and chills of a traditional circus and a heaping helping of puppet magic, then don’t miss Circus! at The Puppet Co.- April Forrer
TheatreBloom.com - In a fun and fantastical demonstration using only his thumb and fingers (and later a simple rubber ball and felt) we are introduced to Maribelle, one of the oldest hand puppets in Piper’s repertoire. She’s a fun and spunky gal with a lot of comedy to offer to the audience. The children also get introduced to Madam Wazo, better known as the Evil Stepmother from Cinderella, who is a rod puppet. There’s even a very special marionette bear named Bimbo! He does incredible tricks with Piper’s help. It’s an exciting adventure that is part of the show before the story begins and the children seem to eat up every minute of it. - Amanda N. Gunther
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - Piper uses a range of voices, so that each character has a distinct personality. From the deep monotone of the eldest brother, the pipsqueak whine of the youngest, and the rough yell of the troll, every character is unique - Julia L. Exline
DCTheaterScene.com - Only the creative minds of folks from The Puppet Co could find a zany way to give the Wizard of Oz story a fresh new spin while encouraging imagination and make believe. In their usual fashion, the company members took the time to deconstruct the scenes to relay the message with a contemporary flair while staying true to the original script, and created bouncy new tunes with ultra-witty lyrics, original music by Christopher Piper and Eric Brooks. - Debbie Jackson
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - How could you go wrong with a production of The Wizard of Oz at The Puppet Co.? Parents are able to re-discover a childhood favorite with their own children, and have a blast while doing so. Take your tot before they head back to Oz! - Julia L. Exline
Our-Kids.com -Who doesn’t love The Wizard of Oz? It is one of my all-time favorite stories and I was excited to find this opportunity to share it with my daughter without worrying about a poor reaction to the scary parts of the movie. The Puppet Co. retains the most well-known parts of the beloved tale while inserting some original twists. There are also many details from the original book, such as Dorothy’s silver shoes, which they take care to point out. - Jamie Davis Smith
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - FIVE STARS - I see imagination encouraged and uplifted every time I visit The Puppet Co., and I highly recommend Pinocchio for an afternoon of family fun! - Julia L. Exline
Our-Kids.com -In a world of slick, buzzing, quick-cutting entertainment, a puppet show delivers retro pleasures: puppets with the strings showing, simple projected backdrops, vintage tunes. A play like the Puppet Co.’s Pinocchio reminds families that classic stories never go out of style. - Amy Alipio
Gazette.net - Hudert enjoys playing all the different characters in the Potter stories — everything from a frog and a duck to a fox and mice. “For 45 minutes, it’s me and my puppets,” he said. “When you love what you do, it’s not work.” - Virginia Terhune
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - While this is a show specifically for children, adults will also enjoy the impressive puppetry and well-made hand puppets, as I myself did. Engaging and entertaining, I highly recommend Tales of Beatrix Potter for a fun family outing. - Julia L. Exline
MocoVox.com - The stories are well told by Hudert, who performs all the voices and characters, and each tale has a clear plot and an underlying theme. We go from the horseplay of the two mice to the final two stories where the main characters face real danger. If Jeremy Fisher and Jemima seem threatened at some point in their story, I don’t think it is giving too much away to say everything has a happy ending. - David Cannon
DCTheaterScene.com - With hand puppets and a simple box set, [Christopher Hudert] presents three Beatrix Potter favorites, each relaying its own messages of care and consideration for others, told with wonder and even hints of lurking danger, especially in the last tale. Nothing is as simple as it first appears in the talented hands of an experienced entertainer, in this case, literally. - Debbie Jackson
MD Theatre Guide - Christopher Hudert’s puppets are engaging and he does a great job ensuring each puppet has their own personality. I especially enjoyed Jeremy Fisher’s song that had most of the audience, child and parent alike, clapping along.- April Forrer
MD Theatre Guide - The Puppet Co.’s atmosphere is especially child-friendly, choosing broad, colorful rugs for families to casually sprawl across instead of formal seating.- Julia L. Exline
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - FIVE STARS • There are many fun moments in this production, and one of my favorites is when the boy is ordered to go fishing for Blackbeard’s dinner and catches a “toothbrush shark. - Julia L. Exline
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - This show is a short one, and perfect for younger children who can grow easily restless, or for parents with a tight schedule. Make an afternoon trip to the family-friendly The Puppet Co. more memorable by attending a performance of Toyland!- Julia L. Exline
MoCoVox.com - It is all fun and games and things never get too serious. Yes the villains abduct the Toymaker but it is hilarious how they pull that off. The heroes enter a ‘forest of no return” but things do not get too creepy there. Along the way there is plenty of slapstick humor, and a variety of puns ranging from simple jokes about “duct tape” to an inside joke based on performer Christopher Piper’s name.- David Cannon
MD Theatre Guide - Christopher Piper and Tony Strowd do a wonderful job behind the scenes working all of the puppets, with at times more than 5 puppets on stage at one time. Toyland is true “old school’ entertainment that adults and children will love.- April Forrer
DC Metro Theater Arts -FIVE STAR REVIEW “Treat your child (and yourself!) to Carnival of the Animals!"
Maryland Theatre Guide “The whole show was a thrill and a joy to watch.!"
WiredMomma.com -“Mr. Wired Momma noted this might have been his favorite show yet at The Puppet Co and it certainly ranks in my top five".
Mocovox.com -“Okay, I’ll bite – why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?".
Gazette.net -“Each animal is represented by different instruments,” says Judy Barry Brown, writer and director with guest puppeteers Bob Brown Puppets based in northern Virginia.".
WashingtonPost.com -What do a lion, a turtle, a chicken, a cat and a cuckoo bird all have in common? They're all animals in a puppet show called "Carnival of the Animals."
DC Metro Theater Arts.com - I loved Applause Unlimited ‘s production of The Velveteen Rabbit. It was simple and sweet, clocking in at only 40 minutes. With an extremely reasonable ticket price, it’s a better family day to welcome the Fall season by visiting the park for a day (picnics! playgrounds! carousel!) and taking in this nice little show while you’re there! The kids and adults will love it. - Julia L. Exline
DC Theatre Scene - “The tale is simple and ageless, and quite befitting for the most basic story-telling of all. In the Applause Unlimited production, the narrator, Christopher Hudert stands in front of a simple stand-up stage and introduces the hand-held puppets one by one, providing voice, songs and movement without gimmicks or fan fare." - Debbie Minter Jackson
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