STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG, from WestBeth Entertainment and Henson Alternative, is the live uncensored show that lets loose the perilous and provocative elements of comedic improvisation on stage with a bunch of puppets. Of the hit show, Entertainment Weekly writes, “It’s nearly impossible to do anything but laugh. Grade: A.” Created by award-winning director, producer, writer and performer Brian Henson and actor and improvisational guru Patrick Bristow and featuring The Jim Henson Company’s renowned puppeteers, this one-of-a-kind comedy plays at the Union Square Theatre through Saturday, July 3 (8:00 PM, final performance). Initially slated for a 10-week limited engagement through May 29, the show began previews on March 17 and had its official opening on Thursday, April 1.
STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG earned a 2009-2010 Drama Desk nomination in the category of “Unique Theatrical Experience,” as well as strong reviews. Entertainment Weekly remarks, “The insanely talented cast, directed by on-stage host Patrick Bristow, takes suggestions from spectators for themes, places, job descriptions and celebrities to be incorporated into the show. It’s almost like one giant Mad Lib,” while The New York Times states, “cleverly staged and frenetically performed.” Time Out New York writes, “Watching these pros work is consistently funny and fascinating. Since the puppeteers are visible throughout, viewers are treated to an up-close look at the mechanics of their trade…They engage in improv games with input from the audience. This being a downtown show with a fully stocked bar, suggestions tend to be on the indecent side…the performers are not afraid to go, well, anywhere” and Theatermania.com cheers, “A comedy improvisation show with a twist, Stuffed and Unstrung has a wonderful and inventive cast – who also just happen to be extremely talented Henson puppeteers. The result is a first rate evening of comedy – with a program that changes from show to show.”
The skilled art of puppetry and comedic intelligent nonsense collide in this madcap multimedia romp. Unpredictable, irreverent and rebellious, it’s never the same show twice as a team of expert puppeteers sets off on a trail of twisted sketches and songs at breakneck pace while interaction with the audience prompts the spontaneous storylines unfolding on stage.
With live musical accompaniment and Bristow as host, STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG features a cast of six puppeteers, serving up “two shows in one” as the hilarious puppet action is projected on large screens flanking the stage, while the puppeteers display their skillful talents below all in full view of the audience.
STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG evolved from Henson’s previous production Puppet Up! – Uncensored, which made its debut at the 2006 HBO Comedy Festival (Aspen, CO) and later toured the 2006 Edinburgh Festival (Edinburgh, Scotland), The 2007 Comedy Festival (Las Vegas, NV) and Australia’s Sydney Big Laugh Comedy Festival and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (both 2007). Most recently, Puppet Up continued to be workshopped in monthly performances at Avalon Hollywood. The New York engagement of STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG marks the debut of a completely revamped production featuring all new technical wizardry and original music and staging.
Brian Henson (Creator, Producer, Performer) is Chairman of The Jim Henson Company and an award-winning director, producer, writer and puppeteer. Henson served as Executive Producer on the television projects “Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars” (which he also directed) and “Jim Henson’s Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story” (which he also co-wrote and directed). He directed “Battleground,” an Emmy Award-winning episode of the “Nightmares & Dreamscapes” anthology for TBS. Previous television projects that Henson produced include “Farscape,” “Gulliver’s Travels,” “Muppets Tonight” and “Dinosaurs.” Henson’s film directing credits include The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island.
Most recently, Henson has served as an executive producer of the Emmy-nominated science-readiness pre-school series “Sid the Science Kid,” airing daily on PBS KIDS®. The series features his groundbreaking work at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, one of Hollywood’s preeminent character building, digital and physical visual effects facilities. Henson was part of the team that first created and utilized the Henson Performance Control System, a powerful custom-based interface for puppeteers, which won an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science Scientific and Engineering Award in 1992. He also led the Shop’s work with its revolutionary digital puppeteering technology, the 2009 Emmy® Award-winning Henson Digital Puppetry Studio that is featured in STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG as well as “Sid the Science Kid” and “Wilson & Ditch: Digging America.”
STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG Director and Host Patrick Bristow is best known for his numerous television appearances most notably as “Peter” on the groundbreaking ABC series “Ellen.” Other television credits include “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “Mad About You,” “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and others. Film credits include The Longest Yard, as well as the first Austin Powers, So I Married An Ax Murderer, Twilight of the Golds, and the accidental comedy Showgirls. He is an alum of The Groundlings (Main Company) where he continues to teach and direct improv and sketch comedy. His direction credits include Groundlings: City of the Future, Beyond the Valley of the Deviants, Deviant Shores, Battle of the Deviants, the weekly Groundlings Theatre all improv show Cooking With Gas, and the 2004 L.A. Weekly Theatre Awards Show. Bristow is currently writing a pilot for FOX with Heather Morgan (“The Comeback”) and most recently appeared in the hit musical The Break-up Notebook at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Hollywood.
Henson Alternative is The Jim Henson Company’s label for content created specifically and exclusively for adult audiences. Credits include “Late Night Liars,” currently airing on GSN, “Tinseltown” for Logo, “Puppet Up! – Uncensored” for TBS and the upcoming feature film Happytime Murders currently in development.
WestBeth Entertainment, Arnold Engelman – President, is a producing/promoting organization that has successfully and consistently produced critically acclaimed, financially successful, groundbreaking entertainment for 30 years. From Eddie Izzard to Billy Connolly, Mike Myers to Lewis Black, Wigfield to Hedwig, and The Family Guy to Tenacious D, WestBeth has been the creative catalyst, partner and producer of some of the most innovative productions across the nation. Ongoing productions include John Leguizamo’s – The Diary of a Madman at the La Jolla Playhouse March 4 – 14 2010, Billy Connolly LIVE at the Bagley Wright Theatre at Seattle Center March 12 – 13 2010, followed by Lewis Black’s – In God We Rust at City Center in April. Recent productions include Eddie Izzard’s January 2010 US Arena Tour – The Big Intimacy Tour, An Evening Without Monty Python directed by Eric Idle and BT McNicholl, Eddie Izzard’s sold out 34 city 2008 American Tour STRIPPED, as well as Billy Connolly’s Too Old To Die Young (North American Tour); and Lewis Black’s Nothing Sacred (Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall). Please visit www.westbethent.com for more information.
STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG plays Wednesday – Saturday at 8:00 PM, with a late show on Saturday at 11:00 PM. The Union Square Theatre is located at 100 East 17th Street, just east of Union Square.
Tickets range from $35.00 – $50.00 and may be arranged through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or (212) 307-4100. Ten $20 RUSH tickets (first row) are available for each performance (CASH ONLY at the Box Office, one hour before showtime, limit 2 per person).
For more information, check out www.StuffedAndUnstrung.com.
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Contact: Bridget Klapinski / Beth Sorrell (212) 505-2900
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The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for over 50 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy® nominated “Sid the Science Kid,” “Dinosaur Train,” “Wilson & Ditch: Digging America” and “Pajanimals.” Features include “The Dark Crystal,” “Labyrinth,” “MirrorMask,” and “Unstable Fables” and television productions include “Fraggle Rock” and the sci-fi cult series “Farscape.”
With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities.
Independently owned and operated by the five adult children of founder Jim Henson, the Company is also home to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group with international film, television and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry’s top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment. The Company’s Henson Alternative brand has recently launched the national tour of “Stuffed and Unstrung,” a live puppet improvisational show named one of the top 10 “Best Stage Shows of 2010” by Entertainment Weekly.
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