Writer, actor, comic, producer and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider has taken on yet another surprising project in the entertainment industry: Puppet Shakespeare. The rocker has joined the team for the Puppet Shakespeare Players’ upcoming production, Puppet Romeo & Juliet, set to open at American Globe Theatre in January.
Snider was introduced to the Puppet Shakespeare Players through his son, Shane, who was cast as Guildenstern in Puppet Hamlet this past July. Described as “Shakespeare meets Avenue Q,” Puppet Hamlet combined the First Folio technique with comic characters, resulting in a production that remained faithful to Shakespeare’s language while giving the tragedy a modern comedic twist.
“After seeing Puppet Hamlet I was really impressed, not only with the production but with what the idea could be,” says Snider. “I was very excited to get our company involved. This is definitely Twisted Shakespeare.”
Snider Than Thou (STT) Productions, has already begun collaborating with the Puppet Shakespeare Players on Puppet Romeo & Juliet, working with the team to maximize the show’s reach, particularly among audiences who have been disappointed by traditional Shakespeare.
“Ultimately, our goal is to be the rocket boosters,” Snider explains. “We want to help move the Puppet Shakespeare idea further, faster. We hope to bring more attention to the project and use our experience in the industry to help help the producers make this show bigger and better.”
Executive Producer Ryan Rinkel, along with Artistic Director A.J. Cote founded the Puppet Shakespeare Players in 2011 in an attempt to find a solution to what they referred to as “stuffy Shakespeare.” The duo made it their mission to highlight the humor and humanity in the Bard’s work through the use of vibrant and playful puppetry. Where traditional Shakespeare productions bring in tights and accents, the Puppet Shakespeare Players choreograph kung fu standoffs.
Puppet Romeo & Juliet will be presented at American Globe Theatre, the longest running Shakespeare theater in Times Square. Now in its 24th year, American Globe has produced over 100 productions of quality classical work. Producing Artistic Director John Basil is a founding member and award-winning master teacher, author and director of Shakespeare.
The cast features Nick Piacente (Romeo) and Devin Nelson (Juliet), as well as actor/puppeteers A.J. Cote, Ross Hamman, Kelly Blaze Klotz, David Lawson, Mindy Leanse, Theo Maltz, Sierra Marcks, Andy Markert, Peter Martin, Michael Miller, Shane Snider and Ryan Rinkel.
Puppet Romeo & Juliet will run January 9 - 20th at American Globe Theatre at 145 West 46th Street, located in St. Mary’s Times Square. For tickets, a schedule of events and venue information, visit www.puppetshakespeare.org or e-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $18 general admission and $12 for kids, students, seniors and any audience member who brings a puppet to the box office.