Friday, December 9, 2016

Year-End Spaghetti Dinner


Friday, December 30, 2016
Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South, NYC

Spaghetti-eating at 7:30
Shows at 8:00
donation $15, no one turned away for lack of funds

Lush Tongue: interactive, improvisational vocal performance led by Onome and Bonita Oliver

Puppet show The Sad True Adventures of President Punch
by Joe Therrien and Tom Cunningham
When Punch wakes up to find the country has elected him as their new leader, he quickly deports his wife, starts a fan club, and sets the proletariat against each other so he can rule the world without interruption. (Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)

Supruli is a NYC-based choir devoted to the traditional folk and liturgical polyphonic singing from the Republic of Georgia.

Junken Master Part I
Great Small Works and friends in jaw-dropping action scenes with soon-to-be de-accessioned junk from our studio.

And... Music to kick up your heels!!!
Some of New York City's finest musicians, offering their original, uplifting, beautiful music, and some much-needed hope as the New Year approaches.
The world's first Yiddish-Punjabi-bhangra-funk-klezmer party band
Led by trumpeter Frank London and percussionist Deep Singh
With Yoshie Fruchter, Damon Banks, Michael Winograd, Sarah Gordon, Dan Blacksberg, + guests

Thanks for support from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the Puppet Slam Network.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Post-Show Discussions at La MaMa

Announcing -- Post-Show Events:
Friday October 28th

Opening night post show talk and reception with Dr. Edward Portnoy

Eddy Portnoy received his Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary. His dissertation was on cartoons of the Yiddish press. He also holds an M.A in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University, and is Senior Researcher and Exhibition Curator at the YIVO institute for Jewish Research.  His articles on Jewish popular culture phenomena have appeared in The Drama Review, Polin, and The International Journal of Comic Art. His investigations into the lives and work of Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler were the seed of this production.
Thursday November 3rd
Jews For Racial and Economic Justice night
Post show discussion with the scintillating and subtle Irena Klepfisz
Irena Klepfisz is a poet, Yiddish translator, and teacher of English literature, Yiddish language and literature, and Women’s Studies. She is the author of the poetry collection A Few Words in the Mother Tongue and Dreams of an Insomniac: Jewish Feminist Essays, Speeches, and Diatribes. Klepfisz is additionally a co-editor of The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women’s Anthology and Jewish Women’s Call for Peace: A Handbook for Jewish Women on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict, and served for many years as Yiddish editor for Bridges magazine. She has been a long-time activist whose work has addressed homophobia in the Jewish community, women and peace in the Middle East, and secular Jewish identity. Klepfisz teaches at Barnard.

Saturday November 5th

Post show Dazzle Camouflage book celebration!
with Ezra Berkley Nepon

Dazzle Camouflage: Spectacular Theatrical Strategies for Resistance and Resilience, a new book by Ezra Berkley Nepon, offers two profiles of contemporary theater artists, Jenny Romaine and the Eggplant Faerie Players, generating analysis about their shared transformative theatrical strategies. Using oral history, archival research, and experiences working with these artists, the author tells their stories and identifies the roles of Dazzle Camouflage, Re-Mixing History, and Rehearsing Resistance in their work. Both profiles are interwoven with progressive Jewish and Queer culture and politics. More info at

Opens this week!
See you there!

Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls at La MaMa

La MaMa presents
G R E A T   S M A L L   W O R K S

October 28 - November 06, 2016

Thursday to Saturday at 7:30PM
Saturday and Sunday at 2PM
First Floor Theatre | 74a East 4th Street
$20 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors

Buy tickets here:
There are still some $10 tickets available! Act fast! 

Great Small Works revisits the work of radical 20th-century New York City puppeteers Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler. In a bilingual Yiddish-English play that uses Maud and Cutler's satirical puppet scripts and original graphics, together with Great Small Works' own puppets and projections, and appearances by demented dybbuks and Mae West, Muntergang is a meditation on historical (and applicable) models for changing power relationships.
Created and performed by Great Small Works members John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin, Jenny Romaine and Roberto Rossi, in collaboration with the archive of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research With puppeteers Joseph Therrien and Sam Wilson

Music by Jessica Lurie and Hannah Temple

Lights by Meredith Holch; sound by Akeyjoa Ando

Script by Jenny Romaine

Monday, May 9, 2016

Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls in Boston June 4th and 5th

Tell your Boston friends!

Saturday, June 4th at 8PM
Sunday, June 5th at 2PM and 7PM
Charlestown Working Theater 

Phone: 617.242.3285

Great Small Works’ newest production, Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls, based on the lives and work of Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler, two radical hand-puppeteers from the early 20th century, is coming to Charlestown Working Theater. It is a meditation on their incisive and funny satirical work, and on historical models of robust embodied practices for changing social power relationships. Muntergang is a bilingual puppet show in Yiddish and English which uses original Maud and Cutler scripts, graphics and songs, together with Great Small Works’ own handpuppets, projections, rod puppets, panoramic scrolls, handmade lighting instruments, flat cut-outs, acting, dances, and an original music score performed live.

Created and performed by John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin, Jenny Romaine and Roberto Rossi, with musicians Jessica Lurie and Hannah Temple and puppeteer Sam Wilson.

Conceived in collaboration with YIVO Institute for Yiddish Research, which houses the Modicut archives. Former program director Helena Gindi:
“Not only does GSW make YIVO’s archival materials accessible to the public, but in the best version of public education, they make them relevant. YIVO holds this production as an example of the possibility and power of great art to educate the public about the contents of YIVO’s archives, and ask important questions about the way we live our lives today.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


We will NOT be at South Street Seaport.
We WILL be at Judson Church

Puppets, music, poetry, paper movies and pasta!

