So Long Mickey! Thanks for all the fun!
Rainbow statement about Mickey:
The Rainbow Puppets are saddened to learn of the loss of their supporter and friend Mickey Rooney. The legendary entertainer died April 6, 2014 surrounded by members of his family.
“We send our prayers and warm thoughts to Mickey’s wife Jan and the entire family during this sad time. It’s still very hard to believe… Mickey just kept going and going and going,” said Rainbow Productions founder David Messick. “We will certainly miss him and will think of him often.”
Mickey Rooney’s career began in vaudeville with his parents. He later transitioned to silent movies as the star of the kid comedy series where Mickey portrayed comic book character Mickey McGuire. Mickey legally changed his name from Joe Yule, Jr. to Mickey McGuire. The last name “Rooney” came later. He transitioned to sound films and was not only successful… he was for a time the most profitable star in Hollywood.
He starred in series of musicals with Judy Garland, in “National Velvet” with Elizabeth Taylor. His favorite film may have been “Boys Town.” “I’d call to wish him happy birthday and he’d be busy watching he and Spencer Tracy in the film,” says Messick. “I first saw him in the Broadway show ‘Sugar Babies’ in the 1980’s. I said one day I want to work with him… and it really happened.”
Mickey joined the Rainbow Puppets in 2003 to star in the 100th anniversary production of “Babes in Toyland.” “I imagined having the biggest, most heartwarming star in the world as the Master Toymaker… and only Mickey Rooney would do. Fortunately, his agent remembered meeting me earlier at a Mickey performance and they understood our mission to take professional productions to schools and to areas that might never see professional theater… and they agreed to help.”
“The day we recorded, Mickey had been up the night before with the travelling show he and his wife performed. They also had a performance that night. He came into the recording room and frankly, a person half his age would have been justified in being tired. But no… we said ‘action’ and immediately… Mickey turned to the camera, became 30 years younger and said ‘Welcome to Toyland!’ just the way I had written it only better than I ever could have imagined.”
This was followed by productions of “Pirate Party” co-starring Carol Channing, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” and as Old King Cole telling tales like “The Three Little Pigs.”
“At the time of Mickey’s death, Rainbow was busy preparing yet another production featuring Mickey… “Jack and the Beanstalk” will be presented this summer… narrated and now in tribute to our friend Mickey Rooney.”
“But anyone who’s worked with Mickey knows… he was fast… let’s get this done in one take… let’s not sit around idle… and in that spirit there is yet another Rooney production on the way. His last recorded performance for us will be “The Land of Oz” which he and his wife Jan also recorded for us. We will miss recording and working with Mickey. Fortunately, his work remains to delight and entertain generations to come.”
An adventure with the Tuskegee Airmen
Our newest production! Just premiered at the Smithsonian and now ready to tour.
Available and on tour right now!
Based on the east coast of Virginia, we are frequently seen in Williamsburg, Hampton, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Richmond, the Eastern Shore, and the Outer Banks. While we are headquartered in Hampton Roads, Virginia, we tour nationally and have been seen in the smallest of venues to the grandest opera houses!
We are currently on tour with Toyland! with Mickey Rooney, Amazon Adventures with Geoffrey Holder, Jonah, The Wright Brothers, Creatures Great and Small, and Speak Out. Many of our original songs and stories by company founder David Messick are available on CD.
Rainbow Productions began in 1977 producing original children's musicals for libraries. These library shows later grew into huge musicals including a tour of "Babes in Toyland" featuring a cast of over 100 performers. We now provide educational puppet programs and workshops for schools, host an annual puppet festival, and present elaborate presentations in select theaters across the country.
Rainbow Puppet Productions is a member of Puppeteers of America and is a charter member of the Puppet Arts Center of Virginia (PACOV).
We produce touring theater productions for schools, libraries, theaters, churches, synagogues, museums and other venues. Our mission is to entertain first, while we educate and inspire young minds to respect other people and the world around us.
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