The classic Rudolph story was adapted from the classic TV special by the center’s artistic director Jon Ludwig, also directs the show.
Tim and Claire Knoops brought their 3-year-old son Alexander to the show all the way from England. Claire Knoops lived in Atlanta for five years before returning to England. The family is back in town visiting friends for three weeks.
“I just Googled things to do in Atlanta for children before we left,” she said. “It seemed like this was something very good for children.”
Her husband echoed his wife’s sentiments.
“It was the best puppet show I’ve ever seen,” he said. “It certainly held (Alexander’s) interest, which I didn’t expect for that long.”
Daniel Summers Jr., the marketing director for the center, said all the costume, puppet and set design is done at the center.
The puppeteers all sing and perform the voices live. Summers said often more than one puppeteer is operating a puppet on stage. The puppeteers operate the puppets from rolling seats.
“We like to say that a performer is a triple threat when they can act, sing and dance,” said Summers. “If you can do all that through a puppet, …yeah.”
While most of the puppeteers are local, two are new to the show this year.
Haley Jenkins, who plays the parts of Mrs. Donner, Hermey, Girl Elf and Spotted Elephant, lives in New York and saw the show last year while she was touring with another one.
“I came through and got to see a dress rehearsal, and I was just obsessed,” she said.
“We have more local talent than not,” said Summers. “Atlanta has become a puppet-oriented city in our [the center’s] 34 years of existence.”