Puppet Fun at the Whitefire

Keith Ferguson as Lady Gaga Monster performing “Born This Way” with, from l, Jordan Kai Burnett and Karla Loaiza as background dancers.

In 2010, famed puppeteer Michael Earl (Mr. Snuffleupagus of Sesame Street) teamed with Roberto Ferriera to open Puppet School, where “imagination and creativity meet.” A new original musical, entitled Puppet Jukebox II — The Return of the Gaga is a vibrant, live stage show at the Whitefire Theatre, where a dynamic group of enthusiastic up and coming puppeteers let their imaginations run wild through music and creative expression. Tracing all the way back to the Renaissance period, with Commedia Dell’Arte, featuring puppets and “masked types” such as Punch and Judy, and Pulcinella — puppetry and carnival shows have flourished as a colorful, amusing form of entertainment.

As Earl poignantly states, “Viewpoints of the world are expressed through puppetry.” Puppets have proven to be a most expressive form to communicate ideas and moral messages — from Kukla, Fran & Ollie; to Pinocchio; to Bill Baird’s marionettes; to Sesame Street; to the Muppets and Avenue Q.

One very important message presented by the talented cast of characters was the sketch “Born this Way,” with lyrics by Lady Gaga, performed by Keith Ferguson, Karla Loiza, and Jordan Kai Burnett, where the vital message in this bully-ridden society of ours is reinforced: “Be appreciative of what you have — be who you are — because everybody is special and unique in his/her own way.” The song and its message is empowering to all those who feel they don’t fit in or belong — to find their own uniqueness and special inner voice. This show would be a great vehicle to present to schools nationwide, to increase tolerance and reduce bullying behavior and violence.

To introduce each decade of the “Jukebox” songs, a multi-media slideshow, with music of that particular era and real footage, serves as a segue to each new sketch. Pop culture icons and idols from the ‘60s through modern day are shown on the screen, bringing the audience a sense of nostalgia and a musical trip down memory lane.

Puppets resembling the likes of Britney Spears in “Oops!… I Did It Again”; Abba in “Dancing Queen”; and Elvis in “Hound Dog” wow the audience with extravagant song and dance numbers, sure to encourage all to sing, dance, and sway along.

Puppet Jukebox is a colorful, upbeat presentation of puppets, sure to bring magic and laughter to audiences of all ages. Puppet School is the perfect way to acquire a new set of skills, with fun and joy every step of the way.

For tickets or information regarding Puppet School, call (818) 986-9944 or visit www.puppetschool.com.


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