Since the beginning, we've produced puppet shows for children that entertain, enlighten, and educate. In 1977, David Messick and a group of family and friends were asked to produce a puppet production for the Charles Taylor Library System in Hampton, Virginia. "Jack and the Beanstalk" became our first show.
Our first puppets were marionettes or string puppets. We soon converted these to rod puppets to create better site lines at the libraries where we played.
In 1981, we started producing live musicals and changed our name from David Messick Productions to Rainbow Productions. We also became a non-profit corporation.
Our plays included "Hansel and Gretel," "Return to Oz," and "Beauty and the Beast." Our most challenging tour was "Babes in Toyland" featuring a cast of 100 dancers, singers and actors.
We returned to puppetry in the 1990's with an all-new production of "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "The Mother Goose Travelling Rock and Roll Show."
A trip to Tampa, Florida exposed David to amazing life-sized marine puppets crafted by master puppeteer Frank Lakus. A partnership with the Virginia Aquarium and Young Audience of Virginia helped us create our most successful tour or all... "The Amazing Adventures of Chessie the Manatee." We found our place... creating shows that entertain, educate and enlighten... through puppets, music, and dance.
In "Chessie the Manatee," one of the characters sings of putting on a musical show "like Mickey Rooney." A chance meeting with Mr. Rooney in Canada eventually lead to Mickey recording 9 shows for Rainbow Puppets.
Other celebrity voices included Carol Channing as an Octopus. We saw her on the Tony Awards with L.L. Cool J. and she did a dance move that resembled an octopus and that was that. We flew to meet her... told her the idea and she was sold!
Tony Award winner Geoffrey Holder narrates "Amazon Adventures." His rich voice was perfect for the Waxy Monkey Tree Frog... the loudest frog in the Amazon. He won Tonys for his work on "Timbuktu!" and "The Wiz" and was noted for his work in the James Bond film "Live and Let Die." He was Punjab in the movie "Annie" and most recently narrated "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
Local Grammy Award winning artist Bruce Hornsby helps narrate our history program... jumping in when our actors start sharing the myth of Pocahontas instead of telling what is really known of her adventures.
Over the years, we have been lucky to perform in fabulous locations. The biggest being the Smithsonian Hazy Center near Washington DC. It's the size of several airplane hangars and we've performed underneath the Space Shuttle for one of the largest Halloween parties in the world.
In New York, we've performed at the American Museum of Natural History where our friend Mickey Rooney made "Night at a Museum."
We've performed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Center and the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in DC. Plus, the beautiful outdoor theater at Wolftrap... the national park for the arts.
Most of all, we've brought professional theater to young audiences in schools, libraries, and parks across the East Coast.
We've looked at the past, now it's time to perform for your group. Contact us right away to see how easy it is to include the Rainbow Puppets at your event.
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