The World on a String

Worth the Drive, Lifestyles Magazine, September 2008

Two minutes until showtime, and the theater’s almost full.  Audience members take their seats and settle in.  Children excitedly chatter.  Then the lights go down, and audience members hush in anticipation, focusing their attention on the stage’s red velvet curtain.  The puppet show is about to begin.

This is no ordinary puppet show, however.  It’s a production of The Center for Puppetry Arts in midtown Atlanta—the largest organization in the United States dedicated to puppetry—featuring great storytelling with visually stunning puppets and sets.

And whether you’re a longtime regular of the theater or a puppetry arts neophyte, there’s never been a better time to go. This September, the Center celebrates its 30th anniversary.  Its family series kicks off with Brer Rabbit and Friends, a commemoration of the very first story performed by the resident company in 1978, followed by the classic story of The Ugly Duckling, a brand new adaptation of the beloved children’s story Stellaluna, a new marionette production of The Little Mermaid, the musical Weather Rocks!, and a hilarious crowd-pleasing shadow show Jack and the Beanstalk. For a more international flavor, consider La Cucarachita Martina or Old Man and the Monkeys and Other Chinese Tales.

Surprising as it may sound, puppets aren’t just for telling fairy tales.  The Center’s adult series this fall features a bi-lingual Latino retelling of the classic Don Quixote as well as a creepy “show from beyond” by the Ghastly Dreadfuls.

This fall, the Center is excited to present the special exhibit Jim Henson: Wonders From His Workshop, which showcases some of the technological advances behind Fraggle Rock and Labyrinth and anticipates the opening of the Jim Henson Wing in 2012.  And while you’re there, stop by the Center’s Museum, which houses a collection of puppets, books, posters and videos from around the world.

Jon Ludwig, the Center’s Artistic Director, is always thrilled to welcome both new and familiar faces to the theater. “We are about puppets; puppets from around the world, from every country, from every culture for everyone. Come join in on the fun.”