Len Piper’s Pinocchio at the Puppet Co. Theatre

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Pinocchio at the Puppet Co. Theatre

My four-year-old son is so enamored with the Puppet Co. Theatre that he regularly asks me which show is playing to ensure that he has not missed one.

As with most Puppet Co. Theatre shows, Pinocchio is based on the original tale rather than he Disney version.   This is a perfect balance for kids who are likely already familiar with the characters but not the story they see unfolding on stage.  In this version, Geppetto longs for a son and makes one out of wood.   Pinocchio does, eventually, become a real boy but there is no mention of his nose ever growing longer. That said, all of the familiar characters are there from  Jiminy cricket to a floating fairy.

Pinocchio is one of the Puppet Co.’s more elaborate productions.  The stage is set with a multi-layered Italian cottage.  Scenes ranging from the Tuscan countryside to a glowing underwater ocean teeming with life are projected onto an onstage screen, which also uses shadow play to create a wide variety of locations for Pinocchio to explore.  Puppets range from life-size marionettes to smaller ones for a puppet-show-within-a-puppet-show. There is also one lone actor who makes an appearance on stage at various points during the performance.

My son loved everything about Pinocchio, but his favorite part by far was the extended neon underwater scene in which schools of fish, a stingray, jellyfish and more.  This is a truly magical scene and the children (and adults) in the audience let out oohs-and-ahs as each new sea creature appeared, glowing and gliding through the air.

Next up at the Puppet Co. is The Nutcracker.  This annual tradition is a great introduction to The Nutcracker for younger children and deserves a place on your holiday list!


Tips for Your Visit:

  • Seating is first-come first served with the front of the theatre reserved for children only.
  • No strollers are allowed in the theatre, but there is stroller parking just outside.
  • The show runs about 40 minutes.
  • If your child can’t sit through the show, the performance is broadcast live to a monitor in the lobby so you can keep watching.
  • There is free parking in the Glen Echo parking lot, but it can take about 10 minutes to walk from the lot to the theatre with kids so be sure to leave enough time!
  • Pinocchio runs through November 22nd.  Tickets are $12. Everyone 2 and older needs a ticket.  Buy tickets here or at the box office.
  • When going to Glen Echo for the show, be sure to spend some time in the park’s fun playground or stop by the branch of Praline in the park for a treat. The carousel is closed for the season.
  • Group rates and birthday party packages are available.


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