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Presented by Official Puppet Business in Co-Presentation with Dream Music

Bill’s 44th

CREATED BY
Andy Manjuck & Dorothy James

DEVISED BY
Andy Manjuck & Dorothy James with Jon Riddleberger

PUPPETEERS
Andy Manjuck
Dorothy James
Jon Riddleberger


ORIGINAL SCORE BY
Eamon Fogarty

LIGHTING DESIGN BY
M. Jordan Wiggins

PUPPET DESIGN BY
Dorothy James

SOUND DESIGN BY
Andy Manjuck

PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Taryn Uhe

DRAMATURG
Helena Pennington

ADDITIONAL SET & PROP ELEMENTS BY
Peter  Russo, Joseph Silovsky, & Taryn Uhe

COLLABORATORS FOR ORIGINAL DIXON PLACE PRODUCTION

Nick O'Leary, Consulting Director
Leigh Walter, Creative Producer
Peter Russo, Technical Direction
Ben Wright Smith, Livestream Videographer

PRESS AGENT
Emily Owens PR

MARKETING
Schloss Marketing Solutions

PRODUCERS
Brian De Wolf, Blass Flores, Chris & Dave Loechel,
The Manjucks, Connor Peirce

This engagement was made possible in part with support from Sheila McKenna


CREATORS' NOTE

Hello and thank you for coming to Bill's 44th birthday party! Bill's been waiting a long time for this, and we are so thrilled you could make it!

We want to take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate all of our collaborators and colleagues through the years who helped transform Bill's 44th into what it has become. Our process is a devised one –– the thoughts, gags, and reality-checks molded Bill into who he is today, and without everyone's input, Bill would probably still just be a head in a box on a shelf.

Originally commissioned by Dixon Place, Bill’s 44th received a 2020 Production Grant from the Jim Henson Foundation and was developed in part as part of the 2019-2022 Puppet Lab at St. Ann’s Warehouse and with support from the New York State Puppet Festival. Bill’s 44th premiered at Dixon Place in 2021 just as theaters were beginning to reopen in NYC. Simultaneously live-streamed, Bill was allowed four performances with a live audience limited to 30% capacity.  Since then, Bill’s 44th has been presented by the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival (2022), Oklahoma City Rep, the Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts, the 2023 London International Mime Festival where it was nominated for two "Offie" Awards, and the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it was named a finalist for the OffFest Award for Theatre. Bill's 44th has also been awarded a Citation of Excellence by UNIMA-USA, an honor that recognizes and rewards the best of the puppetry arts in the USA.

Many Thanks to Dixon Place, Puppet Lab, NYSPF, the Late Night Puppet Talk Show Crew, Cheryl Henson, and The Jim Henson Foundation whose encouragement, guidance, and funds helped make this production, as well as countless others, possible.

And, of course, a very special thanks to HERE and Dream Music for giving Bill the opportunity to celebrate his birthday once again in NYC!  He’s been waiting a long time to come home.  Happy Birthday Bill!

ARTIST BIOS

Andy Manjuck is a Brooklyn-based artist. He is a company member of Wakka Wakka (Baby Universe, Saga, Made in China, The Immortal Jellyfish Girl, Dead as a Dodo), and has worked with Robin Frohardt (The Pigeoning, The Plastic Bag Store), Nick Lehane (Chimpanzee, and "Fly Away" – a collaboration with Derek Fordjour's SELF MUST DIE exhibition, Petzel Gallery), Unknown Mortal Orchestra (“That Life,” Double Solitaire), Doug Fitch (Petrushka with the NY Philharmonic Orchestra, and Oregon Symphony), Apple TV+ (Hello Tomorrow!), BYUtv (9 Years to Neptune), and Betty Productions ("4th Islamic Solidarity Games Opening Ceremonies," Baku, Azerbaijan, "48th National Day Celebration," Abu Dhabi, UAE). He co-founded the arts collective Eat Drink Tell Your Friends (Lectures, Photo & Supply). He has also taught and designed at the Peabody Institute at John Hopkin's University. www.andymanjuck.com

Dorothy James is a Brooklyn based puppeteer and maker of tiny things. She has puppeteered for Wakka Wakka (Made in China, The Immortal Jellyfish Girl, Dead As A Dodo), The Avett Brothers (2024 US Tour), Nick Lehane and Derek Fordjour (SELF MUST DIE: “Fly Away”, Petzel Gallery), Basil Twist (Hansel & Gretel, Michigan Opera Theatre), Arena Stage (Snow Child), AchesonWalsh & Radio City (The New York Spectacular…), Eat Drink Tell Your Friends (Lectures, HERE Arts Center), Unknown Mortal Orchestra & Double Solitaire (“That Life” music video), BBC (Moon and Me), Amazon (Patriot), Apple TV+ (Hello Tomorrow!), and FX (Dying For Sex). Dorothy has also designed and fabricated puppets for The Muny (Joseph…Dreamcoat, Beauty and the Beast), the short film Tripping (Amelia Xanthe Boscov), as well as for her own short film Lethologica, which is an official selection of Chicago’s Big Teeth, Small Shorts Festival, The ShockFest Film Festival, and The Upstate NY Horror Film Festival. www.dorothy-james.com

