Summer is the busiest time of year for “road warrior” puppeteers, and children’s entertainers. We pack our vehicles with sound equipment, props, and puppets to travel the highways and back roads of America, sharing joy and with children.
For many of these kids, these shows are their first exposure to live theatre/performance art. I love hearing their small voices, as they enter the libraries, looking at my stage with anticipation and chattering, “It’s a puppet show, a puppet show!”
During the show, I can hear them talking to my puppet cast, responding to jokes, or giggling to the silliness on stage. The magic is working. The children are not looking at pieces of foam, fleece, or paper mache. They have entered the world of my imagination, populated by a Sea Serpent, a Sasquatch, and their fellow cast members. For the next thirty minutes, my young audience has temporarily left any worries of the real world behind. Their reward? A giggle, a song or two, and a happy memory of the day that they went to the library to see a puppet show. This memory is a treasure that they will keep forever.
We are thrilled to share this exclusive coloring page drawn by Cincinnati author/illustrator Mark Neeley: (click on image and print out)
Mark has been a friend of ours for several years and we are honored by his wonderfully playful art of the Wump Mucket Puppets. Please visit his website www.MarkNeeley.comto learn more about his books and art projects.
Be sure to share your finished coloring page on our Facebook page too!
We’ve been working hard for the past six months to bring our new BEE HAPPY show to the stage and I look forward to performing it for you very soon. Ever wonder how the ideas for this show came about?
The opening act is called Coleman’s Green Team, and touches on a subject that addresses an important ecology topic, littering. In this segment of the show Coleman the Sasquatch gently reminds the audience that we need to get bitter about litter. I live in an urban neighborhood of Cincinnati, and pick up trash daily. I find this most upsetting, and decided to help share a positive message through puppetry, that littering is ugly and we all need to pitch in and help stop it. I remember when I was a boy, watchingWoodsy Owl inTV commercials, encouraging everyone to “Give a hoot, don’t pollute”.
The Bee Happy segment of the show is inspired by my mother, who is an amateur apiarist, or beekeeper. For several years she has kept bees, and as I write this blog is visiting Eastern Europe, learning new methods. I recall being frightened of bees as a boy, and think that this is a good opportunity to help children understand more about bees, and how connected they are to so many of the fruits and vegetables that we enjoy. I hope that my young audience will enjoy G’Wizzl’s visit with QB the Queen Bee, a fantastic new puppet created by my wife Lara Rumizen. The closing song to this skit is rather catchy too!
The show is rounded out by Cyril and Coleman’s silliness, and we’ll have Unka Unka the caveman trying to plant a flower garden, right on the puppet stage!
As an special treat for our fans who enjoy coloring, Cincinnati author/illustratorMark Neeleyhas drawn a BEE-utiful new coloring page that everyone can download to print out on June 1st. I love his comical version of our puppet stars, and thank him for this wonderful contribution. BEE sure to share your finished coloring page on our Facebook page for everyone to see!
Wump Mucket Puppets has been named one of the Top 75 Puppet Blogs on the web byFeedspot.com Here’s a email from Feedspot.com founder Anuj Agarwal
I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list ofTop 75 Puppet Blogson the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!
I am proud to be included in this list of great blogs and websites, and thank everyone who reads my puppetry blog. Congratulations to all the fantastic puppeteers and puppetry fans who help promote our wonderful art form in the 21st century.
Wump Mucket Puppets are very proud to be a part of the 2017 season premiere of The Art Show on CET Public Television Cincinnati’s PBS TV station. Here is the entire program, we are the first segment. Thanks to producer Don Hancock and his entire production team for producing such a wonderful program that feature artists. Please help support your local PBS station if you are able.
The entire production process was nothing short of fantastic, everyone involved are among the best in their fields. I also wish to thank the staff of The Taft Museum for all of their help while the television crew shot my performance for use in the program.
Our summer touring season is off to a great start with an amazing week of shows, two live television appearances, a radio interview, and a FULL PAGE newspaper article!
Here’s a recap of the last week:
June 3, 2016 – Wump Mucket Puppets made their third guest appearance on WCPO TV. Anchor Chris Riva was great to chat with. Thanks to all our pals at WCPO for helping me promote the short film “A Show of Hands”.
