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At Glen Echo Park, Puppetry Isn't Just for Kids

A grownups-only take on a favorite family art form.

Did you love the Broadway hit Avenue Q, but leave with your appetite whetted for more? Well, puppetry for a grownup audience is coming to Glen Echo Park again this Saturday for the Playhouse Puppetry Slam!

The showcase is held in conjunction with Puppet Pandemic, an organization that fundraises for the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference Alumni Scholarships.

Puppet Pandemic is bringing five O’Neill Puppetry Conference alumni from New York to perform. The rest of the performers are from the Washington, D.C. metro area, and one from Richmond.

As always, this show’s puppets are more bawdy and edgy than Bert and Ernie, and more tender and tear-jerking than The Twiddlebugs.

Christopher Hudert and Duck Cheney (you’ll see!) emcee the evening.  Hudert tours the Mid-Atlantic doing family shows and promotes puppetry for all in lectures and workshops around the country. A clown college graduate (really!), he cofounded Applause Unlimited with master puppeteer Terry Snyder.

Travis Lope is not only a performer and puppet designer, but also a costume designer/technician. Puppeteer Tom Getchell is performing an excerpt from his MFA thesis Proleptic Voice: A Visual Poem.

Michele Valeri  (vocalist, “The Puppeteer’s Song”) is a singer, songwriter and children’s entertainer who has performed in South America, Europe and the Far East. Honey Goodenough (yes, that’s her real name) is a puppeteer, producer, educator, clown and magician. She produces Puppet Pandemic and is the founder of the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference Alumni Scholarships.

Live music will be provided by the JFQ jazz quintet. A silent auction runs from 6:30-10 p.m., with winners announced at approximately 10:30 p.m., following the 9 p.m. performance. (You must be present to purchase and collect items.)

Audiences never know what Puppetry Slam! will bring, but it’s always a treat.

“Last time the audience laughed as a rather thirsty plant got drunk and hit on the oh-so-pretty flowers beside him,” The Puppet Co. public relations manager and house manager Erin Gifford told Patch. “They swayed with performer Emma Jaster as she waltzed with a larger-than-life ghost; the audience even got to hear rejected, ole Rumpelstiltskin’s side of the story.”

Glen Echo Park's The Puppet Co., which is hosting the Puppetry Slam, is a nonprofit that produces puppet theater, especially (usually) for children. They use puppets, rod puppets, marionettes and shadow puppets in their fully staged productions of both traditional and original stories. According to Gifford, the internationally recognized theater serves approximately 80,000 children and adults annually.

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Playhouse Puppetry Slam! is showing at 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8,  at The Puppet Co. Playhouse, Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. (Doors open at 6:30 and 8:30, respectively.) Tickets are $15. Ages 13-16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 12 years and under not admitted.  301-634-5380.

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