4 Corners: Best Puppet Shows in the Valley

Editorial StaffJuly 5, 2022
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Photo courtesy Great Arizona Puppet Theater
Photo courtesy Great Arizona Puppet Theater

Downtown

Great Arizona Puppet Theater

With a repertoire of more than 60 shows – original morals tales and humorous takes on classic fairy tales, as well as wonky adult-themed “puppet slams” populated by amorous bunnies – Great Arizona Puppet Theater is more than just another place to park the kids. Located in the historic LDS 2nd Ward Church, this entertainment is truly something else. 302 W. Latham St., Phoenix, 602-262-2050, azpuppets.org

Photo courtesy All Puppet Players
Photo courtesy All Puppet Players

Central Phoenix

All Puppet Players

Imagine the hedonism of a live Rocky Horror Picture Show – from the raunchy humor and audience engagement to its anything-goes energy – but with puppets. These improv players and puppeteers have been staging shows based on popular movies for a decade, cultivating a loyal, if somewhat drunk, following. If you missed Reservoir Dogs (pictured above), then get tickets to the group’s holiday show, Die Hard. 1850 N. Central Ave., 602-254-2151, allpuppetplayers.com

Photo courtesy Theater Works
Photo courtesy Theater Works

West Valley

Theater Works

This summer, the artistic team at Theater Works brought the 1991 musical Children of Eden to Gyder Theater in Peoria with 42 dancing and singing actors, plus masterful set designers and musicians, and handcrafted puppets by costume designer turned puppet maker, Cari Smith. Using various materials such as upholstery, closed-cell foams, wire, paint, thermoplastics and fabric, Smith breathes life into the inanimate. theaterworks.org

Photo courtesy Childsplay
Photo courtesy Childsplay

East Valley

Childsplay

Celebrating 45 years of child-delighting live entertainment, this Tempe-based professional theater company and educational resource tries to stay true to its founder’s mandate to “create theater so strikingly original in form, content or both that it instills in young people an enduring awe, love and respect for the medium.” To wit: its all-puppet adaptation of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar this past spring. childsplayaz.org

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