Friday, December 23, 2011

Moose Crossing, Merry Xmas!

From all of us to all of you, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

It was a great season, and over too fast. See you in 2012!
The Moose Crossing Team

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Meet the Team Moose Crossing: the Critter Crew pt. 8

Finally, there's Otis Rabbit's partner in Woodland Puppets, Wayne Krefting.

Besides being a puppeteer on "Moose Crossing" Wayne worked on some the animals' shapes and the application of fur coverings, eyes, ears, nose, tails, and so on.

Wayne and Otis have been partners for over 20 years performing live and video recorded puppetry in a variety of settings. Otis himself has contributed to MN Public Television ( TPT) news program "Almanac", a few of which can been seen here.

Next Thursday and Friday are your last chance to see "Moose Crossing" this season. Shows are 10:30, 11:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, and 4:30. See you there, and Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Meet the Team Moose Crossing: the Critter Crew pt. 7

Last, but definitely not least, is the sculptor of Santa and Star: Chris Fehring!

Chris, I think you will agree has created some very beautiful puppet character heads for the Critter scene. Chris is also the "left" puppeteer, operating the Tree-O (Connie Fir, Pine-elope, and Cedar-ella; Chris is holding "little Cedar-ella here), the shadow puppet sequence, and operating marionettes from the bridge, too!

In addition, Chris is an active puppeteer with his own company, Grimmerson Bros., doing shows in various venues including the Saturday Matinee at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask theater, churches, and more.

Catch a short video of Lester and Earl, two of Chris' characters here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meet the Team Moose Crossing: the Critter Crew pt. 6

While the Critter Scene animals are covered with fur the principals, Santa and Star, are decked out in spectacular style. This photo really doesn't do justice to the "Ooooh!" effect that both have on audiences when they appear onstage.

Santa's suit follows the Macy's Santa "look", while Star really is "Julie Andrews", both literally in the soundtrack and here in Star's appearance.

The duo responsible for this wonderful costuming are:

Bob Graff, who has extensive theater and costuming background besides having a background in church ministry.

And Kathy Hunter, the other half (some say the better . . . ) of Hunter Marionettes with husband Kurt (profiled earlier). Kathy's talents run the gamut from fabrics, sewing, and costuming to marionette operation to being a classically trained soprano!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Meet the Team Moose Crossing: the Critter Crew pt. 5

For as talented and amazing as this member of Team Moose Crossing's Critter Crew is, he is really hard to get a photo of. Probably because he's usually behind the camera himself!

You decide which is which . . .

Paul Eide is not only a skilled puppet and mechanism builder, he is master of various building techniques and materials. Paul is currently also the editor of the "Puppetry Journal", the quarterly publication of Puppeteers of America. Until retirement (which really doesn't seem to be a concept that applies to Paul . . . ) Paul worked for the University of Minnesota as a video/media producer, winning awards for his video work.

On the Moose Crossing project, Paul has worked with the sculpting, mould making, and body builds for Santa and Star.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Meet the Team Moose Crossing: the Critter Crew pt. 4

Bil DeLong is another member of the Team Moose Crossing Critter Crew who has worked as a puppeteer from a young age, starting out with Joan Mickelson in "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" in the Twin Cities and working with Paddy Blackwood in Texas.

Bil works as a puppeteer not only for live shows but also for video recorded programming. Plus he is not only an accomplished puppeteer, he is a first rate builder, especially where mechanics, effects, moulds, and other specialty components are needed.

Bil created the moulds and did the casting for the Santa and Star heads, with Paul Eide after sculpting by Chris Fehring, both to be featured in upcoming posts.

He and Paul demonstrated the casting process used for Santa and Star at a recent Twin Cities Puppeteers Guild meeting which, unfortunately, I do not have photos of. If I come across something, I'll post it on the Woodland News.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Meet the Team Moose Crossing: the Critter Crew pt. 3

Behind the stage of Macy's Moose Crossing, three puppeteers work each show in a controlled frenzy of activity from one spot to another.

One of those puppeteers working the weekend shift in Moose Crossing is Mike Krefting.

Mike operates Timber Tony and Ewell Log, running to the bridge to operate the marionette characters with his team members, Kurt Hunter and Chris Fehring.