Jon Riddleberger is a NYC-based actor, puppeteer, filmmaker and teacher. His work can be seen on-screen in the Clifford the Big Red Dog feature film, the BAFTA-nominated television show Moon and Me, Apple TV’s Hello Tomorrow! and the upcoming FX show Dying for Sex starring Michelle Williams. Jon puppeteered the horses in the North American and Japanese tour of War Horse and continues to work with The Handspring Puppet Company on their production of Il Ritorno D'Ulisse directed by William Kentridge. Jon was recently seen as a puppeteer in El Niño at the Metropolitan Opera. He has worked many times with Dead Puppet Society most notably developing and performing Laser Beak Man at the Sydney Opera House. Jon performed in Derek Fordjour and Nick Lehane’s collaborative piece, Fly Away, which has been turned into a film.  His award-winning film “The Memory Trade” was produced by Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams. Jon was the director of puppetry for the world premiere of Keelay Gipson’s demons. Jon is an adjunct teacher at NYU Tisch where he teaches puppetry to the drama students and recently directed and co-conceived (with playwright Jaclyn Backhaus) FRNKNSTN. You can find out more at: www.jonriddleberger.com

 

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.

​​

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.

 

Taryn Uhe is a New York based production manager, stage manager, director and writer. Uhe is the Production Coordinator for the NY Times Critics Pick touring puppetry production Bill’s 44th (London Mime, Edinburgh Fringe, Dixon Place). She recently completed the touring production of Frolic with Trusty Sidekick where she acted as touring SM and Puppetry Maintenance. Additional credits include: Hasan Minhaj: The King’s Jester -Radio City (PA), Cherry Lane Theatre (ASM), La Mama (SM), Page 73 (PA), Pip’s Island (Event Operator), Media In Motion (RM), Abrons Art Center (ASM). BFA Nebraska Wesleyan University. 


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.

ABOUT OFFICIAL PUPPET BUSINESS

 

Co-founded by Andy Manjuck & Dorothy James, Official Puppet Business strives to produce innovative puppet theater that pushes the boundaries of the medium; creating narratives that are simultaneously grounded and fantastical, serious and silly. Through a devised process, OPB experiments with different combinations of objects, materials, and methods of manipulation to best communicate the story they wish to tell, resulting in surprising and magical moments of visual theater. OPB cares deeply about the audience making significant connections with simple objects that are thoughtfully realized and thoroughly explored.


 

ABOUT DREAM MUSIC PUPPETRY

 

One of few programs in the country to grow and commission contemporary, adult puppet works, Dream Music Puppetry provides performance opportunities to puppet artists, and encourages multidisciplinary collaboration to develop new puppetry techniques. This HERE program was inaugurated with the premiere of Basil Twist’s OBIE-award-winning Symphonie Fantastique in 1998. Under the artistic direction of Twist, and produced by HERE co-founder Barbara Busackino, the Dream Music aesthetic is geared toward puppet works that feature live music as a collaborative element.

 

 

ABOUT HERE

 

The award-winning HERE (Kristin Marting, Founding Artistic Director) was named a Top Ten Off-Off Broadway Theater by Time Out New York and is a leader in the field of producing and presenting new, hybrid performances viewed as a seamless integration of artistic disciplines—theatre, dance, music and opera, puppetry, media, visual and installation, spoken word and performance art. HERE is a producer, presenter and venue for local and global ground-breaking artists. HERE’s standout productions include Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, Taylor Mac’s The Hang and The Lily’s Revenge, Trey Lyford & Geoff Sobelle all wear bowlers, Young Jean Lee’s Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven, Robin Frohardt’s The Pigeoning, and Basil Twist’s Symphonie Fantastique, as well as works directed by Founding Artistic Director Kristin Marting including James Scruggs’ Disposable Men and Kamala Sankaram’s Looking at You. In addition to its extensive producing work with local artists through its HERE Artist Residency Program, HERE presents work from New York, across the country, and around the globe through its Dream Music Puppetry Program (co-curated with Basil Twist), and its widely acclaimed PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now festival of opera-theatre and music-theatre, co-curated and co-produced with Beth Morrison Projects. As a welcoming venue, HERE proudly curates adventurous artists, companies and productions, whether emerging or recognized, through its SubletSeries. Since its founding in 1993, HERE and the artists it has supported have received 18 Obies, 2 Bessies, 5 Drama Desk Nominations, 2 Pulitzer Prizes, 4 Doris Duke Awards, 7 Tony Nominations, and 2 MacArthur Fellowships.


 

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Ben Elling, Christina Tang, J Hann, Joseph Lymous, Marcie Mars, Alex White, Barbara Busackino, Basil Twist, Kristin Marting, Amanda Szeglowski, Christopher Azara, Emily Batsford, Lee Berger, Juanita Cardenas, Celia Castevens, Laura Colby, Melissa Creighton, Madeleine Dauer, Chris Farrell, Lauren Florio, Tyler Gunther, Brodrick Jones, Mary Judge, Calvin Lester, Mickey Lee Nelson & Beau Cybulski, Leah Ogawa, Kendal Peirce, Andrew Pidkameny, Caitlin Smith Rapoport, Lee Sacks, Peter Savieri, Kathleen Stone, Shayna Strype, Yuliya Tsukerman, Fred & Bridget Uhe



Bill’s 44th is represented by Elsie Management.

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