Puppet Shakespeare Players and Dee Snyder Present 'Puppet Titus Andronicus' at Theatre Row
With puppets hitting Broadway and Off-Broadway stages to take on everything from Satan to Internet porn, it was only a matter of time before the Puppet Shakespeare Players created Puppet Titus Andronicus, an adaptation of the Bard's grisliest play, in association with Twisted Sister's Dee Snyder.
Adopting the style of Avenue Q, where actors play alongside puppets, Puppet Shakespeare previously purveyed Puppet Hamlet and Puppet Romeo and Juliet. "The Puppet Shakespeare Players," wrote The New York Theatre Wire, "have been able to get to the heart of Shakespeare in all his bawdiness, silliness and tragedy."
Now they aim for all Shakespeare's "guts and glory" with a new, comedic take on Titus Andronicus, July 24 through August 17 at Theatre Row's Beckett Theatre. Ryan Rinkel directs a production that uses angry goths and--surely a highlight--silly-string gore to bring to life (and especially death) Shakespeare's awful, and thankfully fictional, tale of slaughter, dismemberment and cannibalism.
The cast features Adam Weppler (Beckett in Benghazi), Sarah Villegas (Little Shop of Horrors), Christopher Gebauer, Alex Offenkrantz, Tom Foran, Shane Snider (Puppet Romeo and Juliet), Mindy Leanse, Ryan Rinkel, Ross Hamman, Abby Judd and the show's puppet designer, A.J. Cote (Puppet Hamlet).
Titus has never been considered one of Shakespeare's greatest works, though its reputation has enjoyed something of a resuscitation in recent decades. Julie Taymor (no stranger to puppetry) directed a production in 1994 and then a 1999 film starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange (no strangers to horror roles). Of a Public Theater production in 2011, Talkin' Broadway's review said: "It's enough to make William Shakespeare's other killfest, Macbeth, look like The Berenstain Bears Live."
While Puppet Titus Andronicus won't have any Berenstain Bears (that we know of), it does boast a villainous anthropomorphic boar. And it has the backing of Dee Snyder, whose son Shane performed in Puppet Romeo and Juliet and returns for Titus.
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