I have never been so excited to take a selfie with a puppet.
My family went to see “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” at Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts recently, and it is nothing short of exactly as it should be.
There are some things that should not be messed with. Rudolph is one of those things. I grew up, as many of you probably did, watching the stop-motion animation version of “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” which first aired on TV in 1964. I watched it in the 1980’s and 1990’s, amid commercials for Campbell’s Soup and Hershey’s Kisses that rang like jingle bells.
Burl Ives’ snowman singing “Silver and Gold,” Hermie the Elf wanting to be a dentist, Clarice thinking Rudolph is “cuuuutttteeee!” —They are all a part of my childhood Christmas memories, and I was so excited to share them with my three-year-old. (My littlest boy, who is one, is still a bit young to sit through a show. They recommend this show for age four and older, but I thought my older son would probably sit through it just fine, and thankfully he sat quietly the whole time and LOVED it!)
As we entered the Center, the Santa puppet was posing for photos with show attendees. Wearing bright red with a bright white beard, he looked exactly like the Santa that Mrs. Claus tells to “eeeaat!” in the TV special. So much so, I was actually a little nervous! Then he put his little hand on my shoulder for the selfie! It was the cutest thing.
The show itself was so much fun. It follows the story line of the TV special as expected, but what is remarkable about it is the voices, the puppets, the sets and the graphics that you see on an overlay screen in the theater are created in-house by the puppeteers and the staff at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
‘Rudolph’ features an impressive array of puppets, including small rod puppets like the Jack in the Box and big, looming body puppets like Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, and all the characters you know and love, from Rudolph to Yukon Cornelius.
Before and after the show, the puppeteers come out to introduce themselves and give kids a little lesson about how the puppets work.
Bumble was my son’s favorite, and after the show, the kids got to go upstairs to a puppet workshop and create a Bumble puppet.
The Bumble craft was a really nice touch for my son, and it made him feel like a part of the show. After we made Bumble, we took a tour of another nostalgic part of my childhood – the Jim Henson collection.
The Center for Puppetry arts has an entire wing dedicated to his work, including a section that shows what his workshop was like, and several puppets from The Muppet Show and Sesame Street.
Little ones will love seeing Big Bird and Elmo, Miss Piggy and Kermit in real life!
The Center for Puppetry Arts is an Atlanta gem. Parking was easy in the center’s own lot, and there is even a super cool playground adjacent to the center. If you’ve never been, go! It’s totally worth the trip.
What: ‘Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer’
When: Performances through Dec. 31, check calendar for times; Museum hours, 9 am-5 pm Tuesday-Friday, 10 am-5 pm Saturday, noon to 5 pm Sunday, closed Monday
Where: Center for Puppetry Arts, 1401 Spring St. NW at 18th, Atlanta
How much: $20.50 for adults and kids age 2 and older; under 2 free (although the show is recommended for age 4 and older)
Contact: (404) 873-3391 or www.puppet.org