We’re Off to See the Wizard

May 24, 2012
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ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – You may have followed the yellow brick road, defied gravity or eased on down the road but you have never experienced L. Frank Baum’s beloved story quite like this.

There is no need to look for a golden road to lead you to the Paper Moon Puppet Theatre at 171 First Ave. in Atlantic Highlands. The way is indicated by a little wooden boy holding balloons. He stands at the corner of First Avenue and West Garfield Avenue. While you may think his name is Pinocchio, you are wrong. His name is Kevin, though no one knows how he got that name.

Once inside the theater (the entrance is actually on West Garfield Avenue), you will be greeted by puppeteers who seat the children in front of the puppet stage while adults are seated in chairs around the perimeter of the theater. The children are introduced to the art of the marionette as the puppeteers stroll through the audience with some of the puppets.

Marionettes from "The Wizard of Oz."

The Wizard Of Oz, opening on Saturday, June 16, will entertain audiences of all ages.

“Our version is more faithful to the original L. Frank Baum story than other productions,” said John McAllister, administrative director. “There is also an original score composed especially for the show.”

After the show, audience members are invited to ask questions, peek behind the scenes and meet their favorite characters.

The Paper Moon Puppet Theatre has been producing shows since 1989. Artistic Director James Racioppi has been creating puppets and scenery and performing with puppets on stage, television and in films for more than 40 years. His work has been featured on The Captain Kangaroo show on CBS, in feature films and on the off-Broadway stage. He designed puppets for and performed in Kumquats with Wayland Flowers and Madame at the Village Gate. A fine arts major at Cooper Union, Racioppi has worked in all types of media including animated films and illustration.

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Jack And The Beanstalk runs now through Saturday, June 9 at the theater.

The Wizard Of Oz opens on Saturday, June 16.

Public performances are on Saturdays at 2 p.m. Admission is $9. Reservations are available by calling 732-775-0290. Private performances for schools, camps and parties are available during the week. Please call for information and rates.

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