Mike has been a puppeteer from a young age, earning his first paycheck as a professional puppeteer at age 7 for an educational video working with adult professional puppeteers. He has puppeteered, acted professionally, stage managed, and been lighting tech for various productions in the Twin Cities area.

Mike is a 2006 graduate of the University of Minnesota in Theater and a very active member of the U alumni marching band (having marched 2002-6 with the band in the trumpet section).

He currently works for Centerpoint Energy and is very active in the Improv community around the Twin Cities as part of the "Last Action Movie" troupe. Catch them at Huge Theater and from time to time at Yes& Food Improv and Dinner Club in Coon Rapids.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Forest Floor presents "A Gift of Holiday Cheese"

If you are in Southwest Minneapolis this coming weekend, stop by Pershing Park for Woodland's presentation of "A Gift of Holiday Cheese", Saturday the 10th at 1:15 pm and 2 pm.

A Gift of Holiday Cheese

Bil Bug and his Forest Floor friends discover that the true meaning of giving is fraught with all sorts of good intentions gone awry, miscommunication, and, well, cheese obsession. A perfect show for your holiday!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Meet the Team Moose Crossing: the Critter Crew pt. 2

How do you go from idea to execution? How do you go from this:

to this:

The key is in having the best creators and builders, and in this case having someone who lives and breathes marionettes and knows how to take a drawing and bring it to fruition as a lovely working marionette!

Kurt Hunter, Hunter Marionettes, is that someone. Kurt has been building and performing for almost all his life.

Kurt took Steve Mark's conceptual drawing and turned it into a mechanical which gave exacting measurements as to the size and shape of the cardinal.

This drawing was then carved, paper mached, gesso'ed, and given a final covering by others in our Critter Crew.

The Cardinal has been capturing the hearts of Moose Crossing audiences since we opened in November! Let the rest of the Critters, the woodsmen, and the whole Moose Crossing family capture yours, too!

Macy's Holiday Puppet Theater is adjacent to the 8th floor auditorium's "Day in the Life of an Elf". Just follow the signs!

Performances and times: (Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun through December 23rd)

10:30 a, 11:30, 1:30 p, 2:30, 3:30, and 4:30.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Meet the Team Moose Crossing: the Critter Crew pt. 1

Of course, the new Critters for Moose Crossing at Macy's Minneapolis store did not just arrive out of thin air. It took quite a number of creative and resourceful people to imagine them and then bring them to life. This critter crew, Team Moose Crossing, is comprised of puppeteer builders, all with decades of professional experience in puppetry, theater, video, and/or design and construction.

To begin the process of bringing these "Critters" to life
(ok, Santa and Star aren't really critters, but . . . ) took the skills of illustrator and puppeteer, Steve Mark, Village Idiot Puppets. Steve created conceptual drawings that provided a basis for the next step, technical drawings, and ultimately the Critters on stage at Macy's.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Meet the Critters!

Our merry band of puppeteers and puppet builders constructed new marionettes for the last scene, "The Critters' Christmas Song", for Macy's this year. Eventually, we will create new character puppets for the rest of the show for Macy's.

Future postings will feature the build process: design, construction, costuming, and so on.

In the meantime, join us at Macy's for the very entertaining show!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Woodland goes to Macy's

Join us as Macy's kicks off the second exciting season of their downtown Minneapolis store's Holiday Puppet Theater. "Moose Crossing" is a trio of song-filled tales featuring an all-star cast including the voices of Julie Andrews, Walter Cronkite, Mario Cantone, and John Tartaglia.

And of course--the puppeteers! Bil DeLong, Chris Fehring, Kurt Hunter, Mike Krefting, Steve Mark, and Wayne Krefting, bringing the show to life with hand puppets, shadow puppets, and marionettes.

Macy's new Puppet Theater is adjacent to the 8th floor auditorium's "Day in the Life of an Elf" holiday display. Just follow the signs!

Performances and times: (Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun)
November 19 through December 23
Saturday Nov. 19th 10:30 am, 11:30, 1:30 pm, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30
Sunday Nov. 20 1:30 p, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30
Starting the Friday after Thanksgiving all shows on Thurs-Sun are:
10:30 a, 11:30, 1:30 p, 2:30, 3:30, and 4:30.

Woodland was hired this year to start building parts of the show for Macy's ownership. Check back to see photos from the build process, and maybe the show, too!