Tag: jim henson company

Puppet Up Toronto Tour Diary – Day 12 – The Storm


It is a rainy Thursday here in Toronto and the Puppet Up crew has a day off. Our final day off of this run. After today it’s one show Friday and then two shows on both Saturday and Sunday.

Normally, about this time in the run, I’d be getting ‘end of tour blues.’ You see, I’d LOVE it if this continued forever. As I’ve said before, this is THE most fun I’ve had and I’d gladly keep doing it for as long they’d let me. However, the blues haven’t set in yet because I’ve just been told I’lll be performing the ‘Lady Singer’ in the recreation I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face. One of the signature pieces of the show! And I have some pretty big shoes to fill! Allan Trautman, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Alison Mork, Peggy Etra and Sean Johnson have all performed the role in the show. And, oh yeah, a guy named Jim Henson originated the role. Just a little pressure. But I’m VERY excited about accepting the challenge. Let’s do this!

Today is Halloween and the cast is planning on heading out to Church Street here in Toronto tonight to celebrate. I’m not much of a party person but I’ll tag along, at least for a little bit. I do have a costume. It’s one I’ve worn before but it was easy to pack and bring along to Toronto. It’s Jamie Madrox, The Multiple Man from the X-Men/X-Factor comics. Easy costume, I’ve worn it before.

Headed out for a great Indian Food lunch with Brian. It was fantastic. Afterwards we went shopping for Brian’s Halloween costume. I also needed an eyeliner pencil to make the Mutant brand over my eye that Madrox has now.

Brian is a blast to shop with and we were all over several stores as he created his costume. He found a big giant spider at one store and said he was going to buy a big gab of spiderwebs, cover himself with them and then put the spider on his head. He then found a box of little battery operated lights that when you pressed a button flashed light lightning and the sound of thunder played from a little speaker. He then decided he was going to be a ‘Storm.’ So it was then off to the dollar store to buy a cheap plastic white table cloth to be the cloud and yellow glitter paper that he could cut lightning bolts out of. His costume was a hit!


We then donned our costumes and headed up to Colleen’s room who was having a Halloween party. It was a blast. Everyone showed up and we sat and talked, people played poker, ate snacks and candy and just had a generally great time. The costume rundown was:

Me – Jamie Madrox
Brian – The Storm
Dan – Spider Victim (yes, Brian convinced Dan to use his first idea. Dan was wrapped head to toe in spiderwebs.)
Peggy – Spirit of Halloween
Patrick – A creepy, creepy, homemade pig mask. It was creepy.
Michael – Burglar
Colleen – Ziggy Stardust
Amanda – Nico

We then headed out onto a drizzly Church Street to join in the Halloween reverie. The street was packed with tons of people in all types of costumes. We walked to one end and then back up. It was a lot of fun. Found a few fellow mutants to take pictures with. Actually saw someone dressed as Guardian from Alpha Flight but I didn’t get to snap a photo with him.


One hilarious thing we saw was, in the middle of all this Halloween debauchery, one store was putting up their Christmas decorations. WHILE the Halloween pxarty was going on. So funny, Amanda our puppet wrangler, had to take a photo in front of it.


Then is was back home to the hotel. Time to relax. Time to chill and get set for tomorrow and our return to the stage. And my debut as Lady Singer.

Can’t. Wait.


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Puppet Up Toronto Tour Diary – Day 11 – A Walking Tour


In the quest to try new and exciting foods here in Toronto, Dan has got it in his head to get Steak Frites. So he found a place and shortly after noon Dan, Brian and I hopped a cab to a cafe about two and a half miles away.

We had a nice meal at a tiny little french inspired cafe down in the fashion district. After we took a walk to the CN Tower. I used the opportunity to film some Uncle Interloper stuff for Vine and Tout as well as snap a few photos along the way.

After our walk about Dan wanted to take the Subway back to the hotel and Brian and I decided to walk. We then walked most of the way through the large underground mall that’s downtown Toronto. It goes on for blocks and blocks and really has just about every kind of store you’d want in a mall.

When the mall ended we surfaced and continued out nice walk back to the hotel, chatting as we took in the sights. Once back I relaxed, picked up my shirts form the laundry, and caught up on email. Just generally relaxing before tonight’s show.

