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The Wright Brothers


Everything's right with . . .

The Wright Brothers

a new musical by David Messick


Experience the thrill of man’s first powered flight as Rainbow Puppet Productions presents "The Wright Brothers." The show has been developed with the Virginia Aviation Museum in Richmond, Virginia. Rainbow worked closely with the staff to ensure the program is technically and historically correct.

"We will follow the brothers from early childhood until the moment they make their first powered flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina," said show creator David Messick. "It’s such a wonderful story with an important lesson even today. Orville and Wilbur were successful because they grew up in an environment that valued and encouraged reading and they had great faith in their own abilities."

"We are telling this story with multiple puppet styles. The brothers will be presented as human arm puppets but the backgrounds and settings will be presented through the use of shadow puppetry. While this is a new style for Rainbow, shadow puppetry is the earliest form of puppetry known."

Nine original musical numbers have been written for this program including "Open a Book" where Wilbur and Orville’s mother explain all the treasures that can be found within the pages of a book.  Mike Bohme of the Virginia Aviation Museum provided technical assistance and worked to ensure the accuracy of the production.  The program worked to be correct down to the books found in the boys' library as they were growing up.

The show has been presented in Washington, D.C. for aviation museum directors from around the world and it's been kid-tested in tours of libraries including one just a block from where the Wright's completed their first successful powered flight.

Wilbur and Orville as adults were created by Newport News artist Laura Huff. She previously created giant dinosaurs for Rainbow’s "Really Big Dinosaur Show." Jill Harrington, of Prince Puppets created all additional puppets. The sets are by Jason Wiedel, co-founder of the Virginia Festival of Puppet Ministry and Creative Arts. Shadow puppets are by Peninsula artist Joyce Timberlake. The music was arranged and recorded by Steve Scheffler.

Vocal performances are provided by Steve Scheffler as Wilbur and Jim Stensvaag as Orville. Chris and Don Bartlett provide the voices for their mother and father. Tim Tharrington is the Mayor, Kathie Davis is the School Teacher, and David Messick is Gramps. Jason Wiedel narrates the story and Lisa Ryan provides additional singing to the program.

Performances at

  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

  • Wolftrap, the National Park for the Arts

  • The Virginia Aviation Museum

  • The Virginia Air and Space Center

  • National Aviation Museum Curators

  • Kitty Hawk, in sight of where the Wright Brothers first flew

  • Countless libraries, museums, and schools

Rainbow Puppet Productions: The Wright Brothers


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Copyright © 2017 Rainbow Puppet Productions
Last modified: 06/22/17