Behind the scenes: This was Jacqui the Jackalope’s television debut. Minutes before stepping in front of the cameras, her left antler popped off. I tried to get it to stay on her head with a bit of Scotch tape… which didn’t work very well. Watch it wobble on live TV for thousands of viewers:
Behind the scenes: This radio interview was recorded in early May, and broadcast on June 5th.
June 6, 2016 – Our media parade continued into print with our very first feature article in the Cincinnati Enquirer written byGarin Pirnia. A link to read this article will be posted soon. Thank you to Garin for the help in promoting the screening of “A Show of Hands” and for telling the story of my journey as a puppeteer.
June 7, 2016 – All of the media attention would be for nothing if there wasn’t something to promote, and boy did we have that covered. Our first library show of the season was at theCarroll County Public Library, where the puppets were welcomed by many smiling, laughing children and their parents. Our silly caveman Unka Unka won the hearts of the audience with his crazy attempt to build a sand castle. He was such a hit, that many children were heard imitating him in the library after the show! “Unka say Shhhh”. Here’s a photo of Unka Unka meeting a new fan after the show. When our show was finished, I packed up to drive back to Cincinnati and prepare for the Cincinnati premiere of the short documentary film “A Show of Hands”. The film screening was attended by family, friends, and fans at the Northside branch library. Here’s a fantastic drawing that author/illustrator Mark Neeley drew to celebrate the screening:
Following the film, our audience was treated to pizza donated by our favorite Northside pizza shop, N.Y.P.D. Pizza. We then held a questions and answers session with myself and the film’s director Sean W. Mangan. Puppeteer friend Linda Mason took this photo from the audience that includes Terrence Burke, Coleman the Sasquatch, Tiernan Burke, and Sean W. Mangan: June 8, 2016 – Wednesday morning it was back to a TV studio for Coleman and Jacqui, as we made another live television appearance on WXIX FOX 19 FOX 19 holds a special place in my heart, as they were the very first television station to invite me on as a guest years ago. The producers and anchors have always been helpful and as you can see in this fun segment with Catherine Bodak, love our puppet characters:
June 9, 2016 – With the media appearances completed (until next month!) it was back on the road for our mighty little puppet troupe. Thursday we made our debut at the Gallatin County Public Library in Warsaw, Kentucky. The audience was fantastic and loved our silliness!
Behind the scenes: As I began to pack up the puppets after the show, a young boy and his mother approached me. Apparently the mom had mixed up the showtime, and her son really wanted to see us. Well, this young man didn’t go home disappointed… Cyril and Coleman sang our theme tune for him, cracked a few corny jokes, and then took him on a backstage tour! They also made sure he had coloring pages, a couple stickers, AND an autographed postcard to take home!
June 10, 2016 – We love meeting new pals, and the state of Kentucky appears to be full of new Wump Mucket Puppets fans! On Friday we returned to Carroll County to perform for a very lively audience at the Sanders Baptist Church in Sanders, KY. One of our new fans was so impressed with the show that she wrote a quick review directly after the performance: The note reads “Good job” Coleman really appreciated the note, and enjoyed meeting his new pals after the show.
With the first week of shows completed, I look forward to entertaining and meeting even more new pals on our travels as the Wump Mucket Puppets rock Summer 2016!
I am very please to share with my family, friends, and fans the trailer to promote the short film A Show of Hands, directed by Wright State University film student Sean W. Mangan. The portrait documentary looks into a dark time in my life, and how I found happiness through puppetry.
For those pals who do not follow our adventures on Facebook (please LIKE us) I will recap what’s been happening with the documentary film that has been made about me:
In late September of 2015 I was contacted by Wright State University film student Sean W. Mangan. He was interested in making a short film about me, my puppetry, and how it all came to be. We chatted on the phone, exchanged a few emails, and eventually set-up a schedule to shoot the film. Over the course of five days in October, Sean interviewed me at home, shot some footage of my family, and a couple of my puppet shows performed in Kentucky and Indiana.