The goal for tonight it to listen. Focus. Have a really great improv night with super strong puppetry.

It’s amazing how small puppetry movements can get big reactions. Earlier in the run I was doing a scene with Colleen and she made a comment in an improv and I thought, “My character would be nervous about that.” so I just had my puppet take two small steps backwards and look nervously at Colleen’s character. This got a huge laugh from the audience and it was so simple. That same night there was another instance where I made a character do a move and it got a laugh. These two experiences really drove it into me that the puppetry can be just as funny as any witty line of improvised dialogue. Since then I’ve really been looking for those moments in scenes to make those simple puppetry movements.


Tonight’s show was really a lot of fun. Fantastic laughs, great suggestions. I really focused on listening and responding and it worked. Also found some fun puppetry movements as well. Really fun show. Everyone was on and the crowd was great.

The suggestion for alien barbershop was Online Banking. I was much more relaxed tonight and easily came up with a rhyme. During the intro to the song though my punchline got scooped. Instead of panicking, I remained calm and quickly came up with a rhyme that, actually, I think was better than the original.

Oh online banking
Make me forlorn.
Cause when I login,
I see how much I spent on porn.

Got a nice laugh with that one. And totally not true. Totally, not true at all. Totally.

After the show, and meeting the crowd in the lobby, Patrick, Peggy, Brian and I went to a place called Spring Roll right near the theatre and the food was delicious.

Tomorrow, a day off for Halloween and then it’s a straight sprint to the end! The end…boooo.


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Puppet Up Toronto Tour Diary – Day 10 – Off


Whenever I’m on one of these Puppet Up Tours I am always eternally grateful. I understand there are a ton of people who’d love to be able to do this job and I’m extremely thankful that I get to do it. As such, I do my best to keep a positive outlook on the show and the travel aspect of bringing this show on the road. I look at things like bus rides with half blind drivers and 4 hour bus trips that turn into 7 hour bus trips as adventures. Look, I could be stuck in an office somewhere instead of stepping onto a stage with a puppet on my hand. So, I very rarely complain. I try not to complain at all, again, because I know I’m lucky to be here.

This trip has been great in that after the first day flight, there hasn’t been any travel. It’s been city living. Sure the wifi in the hotel and the wifi at the theatre are spotty, but I’m not here to surf the web. I’m here to do the best puppet improv I can. That’s my job. No complaining.

And this isn’t a complaint. I will simply say that housekeeping here at the hotel, love to do their job. Either that or they get paid by the number of rooms they clean a day because the Housekeeping staff here will not let any Do Not Disturb sign hinder them from doing their job. In fact, if that sign is up, they will call the room just to make absolutely sure you really, really mean ‘Do Not Disturb.’ That is dedication. Again, not complaining. It’s all an adventure.


Speaking of a having a job to do, today was the return to shows! Patrick is a great director and great at changing up who is in what improv and even the improv structures to keep things fresh. He sent out an email earlier in the day listing a few of the changes coming this week and it’s going to make for some really fun shows.

Tonight show was a decent show. The audience had a great time and in the lobby after, they were really complimentary. I will say it wasn’t my best show on this tour. Just off a little. Maybe sleeping in too long today put me in a low key mood. I’m not sure. I started off pretty good with a New Choice scene with Colleen that really did well, but after that I just sort of felt out of it.


For alien barbershop I just could not think of a rhyme. I was trying and trying but I couldn’t think of anything. I finally settled on something and the MOMENT I began singing I came up with another rhyme that would have been better, but by then it was far too late. Anyway, the topic was ‘Setting Things on Fire.’ My rhyme:

I set thing on fire.
I create my own hell.
The flames are so pretty.
(then here I had my alien sniff a little bit.)
What is that smell?

The joke being something was on fire. Ugh. I don’t know, it was poor. The whole rest of the show I just seemed off. Gotta get my head in the game tomorrow, for sure!

After the show, Dan and I went out to the Chinese Dumpling place next door. I ordered Pineapple Chicken and was just not thrilled with it. Ate there twice and officially ruling out a return trip.

That was the adventure of today. Looking forward to tomorrow and to stepping up my improv/puppetry game. And, as always, more than grateful that I get to do this.


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