UPCOMING SHOWS

January 11th-15th – NYC, Dixon Place

Jan 11th - 9pm
Jan 12th - 1pm & 9pm
Jan 13th - 4pm & 9pm
Jan 14th - 2pm & 9pm
Jan 15th - 11am & 7pm

January 25th-27th @ 7pm – Chicago, Chopin Theater 

 

About

The streamers are hung, the punch has been spiked, and the cake is just begging to be eaten! Now all Bill has to do is wait for his guests to arrive. Bill’s 44th is an original comedic show created and puppeted by Dorothy James & Andy Manjuck to create one very worried leading man - Bill. Many styles of puppetry, raucous balloons, and a cheeky piece of crudité all collide to examine the pitfalls of impatience, the wonder of loneliness, and the universal passage of time.

Bill’s 44th is a full-length (55 minutes), wordless, comedic puppet show performed with an original, recorded score.

Photos by Richard Termine

Bill's Story

Bill's 44th was originally conceived in 2016 as a 5 minute slam-piece for Puppet Homecomings. The prompt: “They are coming,” inspired us to throw a birthday party where no one ever comes. But then, due to scheduling conflicts, we weren't able to attend the slam and we stuffed Bill's head (lovingly) into a box on a shelf.

Two years later we were asked by our friend Rowan Magee, who was curating one of the nights for Dixon Place’s Puppet Blok, if we wanted to revisit the idea. We did, and (10 minutes of) Bill was born! What followed next was a whirlwind that culminated in a 20 minute workshop at Dixon Place in 2019, where we shared the bill with the ingenious Shayna Strype, applying and receiving a Production Grant from The Jim Henson Foundation, planning a workshop performance at the New York State Puppet Festival, being a part of Puppet Lab at St. Ann’s Warehouse, and readying for a premiere at Dixon Place in 2020!

Of course, things changed. While many of our ideas came to a screeching halt, Bill's journey continued. Thanks to the New York State Puppet Festival in October of 2020 we were able to create Bill's 44th (A Zoom Birthday), a 30 minute 'zoom' show performed live in our apartment. And finally, in June of 2021, Bill found his way to his premiere at Dixon Place as part of a puppetry series alongside artists Shayna Strype, Justin Perkins, and Maria Camia.

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Bill's 44th would like to thank The Jim Henson Foundation, Cheryl Henson, St. Ann's Warehouse, the New York State Puppet Festival, and Dixon Place, without their support the show would simply not exist.

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Press

New York Times [Critics' Pick]

“…buoyant, mesmerizing, joy-inducing…”

“…a poignant, comic puppet play…”

“This isn’t the birthday that Bill had hoped to have. But for the audience, his 44th is a gift.”

Interludes

“In the very capable hands of Mr. Manjuck and Ms. James, the show is executed with winning confidence and uncanny self-awareness.”

“…pure genius…”

“Shrewdly designed and delightfully staged…”

Hi! Drama

“so many eye popping revelations that will leave you scratching your head”

“This is one party you will not want to miss!”

Front Row Center

“...alternately charming and eerie, grounded and metaphysical...

 

Creative Team

Co-creator & Puppeteer: Andy Manjuck is a Brooklyn-based puppeteer, director, and voiceover artist. Recent work: Puppetry: Chimpanzee (Nick Lehane); The Plastic Bag Store; The Pigeoning (Robin Frohardt); Made in China; Baby Universe; Saga (Wakka Wakka); UAE 48th National Day (Betty Productions) Petrushka (NY Philharmonic Orchestra, Giants Are Small), VO: Adam Ruins Everything (TruTV); Unavowed (Wadjet Eye Games); Whispers of a Machine (Clifftop Games); MooseTube (GoNoodle). Upcoming: this fall Nine Years to Neptune, a new puppet television show, premieres on BYUtv. Saturday nights, Andy is an intern on the Late Night Puppet Talk Show with Special Guest, a 100% live, 100% improvised puppet catastrophe on Saturday nights at 10pm on twitch.tv/talkpuppet2me. For more on Andy, visit www.andymanjuck.com and find him on Instagram @andymanjuck.

Co-creator & Puppeteer: Dorothy James is a Brooklyn-based puppeteer, educator, and maker of tiny things. She’s performed with Basil Twist (Hansel & Gretel, Michigan Opera Theatre), Wakka Wakka (Made In China, The Immortal Jellyfish Girl), the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (Petrushka, Giants Are Small), the Rockettes (The New York Spectacular, Radio City), and is a puppeteer for the new children’s series Moon and Me (BBC, Andrew Davenport). Her work has also been seen at the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, the Jim Henson Carriage House, St. Ann’s Warehouse, 59E59, Dixon Place, La MaMa, and overseas in Norway and the Czech Republic. Dorothy is co-creator/intern of the Late Night Puppet Talk Show With Special Guest, a 100% live, 100% improvised puppet catastrophe on twitch.tv/talkpuppet2me. For more on Dorothy, visit www.dorothy-james.com and find her on Instagram @instadeej.

