There’s a giant manatee, a wisecracking seagull, a huge Sand Tiger Shark and more in Rainbow’s most ambitious project to date. "The Amazing Adventures of Chessie the Manatee" is a fast-paced program featuring songs, dance and delightful effects. It’s all presented in bunraku, a Japanese-style of puppetry where puppeteers are completely visible while manipulating large puppets — some almost five feet in length!
The show represents a unique collaboration between Rainbow Productions, the Virginia Aquarium and Young Audiences of Virginia. The aquarium is one of the top ten attended marine science and aquarium facilities in the country. For 50 years, Young Audiences of Virginia has been educating children in the state through the performing arts.
"The show is a true blend of art and science. Its multidisciplinary aspect crosses all curriculums and many grade levels," says Lynn Clements, the aquarium's director.. "Children can learn about the Bay animals and their habitats, as well as an important conservation message."
It’s based on the true story of Chessie, the Florida manatee who wandered into the Chesapeake Bay. In this story, he meets Seemore D. Bay, a seagull who leads Chessie on a tour. The play features over forty puppets including a bottle nose dolphin, a loggerhead turtle, star fish, a school of Lookdown fish, sea horses, moon jellies, blue crabs and more.
The musical score features ten new songs including Crabis the Blue Crab’s "I’m So Blue" and "There are Two Moons Out Tonight" which is performed by moon jelly puppets which glow in the dark.
Speaking of the songs, the stage voices were created by many Rainbow veterans. Tim Tharrington sings “I’m So Blue.” He was Hansel in Rainbow’s 1980 tour of “Hansel and Gretel” as well as a principal countless other Rainbow shows.
Other voices include wife and husband team Chris and Don Bartlett , Kenny D’Auria, and the late Frank Mailander as Percy the Brown Pelican. According to Messick, “Frank was the first actor I recall seeing in a live theater production. I was maybe seven or eight at the time and he was hilarious. I was thrilled to later get to work with him on many of our productions… he’s considered something of a local comic legend so through pre-recording his work, it’s great to hear him onstage again in a really funny role.”
Show creator David Messick is the voice of Seemore the Seagull. His other credits include producing voices and characters for Chuck E. Cheese. He has worked on development projects for the Disney Channel, FOX TV, and Paramount Pictures. He has also worked with such legendary performers as Mickey Rooney, Carol Channing, and at the New Orleans World’s Fair with the late Jim Henson.
Puppets are by Chris Frank, Cambrai Hayes, Helen Spaetzel, and Frank Lakus. They include life sized dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles.
Rainbow Puppeteers include Carrie Cavin, James Cooper, Kathie Davis, Tony Gabriele, David, Joshua, and Marcy Messick and Michael Singleton.
Rainbow started in 1977. Since the mid-90’s, as part of Young Audiences of Virginia, they have grown into one of the largest touring companies in Virginia, performing for hundreds of thousands of children in schools and libraries. Rainbow is a non-profit arts company. The group is a member of Puppeteers of America and The Puppet Arts Center of Virginia. To learn more about the company and the upcoming show, visit www.rainbowpuppets.com.
Your purchase of this cd supports the non-profit missions of Rainbow Puppet Productons and the Dr. Carol Channing/Harry Kullijian Arts Foundation.