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Wakka Wakka to Open BABY UNIVERSE (A PUPPET ODYSSEY) Off-Broadway Next Month

The award-winning theatre company Wakka Wakka presents a strictly-limited return engagement of the acclaimed BABY UNIVERSE (A Puppet Odyssey), written and directed by Wakka Wakka members Kirjan Waage and Gwendolyn Warnock, featuring over 30 expressive hand-and-rod puppets created by Mr. Waage.

BABY UNIVERSE will be presented for nine performances only -- from Thursday, January 8th through Sunday, January 11th, 2015 -- Off Broadway at The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row, located at 410 West 42nd Street in NYC. Tickets, priced at $51.25, are available now via Telecharge.com (212-239-6200).

Since time immemorial, humankind has spun tales of our own looming destruction. In the face of the fear, hopelessness and desperation such tales elicit, we have told stories of salvation. Stories of a messenger with superhuman powers offering deliverance. Stories of love and hope. BABY UNIVERSE is such a story...

Sometime in the future, a government program to save the population of an unnamed, dying planet in a dying universe is furiously underway. The angry sun is in his final days; the planets are scorched and have abandoned hope; the few remaining souls live primarily in bunkers and have resorted to cannibalism. Destruction looms imminent. But in a race against the clock, scientist-generated baby universes are being placed in the care of lonely spinsters in the hope that one might nurture to maturity a savior -- a baby universe capable of birthing a planet that can support the relocation of the entire population.

In an original piece presented with over 30 puppets, 5 actors/puppeteers, masks, a Stephen Hawking inspired robot, animated video projection and a space-age score, Wakka Wakka spins the bizarre tale of BABY UNIVERSE -- the ultimate savior, the last hope for deliverance, the messenger on whom the fate of an entire race rests.

BABY UNIVERSE had its world premiere in September 2010 at the Nordland Visual Theatre in Norway. The U.S. premiere was presented in an acclaimed 5-week engagement Off-Broadway at the Baruch Performing Arts Center from December 2010 -- January 2011, which earned Wakka Wakka an Obie Award Grant and three Drama Desk Award nominations. A subsequent 2013 run at the Studio Theatre in Washington DC was honored with a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Visiting Performance. BABY UNIVERSE has since toured in the US, Europe and all over the world, from Cuba to China.

BABY UNIVERSE's company of five puppeteers are: Melissa Creighton, Andrew Manjuck, Peter Russo, Kirjan Waage, and Gwendolyn Warnock.

BABY UNIVERSE has set design by Wakka Wakka and Joy Wang, costume and mask design by Gwendolyn Warnock, lighting design by Kate Leahy and Wakka Wakka, video design by Naho Taruishi, and sound design by Brett Jarvis and Wakka Wakka. The score for "BABY UNIVERSE" is composed by Lars Petter Hagen.

Led by Gabrielle Brechner, Kirjan Waage and Gwendolyn Warnock, Wakka Wakka Productions Inc. is a non-profit visual theatre company based in NYC whose mission is to push the boundaries of the imagination by creating works that are bold, unique and unpredictable. Since 2001, Wakka Wakka has created and produced nine original works of theatre, which have toured extensively through the US and abroad. All of Wakka Wakka's productions have been highly physical, overlapping in a wide range of styles, including grotesque, absurd and clown, incorporating elements such as object manipulation, puppetry, masks and original music. Wakka Wakka has been honored with a 2013 Special Drama Desk Award for Sophisticated Puppetry, as well as a 2011 Obie Award Grant. Wakka Wakka Productions was awarded a UNIMA Citation of Excellence for Fabrik: The Legend of M. Rabinowitz in 2008, and again in 2014 for SAGA. In addition, the company's work has been nominated for four Drama Desk Awards (Fabrik for Unique Theatrical Experience and BABY UNIVERSE for Outstanding Direction of a Play, Outstanding Music in a Play, and Outstanding Sound Design in a Play) and a Hawes Design Award (Kirjan Waage, Fabrik). Currently, Wakka Wakka is in the early stages of their next project, Made in China for which they have received a Creative Capital Grant and a MAP Fund Grant. In 2015, Wakka Wakka will work as artists-in-residence at the Center for Puppetry Arts, Atlanta; Dartmouth; and Nordland Visual Theatre.

BABY UNIVERSE will play a strictly-limited, 9-performance engagement at The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street) from Thursday, January 8th through Sunday, January 11th, 2015. The running time is 65 minutes, with no intermission. Tickets, priced at $51.25, are available now via Telecharge.com (212-239-6200). For more information, visit www.wakkawakka.org.

Pictured: The Gravity Bar scene from "Baby Universe (A Puppet Odyssey)," presented by Wakka Wakka. This photo is of the puppet Baby Universe (center, black with white spots, which are stars), from left to right: Mars (red); Earth (blue); Mercury (orange, above the Earth); Venus (yellow with cigarette); Meteorite (with spikes); Jupiter (yellow with blue eyes); and Neptune (green). (The puppeteers wear gas masks.) Photo by Jim Baldassare.


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