Composer: Eamon Fogarty is a composer, songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist from New Hampshire, currently living in Austin TX. He’s released several albums of songs under his own name, most recently 2019’s “Blue Values.” His work is informed by a winding path through jazz, choral music, free improvisation, and folk song. www.eamonfogarty.com.

Creative Collaborator & Puppeteer: Jon Riddleberger is a New York City based actor and puppeteer. He has performed around the world with Handspring Puppet Company in Il Ritorno D’Ulisse and War Horse. Jon has helped develop shows and performed with Australia’s Dead Puppet Society. He is a puppeteer and puppet captain for the BBC TV show Moon and Me and his work can be seen in the upcoming Clifford The Big Red Dog feature film. He was recently commissioned to create a short film by Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams. Jon is an adjunct teacher at NYU. For more check out: www.jonriddleberger.com.

Consulting Director: Nick O’Leary is a New York based director of theater and live events. Born and raised in New England, he has developed new work with The American Repertory Theater (MA), Guerilla Opera (MA), Actors Theatre of Louisville (KY), Dacha Theatre (WA), The Playable Theatre Project (MA), The Museum of the Moving Image (NY), Sinking Ship Creations (NY), and more. Nick is also a designer and creator of games, interactive experiences and other playable works. More at www.nickoleary.com.

Lighting Designer: M. Jordan Wiggins is a lighting designer, programmer, and production manager for all areas of live entertainment. Recent works include lighting design for Ballet Pensacola’s Nutcracker, Fei Tian School of Dance at Middletown College, and Lincoln Center Education. Jordan has worked internationally designing for corporate events, dance, live music, cultural showcases, themed entertainment and acrobats. He is an alumni of the Savannah College of Art and Design and is the alumni chair for the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas. Selected works at www.mjordanwiggins.com.

Dramaturg: Helena Pennington is a new play dramaturg and literary administrator. Her work gravitates towards the intersection of theater and other live performance styles, including puppet arts, music theater, and immersive or environmental work. She is currently a member of the artistic development staff at Manhattan Theatre Club. Helena’s literary and dramaturgical work has also been seen at Playwrights Horizons, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and National Music Theater Conference, HERE Arts Center, and more. www.helenapennington.com.

Technical Director: Peter Russo has worked professionally in theater for 30 years as an actor, puppeteer, scenic carpenter, stagehand, electrician, technical director, and teacher. He is a founding member of Story Pirates, a group dedicated to celebrating the words and ideas of young people, and a company member of Wakka Wakka, with whom he has performed in at least 7 different productions. Back when he was still a “face actor” in the early aughts, he was in some pretty cool stuff that was nominated for awards and things. He was also in four different unions, including Local 79 Mason Tenders & Laborers, and briefly, the U. S. Merchant Marine. Education: B.S. in Speech and Communication, Northwestern University (Music Theater Certificate).

Creative Producer: Leigh Walter is a director, producer and manager based in NYC. She has worked at Lincoln Center, Park Avenue Armory, The Public, Ars Nova, New York Theatre Workshop, St. Ann’s Warehouse, HERE Arts Center, Dixon Place and La MaMa among a myriad of other theaters, warehouses, bars, museums, houses, streets and parks.  Her work is focused on developing new theatre, with significant experience and passion for immersive/non- traditional productions and puppetry. This work has also included large-scale musicals, performance art, immersive children’s theatre, dance, opera, puppet folk-musicals and everything in-between. She is a proud company member of Trusty Sidekick. B.F.A. Directing, Nebraska Wesleyan University. leighwalter.com.

Production Coordinator: Taryn Uhe is a New York based stage manager, director and writer. Recently she has worked with Cherry Lane Theatre, Pip’s Island, Company of Fools, Minor Theatre Company, Abrons Arts Center and more. Her work usually gravitates toward new and developing plays but has also included musicals, puppetry, immersive children’s theatre, burlesque and fashion. tarynuhe.weebly.com.

 

Contact

For all booking inquiries please contact:

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Elsie Management
Laura Colby, President
laurac@elsieman.org
Anna Amadei, Vice President
annaa@elsieman.org

TEL: +1 718 797 4577