Join Great Small Works for an evening of fresh water tributes to protection, investigative journalism, the Chinese zodiac, Oshun, Passover deliveries and other exalted things. 

Chinese Theatre Works -- "Hao Bang-Ha, Zodiac!"-- sage aphorisms and wisdom drops courtesy of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Performed by Stephen Kaplin and Alexandra Young.

Brazilian singer Rita Silva

Sabina Ibarrola -- "We Live on an Island," a group guided meditation/mental rehearsal for after the revolution.

Three paper scroll crankies:
                  "Ode to Common Things" by Great Small Works
                  "Spectacular Superlatives" by Gregory Corbino
                  "Bicycle" by Meredith Holch

A new handpuppet show from the Semi-Upright Cultural Workers Collective. If the Panama Papers don't shed enough light on the banking industry to be the catalyst for overthrowing capitalism, maybe this puppet show will!

SUNDAY, APRIL 24, 2016

Doors open at 7PM. Spaghetti will be served. Beer and wine for sale.
Performances begin at 7:30PM.
Tickets at the door: $15 sliding scale (no one turned away for lack of funds)
Info: 917-319-8104

Funding made possible in part by a grant from the Puppet Slam Network
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


The Afteselakhis Spectacle Committee in cahoots with Jews For Racial and Economic Justice, Milk Not Jails, Great Small Works, and a cavalcade of artists & organizers present:


3 extravagant Purim Shpiln performances in 3 days!

Thursday, March 17th, 8pm (show)
Saturday, March 19th, 8:30pm (show, masquerade ball, bands, DJ's, food)
Family Carnival Sunday, March 20th, 1–4pm (shows by youth and Pageant excerpts, music, food)

 The pageantry of "IT'S IN THE WATER: A POROUS PURIM" gives the ancient text of the book of Esther back to the people, opening up a shared space for our most urgent political ideas, deepest human desires, and weirdest outfits. It renews the crowd by collapsing the performer/audience divide, and allows us to laugh at power, even as we claim it.

Performances will take place at East Midwood Jewish Center, 1625 Ocean Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11230
work by: The Mighty Purim Ensemble 2016, Nyx Zierhut, Aurora Levins Morales, Daniel "Majesty" Sanchez, Tsibele, Legacy Women, DJ Ripley, Koyt Far Dayn Fardakht, , PAROLE JUSTICE NEW YORK, AGING PEOPLE IN PRISON/RAPP,

and the inimitable

The AFTSELAKHIS (Yiddish “In spite of it all”) SPECTACLE COMMITTEE  JD Davids, Anna Jacobs, Rosza Daniel Lang/Levitsky, Abigail Miller, Jenny Romaine, Aleza Summit, Hannah Temple, Zachary Wager Scholl.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016



Great Small Works joins Teatro SEA to celebrate World Puppetry Day
Monday, March 21, 2016

Trudi Cohen and John Bell perform "Ode to Common Things"
a cranky, based on a poem by Pablo Neruda 

Teatro SEA (Society of the Educational Arts, Inc.) presents

5th Annual World Day of Puppetry
A Celebrity Puppet Red Carpet, Puppet Cabaret and Fiesta, benefitting UNIMA-USA!
Monday, March 21, 2016
7:00 pm
Admission: $10.00
(Tickets will be available at the Box Office)

For information and reservation please call 212.529.1545 or visit

Teatro SEA @ The Clemente
107 Suffolk Street,
(Bet. Delancey & Rivington Streets)
New York, NY 10002
(F Train to Delancey or J, M or Z to Essex)

7:00pm Celebrity Puppet Red Carpet
7:30pm Reception (includes Food + Cash Bar)
8:30pm Puppet Cabaret
(Performances by Great Small Works, Teatro SEA, Chinese Theatre Works, Drama of Works, James Godwin and Spencer Lott!) List in formation.
10:00pm Fiesta

This event is endorsed by The North American Commission of UNIMA and UNIMA-USA.

The WORLD DAY OF PUPPETRY celebrates an art form as old as the beginning of humankind that now thrives on contemporary stages across the globe. Puppetry is a grand and glorious tradition that transcends languages, includes people from all walks of life, and unites the world in a way that is truly unique and powerful.

Puppeteers of America and UNIMA-USA are proud to present this WORLD DAY OF PUPPETRY 2016, taking place all over North America. Events on March 21st and beyond are brought to you by the national organizations, local puppetry guilds, puppetry centers, and by many diverse partner institutions including libraries, museums, and theatrical organizations.



About the show

Hosted by Joshua Holden, with Jeb Colwell on the Guitalele
Featuring Great Small Works & Robin Frohardt
On March 11 at 7pm & 10:30pm only, special guest Basil Twist

Man Killers of India a two-part shadow puppet series, based on the adventures of real life hunter Kenneth Anderson, returns from the vaults a decade after its inception for their New York debut! Puppets by Robin Frohardt, voices and music by Freddi Price, script by Kirk Lombard.
Great Small Works performs Three Graces, a cantastoria in which three mythical graces—Harmony, Strategy and Splendor—float down to earth for an op-art romp inspired by Grace Paley, Grace Kelly, Grace Jones and Grace Lee Boggs. Recently performed in honor of Grace Lee Boggs as part of the Banners and Cranks Festival at Detroit Institute of Art.

A Dream Music Puppetry Program presentation. Funded in part by The Jim Henson Foundation.


Hosted by Joshua Holden
Guitalele Music by Jeb Colwell

Man Killers of India:
Puppets by Robin Frohardt
Voices and Music by Freddi Price
Script by Kirk Lombard
Puppeteers: Robin FrohardtAndy ManjuckRowan Magee,  Nick Lehane  

Three Graces:

Performers: John Bell, Cassandra Burrows, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin, and Xavier
Text by Jenny Romaine and the company