During the holiday season Sean edited all of his footage into a 10 minute documentary short and gave it the title “A Show of Hands”. Then it was ready to watch! On February 12, 2016 I attended the screening at Wright State University’s 16th Annual Doc Night with students, faculty, alumni, and families of the filmmakers. I am very pleased to say that Sean has captured my story on film in a very honest and heartfelt manner, and believe that others will enjoy it too.
What’s next? We are trying to juggle our busy schedules and present the film to the public with a screening at the Northside library, where my professional puppetry career began, followed by a Q & A session with Sean and myself, perhaps a puppet or two. I thank everyone for their interest and patience as we work towards a Cincinnati premier date. For my out of town family and friends, the film will eventually be available to view online.
Thanks again for all your interest, support, and love over the years. I think you too will enjoy “A Show of Hands”. Puppets ROCK!
We are hitting the Cincinnati airwaves as guests on91.7 WVXU‘s “Around Cincinnati” program on Sunday, November 8, 2015 between 7 – 8 PM. This will be G’Wizzl’s radio debut so be sure to tune in and hear Terrence Burke and G’Wizzl chat about all things Wump Mucket! Listen online at www.WVXU.org
In other Wump Mucket Puppet news…
Film Documentary Update:
The film documentary directed by Sean Mangan is coming along nicely. I have seen a few bits, and it looks fantastic! Sean has been editing the footage that he has been shooting over the last month or so to complete a 15-20 minute film. It’s very exciting to be the subject of a documentary, and I look forward to seeing the finished film. Sean has been fantastic to work with! We are hoping to have a screening for our Cincinnati friends, and will be sure to let you know when and where as soon as we can.
New Puppet Star and skit:
A new puppet star is on the way! My wife (and chief puppet builder) Lara Rumizen has come up with a fantastic design for what we are sure will be a popular new addition to our growing cast of puppets. Can you guess what sort of fantastic new creature it will be? Here’s a few clues… This creature may have been “found” out West or on the prairie. A statue of this legendary creature was built in Wyoming. It has even found it’s way onto very popular postcards. Can you guess what it will be? Be sure to join the Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook page as we begin to post photos of this new character!
Our “Frozen Follies” Holiday/Winter show is preparing to roll out to several schools and libraries this Winter. Be sure to come and see our brand new skit “The Great Marshmallow Harvest” that stars Coleman the Sasquatch and our new puppet star! Dates and times for performances open to the general public can be found on our website’s SHOWS page.
As always, thanks for your interest in my puppetry. I hope that you can come and see our show this Winter. Puppets ROCK!
I know that it’s been MONTHS since I updated this little blog. I shall try harder to keep our friends and fans up to date on the wonderful and wacky world of Wump Mucket Puppets. I bet you are wondering what’s all this documentary talk? Well I hope you are. Let me explain…
A couple of weeks ago I received an email fromWright State Universityfilm student Sean Mangan. He asked if I would be interested in being the subject of a portrait documentary that he was directing for his film making class. His film’s purpose is to explore a human being’s story and find a way to make it relatable to an audience. I called him soon after I read the email and arranged a meeting at Wump Mucket HQ (our living room).
Our first meeting went very well. As it turns out, Sean was referred to me by another puppeteer and friend. We talked about the time commitment and began to work out a shooting schedule. During the following week, I emailed several of my clients to obtain permission to allow a film crew to follow me around at their event. The replies were all very positive, and the clients expressed their support and interest in this film. Yahoo!
Finally it was time for our first day of shooting. On October 9th we shot my interview for the film. Sean and his crew member Eric Dickey arrived with a LOAD of film equipment. It was cool to see our living room gradually turn into a mini film studio, as Sean and Eric set up all the lights required to get the right look for the film.
I made certain that I had a cup of tea, and a bottle of water on hand, for what turned out to be what I feel was a great interview. Sean’s questions were very thoughtful. His film is allowing me to tell my story as a performing puppeteer and explain what life events and challenges I have encountered during this adventure in puppetry.
I invite you to followWump Mucket Puppets on Facebook. I have posted a few photos on that page, and will be adding more as this production continues next week with a camera following me behind the scenes at my puppet show. Puppets ROCK!