It’s 1964, and there’s a new local kids’ show on Lansing’s WMMB, Mid-Michigan Broadcasting! It’s called “Princess Lucyin the Land of Pretend” and it features puppets, ventriloquism, games and silliness.
The Riverwalk Theatre and Fairy Dust Theatre present a fun childrens show with elements of nostalgia for the adults. Miss those old kids programs you loved from the past? Would you like to show your children or grandchildren what those shows were like? Well, Kellie Stonebrook and Bruce Bennett have concocted a play that is very reminicent of those shows.
It’s live theater, but presented as if you are in the studio audience of a children’s TV show from the 1960s with features of Shari Lewis and Lambchop, Mr. Rogers, Captain Kangaroo, and locally produced shows like Al E. Khatt (from WJIM, now WLNS), The Land of Play (WKAR), and Soupy Sales (WXYZ, Detroit).
Also, after each of the Saturday performances, there will be a 1 hour workshop for kids, “Making Your Puppet Come to Life”. The kids can make their own paper bag puppets with simple materials provided, and practice puppetry with Princess Lucy herself.
Kellie Stonebrook plays Princess Lucy. Stonebrook is known mostly as an actress around the Lansing area, but is also an excellent ventriloquist. Kellie and her “Fairy Dust Theatre” are booked all over Michigan to perform with her puppets at schools, libraries and daycare facilities. She attends the international ventriloquists’ convention held every year, and has taken classes from Jeff Dunham and other famous ventriloquists.
Bruce Bennett is writer and director of the show, and performs some puppetry. This is the 3rd Childrens show he’s authored to be performed at Riverwalk. Bruce is a commercial artist, but also has acted or directed at most of Lansing’s theaters, including the defunct BoarsHead and Stormfield Theatres, and the thriving Williamston Theatre. He’s also acted in movies, including a nice speaking role in “Machine Gun Preacher” which starred Gerard Butler.
The idea for the show came from Bruce’s fond memories of attending broadcasts of Bozo and Al E. Khatt at WJIM as a child, and working years later with Howard Lancour, local TV kid show host, in advertising and community theater. “Howard had wonderful stories of those days,” says Bennett. Bruce is also in touch with a group of local TV station employees from the old days who get together once a month at a local restaurant.
“Princess Lucy in the Land of Pretend” is presented in the Black Box performance space at the Riverwalk Theatre, 228 Museum Drive in downtown Lansing. The show runs June 21, 22 and 28, 29. Performances at 7:00 on Friday, and at 12:30 and 4:30 on Saturday. Tickets are $6. Call the Box Office at 517-482-5700 for reservations.www.riverwalktheatre.com