Rainbow's Creatures GREAT and small
There’s an acrobatic flea, a giant stegosaurus and practically everything in between in Rainbow Puppet Production’s latest musical, "Creatures Great and Small."
Grandpa, a fixture in Rainbow shows starting with their first program, "Jack and the Beanstalk" in 1977 leads audience members on a musical review of animal songs and stories. During the course of the program, you’ll meet all sorts of marine life including singing fish, a Blue Crab and a Fiddler Crab.
Farley the Fiddler Crab will lead the audience in a blue-grass styled hoe-down, Bert the Blue Heron will perform a high-stepping big band number. Other highlights include "The Three Little Pig Opera" and a pair of singing dinosaurs.
The program is a musical review of animal songs written by David Messick, an award winning author who has created many touring children’s musicals including the long running "Amazing Adventures of Chessie the Manatee" and "Noah’s Floating Zoo."
"We started producing shows for libraries in 1977 when the Charles Taylor Library in Hampton first asked us to produce a puppet show for their summer reading program," says Messick. "As we were creating this year’s show we knew we wanted to do something about animals. I started looking back at our work and realized we had 100 original songs in our catalogue and many of them related to animals."
"Over the years, our shows kept getting bigger and bigger and many, like "The Really Big Dinosaur Show" just couldn’t fit into most libraries. That 18 foot long neck and nine feet tall T-Rex could more than fill some of the libraries that request our shows. So a musical review featuring our songs and puppets — without the huge set pieces was born."
Voices were created by many Rainbow veterans. Tim Tharrington sings some of the show’s most memorable songs including "I’m So Blue," performed by Crabis the Blue Crab. He sings the tongue-twisting "Animal Parade Song" and concludes the show singing "The Dinosaur Hop." He was Hansel in Rainbow’s 1980 tour of "Hansel and Gretel" as well as a principal countless other Rainbow shows.
Wife and husband team Chris and Don Bartlett provide voices for a singing amoebae and a vain dinosaur. Lisa Ryan is the musical director and lead singer in "The Three Little Pigs Opera." Steve Scheffler provides the voice to Farley the Fiddler Crab.
David Messick is the voice of Grandpa. His other credits include producing voices and characters for Chuck E. Cheese. He has worked on development projects for the Disney Channel, FOX TV, and Paramount Pictures.
Puppets were created by artists from Virginia, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Among others, dinosaurs are by Tampa’s master puppeteer Frank Lakus and Newport News artist Laura Huff. The Blue Crab is by Fuzz and Stuffing puppeteer Craig T. Adams. Puppet Arts Center of Virginia president Christine Frank created the fiddler crabs. Additional puppets are by Puppet Arts Center of Virginia founder Helen Spaetzel, Prince Puppet’s Jill Harrington, and Rainbow’s puppeteer Fiona Andrews.
A recent review:
"The puppet show that you performed for our students at Tarrant today was absolutely wonderful!! The puppets and the songs truly illustrated the types of animals that are found in our environment. Our children truly enjoyed the performance.
Thank you for such an excellent SOL-driven performance!!"
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