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PuppetArt Theater For anyone who loved Mr. Rogers or Fraggle Rock, this place is packed with nostalgic fun

PuppetArt Theater

25 E. Grand River Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  • Neighborhood: Downtown
  • Price Level:   
  • Cards Accepted

Tags: downtown, Theater, Entertainment, puppetart-theater, puppets, live-show, kid-friendly

If puppets give you the willies, this might not be the place for you. But if the Muppet Show made you giggle, or you watched the Sound of Music and longed for your own band of yo-de-lay-he-hoo-ing marionettes, you need to check this place out.

The PuppetArt theater is tucked onto Grand River Ave. near Farmer St. downtown. On non-performance days, the place looks shuttered – its big garage door style windows covered up with steel. You could easily walk right by and never know it was there. On days when the theater is open, however, it’s easier to spot. There’s usually a sidewalk sign out front, and you’ll see a variety of different puppets in the windows.

The theater was founded in 1998 by Irina Baranovskaya, Igor Gozman, Lyudmila Mikheyenko – who hail from Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.

Today nearly a dozen puppeteers, playwrights, composers and artistic associates produce and perform shows at PuppetArt. They have 11 different plays in rotation. Though several of the shows are adapted from classic fairy tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, the theater uses all original screenplays and all original music, created in house. If you have any Frozen fans in your house, make sure you take them to see The Snow Queen in its next rotation. PuppetArt beautifully retells this Hans Christian Anderson story – the ultimate girl power fairy tale.

The puppets range in all sizes and types, from small hand puppets to larger-than-life giants. Some of the shows have live actors playing right alongside the puppets.

So many of our favorite childhood TV shows featured puppets in supporting or leading roles: Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Eureeka’s Castle, Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, and – if you got Canadian channels at home – Mr. Dress Up, the Polka Dot Door, and Under the Umbrella Tree as well. Our favorite actor was a gentleman named King Friday. Sure, we loved cartoons, too. But the puppet shows were special.

Even if you didn’t share our love for puppet programming as a kid, this little theater offers a great opportunity to introduce the family to a performance art that never goes out of style with kids. There’s something just plain fun about puppets.

On any day they’re open you can ask for a tour of the puppet museum, which is small but packed with tons of beautiful and interesting pieces. Your tour is likely to be led by one of the founders themselves, and their knowledge of puppetry and its history is epic.

You can buy tickets in advance by calling (313) 961-7777, but they usually have space for walk-ins as well. Tickets cost $5 for kids and $10 for adults.

PuppetArt is currently showing Kolobok, an East Slavic fairy tale similar to the Gingerbread Man. Visit their website or check out their Facebook page for more information about upcoming performances.


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