UConn Puppet Arts to Present PETER & THE WOLF at Jorgensen, 11/17
Always listen to Grandfather. He will tell you to avoid the Wolf and stay in the garden. But what's the fun in that? No adventure. No puppets. No French horns as the Wolf, no oboe as the Duck.
Sergei Prokofiev composed Peter and the Wolf in the space of a few days in 1936, largely to explain symphonic instruments to a Moscow children's theater audience. On Nov. 17, 2013, at Jorgensen, the classic favorite will be told through puppets, courtesy of the unique UConn Puppet Arts Program and designer Mark Gale, guest narrator and WNPR talk show host Colin McEnroe, and instrumentalists under the direction of UConn alumnus Ehren Brown. The matinee will start at 2 p.m.
Through its special staging, this production honors Prokofiev's vision to reveal the wonders of the symphonic orchestra by tying signature instruments to certain characters, Puppet Arts Program Director Bart Roccoberton says. "We have chosen to place the puppets behind and above the orchestra so that the audience watches our performance through the orchestra."
The story follows Peter, who leaves the safety of his grandfather's garden to go into the forest. The duck also leaves the yard to swim in a nearby pond, arguing with a little bird along the way. The cat stalks them, and warned by Peter, they go to safety. Peter's grandfather scolds him for straying onto the wolf's turf. "Boys like me are not afraid of wolves," Peter says in defiance. Grandfather takes Peter home. When the wolf does come out of the forest, the duck, still in the wild, is caught and swallowed by the wolf. With the help of the bird, Peter captures the wolf. When hunters come upon the scene, rifles ready, Peter pleads with them not to kill the wolf but to take him to a zoo. They do so, and the audience is urged to listen for the duck, swallowed whole and still alive in the wolf's stomach.
Peter and the Wolf was adapted by Walt Disney in a popular 1946 version and in a 2006 British-Polish animation.
Mark Gale, a graduate of the Puppet Arts Program, is a puppeteer and voice-over artist who has performed in various Henson productions, including Sesame Street, Kermit's Swamp Years and Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic. He also has performed for the PBS show Between the Lions and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Gale created Frank the Horse for a website series and, as a UConn puppetry major in 1991, was a co-creator of the first show on UCTV, a puppet comedy called Egghead and Shively. Gale played Egghead, a one-eyed puppet.
Colin McEnroe, author of three books, including a biography of his father that won the Connecticut Book Award, writes for magazines, such as Men's Health, Best Life, Mademoiselle, McSweeney's, Mirabella and Bicycling. He also blogs and writes a weekly column for The Hartford Courant, where he was on staff for 30 years. McEnroe recently interviewed Stephen King at a special appearance at the Mark Twain House, has moderated for the Connecticut Forum and has performed spoken word pieces with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. As a radio personality on WNPR and formerly on WTIC, he is known for handling a full array of subjects with knowledge and wit.
Ehren Brown holds a master of music degree in choral conducting from UConn. He is artistic director of the Vernon Chorale, associate music director at Immanuel Congregational Church, Hartford, and director of choirs for East Hampton High School. He was founding conductor of the Hartford Chorale Chamber Singers and chorus director at Hartford public high schools.
Jorgensen was named Best College/University Performing Arts Center in the Hartford Advocate Best of Hartford Readers' Poll for 2012 and 2013.
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2132 Hillside Road on the UConn campus in Storrs. Tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for children. For tickets and information, call the Box Office 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon-Fri at 860.486.4226, or order online at: jorgensen.uconn.edu. Free, convenient parking is available across the street in the North Garage.