Thursday, February 8, 2018

Pinocchio: JCTC-KIDS Revives “Ultimate” Puppet Show

To open the new season for Jersey City’s favorite strings-attached theatre company, JCTC-KIDs present a revival of the beloved classic, Pinocchio.

Pinocchio – at the marionette puppetry theater at Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Avenue, Jersey City –
opens Sunday, February 18 and runs through May 20. Public shows are at 1:00pm, with group shows available for schools, organizations and private parties.

Pinocchio by Puppetworks was first presented in 2015 by JCTC-KIDS, the children’s programming division of Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC). Because the original run of Pinocchio was presented so early in the development of JCTC-KIDS presentations of Puppetworks productions, audiences had yet to reach their current level. For example, 2017’s runs of The Wizard of Oz and The Prince & The Magic Flute had several sold out and/or near-capacity shows.

As the audience for classic marionette puppetry grew in the years since this version of Pinocchio had its New Jersey debut, many audiences members wondered when they could see the classic tale of the puppet who yearns to be a boy. “Pinocchio is one of the most popular Puppetworks productions,” said Mike Leach, Chief Puppeteer and Executive Director of Puppetworks. “It’s the ultimate marionette story, because Pinocchio is a puppet, a marionette. A lot of the word of mouth that grew our following in Jersey City started with that first run of Pinocchio, and many of the kids and parents who now attend Puppetworks always ask about Pinocchio.”

Pinocchio is absolutely our most requested marionette show,” said Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC. “Now that more people have discovered our wonderful programming for families and children, this season was the right time to bring Pinocchio back to Jersey City.” Due to the overwhelming demand for Pinocchio, audiences are encouraged to purchase tickets online (

Since 1980, Puppetworks has been committed to preserving the tradition of live-theater presentations through the art of the Marionette. Nicolas Coppola, founder and Artistic Director of Puppetworks, who received the President’s Award for “Outstanding Contributions to the Art of Puppetry” by the Puppeteers of America in 2011, first performed Pinocchio in 1954.

Pinocchio by Puppetworks is based on Carlo Collodi’s original 1882 Adventures of a Marionette, Pinocchio, although the actual script is an adaptation of a 1938 adaptation by The Mercury Theater, co-founded by Orson Welles. As the story goes, the Mercury players were performing a human version of Pinocchio, and through a WPA program, revised their script for the Suzari Marionettes, the puppetry theater company that eventually became Puppetworks.

Pinocchio by Puppetworks features hand-carved, wooden marionettes, original song score, and vivid, colorful scenes ranging from Boobyland and its Donkey Machine to the eerie and glowing Undersea World, complete with whale. Besides Pinocchio (and yes, the puppet’s nose actually grows on stage) and his creator/father, the kind Gepetto, the performance also includes the full retinue of familiar characters who accompany the puppet-boy – and his lie detector schnozzle – on his journey to become a real live boy: the Blue Fairy, Mr. Fox and Mr. Cat, the Ring Master and the Great Stromboli, the ultimate puppet master.
“We keep our plays as close as possible to the original source material of Classic Children’s Literature and International Folk and Fairytales,” said Leach. “Puppet shows are often the first theater experience for most children. Live theater inspires a sense of wonder and imagination that kids cannot find on television, computer or smart phone screens.”

JCTC-KIDS is presenting Pinocchio by Puppetworks every Sunday afternoon at Merseles Studios, 1:00pm, from Feb. 18 – May 20 (please note, there will be NO performances on March 11 or Easter Sunday, April 1).

Advance tickets/online sales: $9 for children; $10 for adults. At the door: $11 and $12; $9 each for groups of 20 or more. School discounts and private party bookings are also available. To purchase online tickets visit:

Jersey City Theater Center
Merseles Studios
339 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 795-5386

Funding for Jersey City Theater Center is made possible by generous support from the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development, Thomas A. DeGise, Hudson County Executive and the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Funding is also made possible through the generosity of Ben LoPiccolo Development Group, JCTC’s Board of Directors, private donors and local Jersey City businesses.
Jersey City Theater Center, Inc. (JCTC) presents programming at Merseles Studios and White Eagle Hall. JCTC is a nonprofit, 501c3 arts organization committed to inspiring conversations about the important topics of our times through innovative and progressive performing and visual arts that celebrates diversity, bringing communities closer together and enhancing the quality of life.

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