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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Puppet Up Toronto Tour Diary – Day 2 – Practice Makes Puppets by Grant Baciocco

October 22, 2013

Today we got to see the theatre for the first time and let me say, it is a really great space and, in my opinion, a really great venue for us. We’ve played in a lot of fantastic venues but sometimes big giant 1500-2000 seaters are just a little too big for us. The Panasonic Theatre holds about 600 and I think it’s just the right size.


And let me throw out a huge thanks to Mirvish Productions that own the theatre have done amazing work promoting the show. There’s uge banners that take up the entire windows of the front of the theatre. Inside the lobby (I’ll try to get pictures tomorrow) there are more posters and videos screens playing promos. It’s almost as if the Miskreant Puppets had taken over the entire theatre. Pretty cool.

It was a drizzly day here in Toronto, but we were inside for most of it, so that’s fine. Today was a big rehearsal day. As I may have mentioned, there is a new finale in the show and it is sort of tech heavy so we wanted to get it up and running as quickly as possible.

One cool aspect of the finale is that two new puppets were built for it and I’m super grateful, and honored, that I was asked to puppeteer one of them. I even jokingly gave them names and they’ve seemed to stick. I won’t say anymore because it’d spoil them, but it’s pretty cool. I will again say that I’m eager to see what folks think of this finale. It is a feat of tech and puppetry and as someone said the first time they saw it, “That’s the darnedest thing I’ve ever seen.” Let’s hope Toronto thinks the same.



Besides finessing the finale time was spent on the ‘set’ pieces of the show. These are the non-improvised segments. So we ran through the opening, closing, Windy, Java and I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face. I’m feeling confident with playing the Big Java now. There’s some tricky puppetry but I’m using it to push my skills further and I really think I’m getting it. It’s to the point now where I’m getting to the point I can sort of put my own ‘take’ on it. Though, I’ll say my take is trying to emulate Bill Baretta’s take on it. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Bill perform it in San Francisco. It was like seeing it for the first time.

After rehearsal, I walked around Toronto a little with Colleen, then retired to the room for a bit. Then Brian Clark, Ted, Dan and I struck out for food. Lots of interesting to eat here in Toronto, though it reminds me of just about any downtown metropolitan areas.

We wound up at a place called Urban Food that had a Asian flare to it. I was going to get a salad, but decided to go outside my comfort zone and get crispy chow mien with chicken. It was okay, but nothing I’d write home about. Dan said it wasn’t the best he’d ever had, so maybe not a good benchmark for me to judge it by. Next time I’ll get a salad.

Tomorrow we have an early call and out first show. I can’t wait. This show really is the most fun thing I’ve ever done in my life and I’m ready to do it again. Having never done a drug, I’m thinking this is what addiction is like. Nervously waiting for that next ‘fix.’ It comes tomorrow!





by Grant Baciocco
(Not Officially Endorsed by Puppet Up or The Jim Henson Company)

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