Join the Rainbow Puppeteers as they go on a treasure hunt in their all-new production of "Speak Out / The Search for Gold." It's one of our anti bullying programs and ready to tour to your location.
"The Search for Gold’ is a brand-new style of entertainment from the Rainbow Puppets," says program creator David Messick. "It includes original songs, several styles of table top puppetry, magic, life-sized costume characters and more."
The puppet team is following a treasure map… in hopes of finding treasure and gold. Along the way, they learn that respect and trust for one another is the greatest treasure of all. That’s not to say there won’t be a lot of fun during the search.
Among the stories and skits told are "The Wall," a tale of a mouse, a giraffe, and an elephant who must use their unique skills to survive in Africa.There’s even a set of spoiled triplets who present a brand-new song and dance in the middle of the show. This is reminiscent of a musical number created by Fred Astaire for the MGM musical, "The Band Wagon."
Rainbow Puppets have long specialized in school programs, Bible stories for children, and now "The Search for Gold." Produced for the National Holocaust Commission. Underwritten by Leah and Richard Waitzer.
Here are some highlights from "The Search for Gold." The puppeteers take on the roles of three spoiled babies who can't get along. This is part of the developing story where audience members learn the value of each person... despite their differences.
Noah and his ark of animals are afloat once more in Rainbow Puppet Production’s original musical “Noah’s Floating Zoo.”
The program was written and staged by Rainbow Puppet Productions founder David Messick, Jr. “I wrote this for my son Joshua, who was just a toddler at the time. Now he's one of our puppeteers,” says Messick. “I knew it was time to start telling him the classic bible stories and was a bit intimidated. Then I thought, ‘How would Andy Griffith have told this story to Opie?” and the show took shape. It’s a father telling the story in very simple fashion to his son.”
In this version of the Noah story, D.J. is ready to go on a fishing trip with his father when a thunderstorm approaches. What could have been a sad ending to a perfectly planned day becomes a great opportunity for dad to tell his version of the great flood story.
During the course of the program, giant raindrops come to life and sing a 50’s style doo-wop song, Barry and Bertha the Beavers help Noah construct the huge ark, and the entire audience joins in “The Animal Parade.” The song features an animal for every letter in the alphabet (no small task!)
“This is one of my favorite scripts,” says Messick. “It’s fast paced and a lot of fun. And what really sets it out is the great vocal talent. Husband and wife team Don and Chris Bartlett provide the voices of Noah and his wife. They are veteran Rainbow performers working with us on practically every major new musical we’ve produced.” “Kenny D’Auria is fabulous as the little Dalmatian puppy. He also does the voices for all four raindrops. Tim Tharrington is equally great as the father Dalmatian trying to make the flood story relevant for his son.”
“We got especially lucky on the voice of God. It’s Tony Award winning actor Frankie Michaels. He was in the original Broadway show "Mame” with Angela Lansbury. Frankie is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest performer to ever win a Tony Award. I was directing him in a dinner theater production of ‘Apple Tree’ where he did the voice of God. I knew that one day I would write a Noah musical and asked if he’d also record the dialogue for that. He agreed, we recorded his lines alone and I eventually wrote a show around it!”
This was Rainbow’s first brush with award winning actors. Since “Noah” premiered, Rainbow has been fortunate to work with Oscar-winner Mickey Rooney, Tony-award winner Carol Channing, and Grammy-winner Bruce Hornsby.
It's gonna rain! But Noah's prepared.
Join Jonah inside the belly of the whale as Rainbow Puppet Productions presents the musical production of "Jonah."
"This is one of the most elaborate productions we have ever created," says writer and director David Messick. "The puppets are on a ship in the midst of a terrible storm, Jonah is grabbed into the sea and swallowed by a whale puppet that’s almost six feet tall. Later, through black light puppetry, we join Jonah inside the belly of the whale."
"We have tried to incorporate multiple puppet styles into this presentation. There are standard wide-mouth people puppets, a parade puppet that rises ten feet into the air, and numerous sea creatures presented with rod puppets and hand puppets."
"Jonah" premiered to a standing ovation at the Virginia Festival of Puppet Ministry and Creative Arts in August. "This was despite, or perhaps because of a technical glitch that brought the gates of Ninevah crashing to the ground in the middle of the show," said set designer Jason Wiedel.
The story is based on the traditional Old Testament tale of Jonah. Instead reaching out to others, Jonah tries to defy God by taking a ship to the far corner of the earth. Jonah’s plan is thwarted when he ends up overboard and soon finds himself inside the belly of the whale.In addition to diverse styles of puppets, the musical score draws from various song forms. "
Jonah was probably the most charismatic character of his day… really able to move a crowd," says Messick. "His opening number has the feel of a Ricky Martin musical number with dancing and a wide array of colorful puppets."
Other musical styles include a number performed by fish inside the whale’s stomach. "Since Jonah is trying to run away from his responsibilities, I thought of the old Del Shannon song ‘Runaway’ and created a song with that 1960’s pop feel."
Newport News artist Laura Huff created principal puppets, including the giant whale. She previously crafted giant dinosaurs for Rainbow’s "Really Big Dinosaur Show." Other puppets and props are by Joyce Timberlake, Fiona Andrews, Christine Frank, Kathie Davis, and Jill Harrington. The original songs were arranged and recorded by Steve Scheffler. Scheffler also created many of the vocal characterizations heard in the program.Wiedel provides the voice for Jonah. Other vocal performances are by Tim Tharrington; Frank Mailander; Chris and Don Bartlett; Lisa, Rich, and Tyler Ryan; Fiona, Jillian and Sarah Andrews. Newcomer to Rainbow, Beverley Slayton, provides his rich bass voice as God.
"Jonah was wonderful. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it. The scenery was great and the songs and the dancing way above expectations. You did a great job; I love puppet extravaganzas. Thanks for the inspiration."
"I'm one of your biggest fans. The Jonah show was GREAT!"
JONAH has been presented at churches and synagogues alike. It follows the biblical story in a way that challenges children and adults alike.
For the kids, we include the theme "You Can't Run Away from God." That God is everywhere and He loves everyone.
For adults, we confront the difficult challenge that God does wish us to reach out to everyone with love. Even those who are different. Even those who may not like us.
This program requires a large performance space and is especially effective in a location that can be completely darkened. Call us for details.
Join Jonah, way down deep in the belly of a whale...
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