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Mickey Rooney Rules in Toyland

Stage and screen legend Mickey Rooney lends his vocal performance to Rainbow Puppet Production’s latest musical "Toyland!" This 100th anniversary production of Victor Herbert’s classic musical tale features a bumbling pirate, a parade of toy soldiers, and a giant spider guarding a spooky forest.

Mickey Rooney in Toyland"Babes in Toyland" is one of the most beloved operettas of all time. Since opening in Chicago and then Broadway 100 years ago, it has been made into a delightful film starring Laurel and Hardy. In the 1960’s, Walt Disney filmed the musical with a cast featuring Ray Bolger and Annette Funnicello. Victor Herbert’s beloved melodies to "The March of the Toys," "I Can’t Do the Sum," and "Toyland" are a memorable part of the American Songbook and they are all included in this brand new adaptation.

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This latest version of Toyland takes all of the musical and dramatic highlights of the story and blends them into a fast-paced puppet spectacular. Bo Peep has lost her sheep -- could her evil Uncle Barnaby be the cause? We’ll have to follow her through the spider forest and on to Toyland where she seeks the help of the kind Master Toymaker.

In 2005 a "brand new" song by Victor Herbert!  How can that be you ask?   Well, "Babes In Toyland" has been revised and changed many times over the past 102 years.  When it originally opened, there was some dance music created for the show. There were no lyrics, just music.  Somehow, that music never made it to some of the later revisions or later screen versions of the show.  As Rainbow was preparing this production, we stumbled upon the music again.  It's really upbeat and bouncy...  and played at a speed slightly faster than originally intended, it sounds like a "patter song" from early operettas and musicals.  David Messick added original lyrics and "The Candy Song" was born.  Grumio, Bo Peep, and Tom race through the lyrics as they put the Master Toymaker's Candy Machine through its paces.  The Candy Machine figures prominently in the shows finale but you'll have to attend to see how.

This adaptation was written and arranged by David Messick, author of Rainbow’s "Really Big Dinosaur Show," "The Amazing Adventures of Chessie the Manatee," and the new musical "The Wright Brothers."

"It’s like a dream come true to work with Mickey Rooney. He provided all the magic and excitement you’d expect from an MGM star! He’s earned two Academy Awards, took Broadway by storm in ‘Sugar Babies,’ and won an Emmy along the way."

Mickey is joined by his wife, Jan Chamberlain Rooney, who provides the voice of Mother Goose. Jan currently tours with Mickey in their two person show "One Man, One Wife." She also worked as an artist at Hanna-Barbera animation studios.

Floretta the Gypsy from Rainbow Puppets "Toyland!"Other cast members include Kara Dennison as Bo Peep. She has provided voice work on many commercials and animated programs. The voice of Miss Muffett is Tiffany Haas who just completed a PBS musical special with Denyce Graves.  Tiffany joined the Broadway cast of "Wicked" in 2005. Red Riding Hood is Cindy Kays of the award-winning musical team C-Shells.

This is far from Messick’s first production of Toyland. "In the 70’s, I was cast as the giant spider in a production of Toyland," says Messick. "A year later I was made choreographer of another production. A few years after that I was directing a cast of 100 people in the largest touring production ever staged in Virginia."

Little Miss Muffett from Rainbow Puppets "Toyland!""I last directed the show on its 80th anniversary. I promised myself I’d present another on its 100th anniversary. It’s scary how fast time flies!"

Barnaby from Rainbow Puppets "Toyland!"The program was engineered by Steve Scheffler who also appears as the voice of evil Uncle Barnaby. Sets were designed by Rainbow Puppeteer Jason Wiedel. Puppeteers Kathie Davis and Regina Smith provided additional sets and costumes. Specialty puppets for the program were created by master puppet makers Laura Huff, Jill Harrington, and Frank Lakus.




Rainbow Puppet Productions



Adapted from the Operetta "Babes in Toyland"

Music by Victor Herbert

Libretto and Lyrics by Glenn MacDonough

New stage play and lyrics written and staged

by David Messick

Recording Engineered, Arranged and Produced by Steve Scheffler

Puppets by Jill Harrington, Laura Huff, Frank Lakus Kathie Davis and Christine Frank

Costumes by Regina Smith

Scenic and promotional art by Jason Wiedel

Rainbow Puppeteers include Kathie Davis, Katy Junkins, David and Marcy Messick, Regina Smith, and Jason Wiedel

Special thanks to Alyce Mott of the Victor Herbert Renaissance and Constance Grayme for their assistance in finding original source material.


Cast of Character in order of appearance

The Master Toymaker - Mickey Rooney, Red Riding Hood - Cindy Kays, The Big Bad Wolf - Don Bartlett, Jack - Tim Tharrington, Jill - Lisa Ryan, The Woman (Who Lived in a Shoe) - Chris Bartlett, Mother Goose/Fairy Princess - Jan Chamberlain Rooney, Miss Muffett - Tiffany Haas, Little Bo Peep - Kara Dennison, Barnaby - Steve Scheffler, Gonzorgo the Pirate - Craig T. Adams, Tom the Piper’s Son - Jim Stensvaag, Roderigo the Gypsy/Conductor - Jason Wiedel, The Cypress Tree - Beverley Slayton, Grumio - David Messick and Tyler Ryan





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Last modified: 06/22/17