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Puppets' Christmas: 'Nutcracker' - in a hurry!

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Drosselmeyer, the mysterious magician-like figure in Tchaikovskys ballet The Nutcracker, is one of the cast of 84 puppets appearing in wacky production of Nutcracker Cracked!!! The puppet is held by Stephen M. Overton, of Pong Pongs Pint-size Puppet Museum, at 9th and Umatilla Street in Sellwood.“We’re really excited to again bring the Holidays to our part of Sellwood!” exclaimed Stephen M. Overton with “Pong Pong’s Pint-size Puppet Museum” on S.E. Umatilla Street.

As they have for the past 20 years, he and his partner, Marty Richmond have decorated the house, yard, and museum with thousands of outdoor decorative lights that Overton said has caused the corner of S.E. 9th Avenue and Umatilla to become a Holiday attraction over the years.

Inside the museum, as THE BEE visited, the two were busy unpacking Holiday-themed puppets for their new exhibit, “Nuts about Nutcrackers”.

“In addition to our traditional Christmas-dressed puppets, we’ll also have on display our collection nutcrackers from around the world,” Overton said. “It’s probably the largest exhibit of Holiday-themed nutcrackers anywhere – in fact, visitors will see, ah…”

His voice trailed off. He explained, “Well, I can’t tell you the number, because if a guest counts or guesses the correct number, they’ll win tickets to our live show, one of the books, or one of the videos!”

In the front window is a miniature Santa’s Village, just like the one featured in the movie the duo created, “Witch Key”. “And, we have fascinating marionettes on display that have been seen in puppet shows across Canada and the United States,” Overton added.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, starting December 14, they present a live puppet show entitled, “Nutcracker Cracked!!!”

“It’s a wacky send-up of the beloved ‘Nutcracker’ ballet. You've never seen a version quite like this,” Overton promised. “Imagine seeing the entire ballet performed in 38 minutes – what a timesaver during the Holidays!”

He described it as a “miniature satire of epic proportions”, with Tchaikovsky’s enchanting music, and 84 new rod puppets. “Although wild and crazy, oddly enough the show is appropriate, and fun, for both adults and children.”

If you’re looking for something unique to do with your kids during the Holidays, Pong Pong’s Pint-size Puppet Museum is open Thursdays through Sundays through December 29 – and admission is free.

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