I received complimentary passes to attend the show in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
The Center for Puppetry Arts opened to the public on September 23, 1978, when Kermit the Frog himself and his creator, Jim Henson, cut the ceremonial ribbon. Today it is the largest American non-profit organization solely dedicated to the art of puppet theater with a new refurbishment wing for an amazing museum you’ve got to see. It’s free with the purchase of a show ticket, so arrive an hour early to tour around and let your kids play in the Jim Henson area… they’ll learn a lot!
The shows performed at the Center for Puppetry Arts cater to a variety of ages, with traveling shows, in-house creations, experimental theatre, and the classics you know and love like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Below are reviews of the shows our family has seen, but if you’re ready to see one yourself, tickets for the Center for Puppetry Arts can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 404.873.3391. Every person (adults and children ages 2 & up) attending the show must have a ticket. Children under age 2 are free. The individual price for the Family Series Performance ticket includes the Create-A-Puppet Workshop™ and admission to the Worlds of Puppetry Museum. Group pricing for 10 or more people is available.
Paul Bunyan and the Tall Tale Medicine Show
It’s time to saddle up for a 10-gallon historical hoedown. The Center for Puppetry Arts is rounding up some of America’s most famous heroes and heroines to present a production packed with tall tales, twangy tunes (performed live) and glory stories of the American west.
Folklore fans will hear how the larger-than-life lumberjack Paul Bunyan and his devoted friend Babe the Blue Ox invent logging; how Hekeke saves her tribe from a terrible people-eating ogre; how John Henry single-handedly hammers his way through a mountain to become a true steel-driving man; and how Pecos Bill tames the wildest stallion in the land to become King of the Cowboys. It’s educational fun for the whole family. Dr. Bigelow will also be on hand to embellish these puppet-infused sagas with a little help from his tall tale tonic. Adapted and directed by the Center’s Artistic Director Jon Ludwig, Paul Bunyan and the Tall Tale Medicine Show features rod, shadow and hand puppets along with live music. All of the puppets, props and scenery were designed and built onsite by the Center’s staff.
Recommended for ages 4 and up, Paul Bunyan and the Tall Tale Medicine Show will be presented in the Mainstage Theater, January 22 – March 10. All-inclusive ticket prices vary but start at $9.75 (Members) and $19.50 (nonmembers) and include entrance to the Create-A Puppet Workshop™, where guests can make, decorate and perform with their own Babe the Blue Ox Hand Puppet, as well as admission to the Worlds of Puppetry Museum, featuring the largest collection of Jim Henson puppets in the world as well as a global gallery. Tickets can be purchased online at puppet.org or by calling 404.873.3391.
Create A Puppet Workshop at Center for Puppetry Arts
Immediately after family series shows, a hands-on, curriculum-based workshop for children ages four and up (ages 2 and 3 welcome if accompanied by adult puppet builder) is hosted. Create a puppet to take home (or stop by for a to-go puppet and directions) and put that puppet into performance on our classroom stage! Offered days when Family Series performances are scheduled. Times and format (instructor-led or self-guided) vary depending on day of week/time of year.
Exclusive Jim Henson Exhibit and the Global Puppetry Exhibit
Y’all have to see this! The refurbished museum is easily twice the size of the old one, housing some incredible puppets from around the World, Julie Taymor’s Disney creations, Kermit himself and a re-creation of Jim Henson’s office. Both segments of the museum offer kids some hands-on opportunities to use the puppets and even create their own. This section of the Center for Puppetry Arts is not to be missed. Arrive early or plan to stay after the creative workshop to get a glimpse of the art inside.
Love the Dark Crystal? See the Skeksis puppets. Are you more of a Labyrinth fan? the door knocker, fire guys and occasionally Sir Didymus are on display. The contradictory door shield twins are present for viewing, too. See ballroom accessories and more!
Past Center for Puppetry Arts Shows
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Families are invited to celebrate the holiday season with the Center’s puppet adaptation of the stop-motion television special… The beloved tale has become a holiday tradition for families in Atlanta and a trip down memory lane for the kids at heart. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer flies back to the Center, November 13-December 30 2018 and will be staged in the Mainstage Theater. A faithful adaptation of the classic 1964 stop-motion animated television special, the production was adapted for the puppet stage by Jon Ludwig and is directed by Tim Sweeney.
Peter Pan at Center for Puppetry Arts
The Center for Puppetry Arts invites families to take off on an adventure to the island of Neverland when the beloved fairy tale Peter Pan hits the stage, September 25 – October 28, 2018. Guests can join the Darling children on a number of adventures, including an encounter with mermaids, mischievous antics with the Lost Boys and a run-in with Captain Hook and the crocodile. Performed in blacklight, the family-favorite show features vibrant sets, flying puppets and original music to bring the magic of the beloved fantasy story to life on stage.
The Tortoise, the Hare & Other Aesop’s Fables
The Center for Puppetry Arts is pleased to present Aesop’s classic stories and morals for young audiences when The Tortoise, the Hare & Other Aesop’s Fables takes the stage. Featuring fables such as “The Lion and the Mouse;” “Country Mouse and City Mouse;” “The Fox and the Crane;” “The Ant and the Grasshopper;” and “The Tortoise and the Hare,” the Center for Puppetry Arts’ production is part of the Theater for the Very Young initiative, designed for the developmental stages of young children. The Tortoise, the Hare & Other Aesop’s Fables will be presented Aug. 14 – Sept. 23, 2018.
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
Cows that type? Chickens on strike?? Farmer Brown can’t believe his ears! Join the barnyard fun in this adaptation of the award-winning children’s book. This adorable musical adaptation for the puppet stage was written by Jon Ludwig and Jason Hines with music developed by the center itself. Puppeteers use a myriad of puppet types and presentational styles to entertain children of all ages.
The show features rod puppets, marionettes, board puppets and varies in scale. Live voices, songs, and interaction help children stay entertained for this over-an-hour show that’s sure to please! Do your kids not know what a typewriter is? Visit the theatre a few minutes early to give them a chance to type on a real on to see what it does. Experiment with sound, textures and the feel of a typewriter’s keyboard. Red loved this hands-on opportunity to explore before we stopped into the refurbished exhibits in Worlds Of Puppetry at Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts.