“Puppet Up! – Uncensored,” which is set to debut in its new home inside The Sands Showroom at The Venetian® Las Vegas on July 21, has just unveiled its lineup of expert puppeteers ready to bring their irreverent and unpredictable style of comedy to the Las Vegas Strip.
The revolving cast of six world-class puppeteers, all hand selected by Brian Henson, are tasked with bringing to life more than 60 unruly puppets nightly, playing out outrageous scripted scenes and laugh-out-loud improv. Coming from a wide variety of backgrounds including legendary theatres and schools such as The Groundlings, these puppeteers are not only experts in the art of comedy but have also mastered the one-of-kind technique and creativity that is a Henson trademark.
“Our cast is six hilarious improv comedians who are also wildly skilled Henson puppeteers. A rare combination of talents,” said Patrick Bristow, host and director of “Puppet Up! – Uncensored.” “I love that I get to go out there every night and watch them amaze and delight the audience. Half my job is just to shape their delicious insanity into a great show. The other half my job is basically getting to enjoy them just like the audience.”
The first set of puppeteers to grace the Las Vegas stage include:
Grant Baciocco –
Grant Baciocco joined The Jim Henson Company as the creator and host of the Henson.com
Podcast. In addition to performing with Henson and “Puppet Up!,” his puppet credits include work with The Muppets, Nerdist and the current incarnation of “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” where he puppeteers Crow T. Robot. He is also the creator of several podcasts including The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, The Country Bear Collector Show, Attraction Checklist and The Uncle Interloper Showand can often be seen as a ringside interviewer for Championship Wrestling from Hollywood.
Tyler Bunch – has been working as an actor/puppeteer in the New York City area for 22 years. In addition to performing such characters as Parris in “The Crucible,” Bottom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Pooh Bah in “The Mikado,” he may also be recognized by youngsters (or the young at heart) for his performances as Pop, Treelo and Doc Hogg (“Bear in the Big Blue House”), or Grampu, Dr. Nitwhite, Winslow and Elmo’s father “Louie” (“OOBI,” “Between The Lions,” “It’s a Big, Big World,” “Sesame Street”). Recently Bunch made his big screen debut in the romantic comedy “Finding Joy,” and you can soon binge his work as Hugo in Henson’s series for Netflix: “Julie’s Greenroom.”
Peggy Etra – has performed with “Puppet Up!” for the last seven years. Her travels with the “Puppet Up!” have taken her from Los Angeles to the Bonnaroo Festival to the Sydney Opera House and now Las Vegas. She is a graduate of ACT in San Francisco and The Groundlings. Her film credits include “State of Play” and “Driving Lessons.” Her TV credits include “Seinfeld” and “Boston Legal.” She is sleeping with the musical director. It’s OK, they’re married!
Ted Michaels – The career of Ted Michaels, much like his brain, is all over the place. As a puppeteer, he’s performed in “No You Shut Up!” on Fusion Television, “The Muppets” on ABC, MTV’s “Warren The Ape,” and the 2011 GRAMMY Awards. As an improviser, Michaels is a founder of the Crazy Uncle Joe Show at The Groundlings Theater in LA, where he was a main company member. He’s also starred with Eddie Izzard in his One Word Improv.As an actor, he most recently starred in the acclaimed web series, “The Guild.” He’s written for Mike Tyson “Mysteries” on Adult Swim and Bucket & Skinner’s Epic Adventures on Nickelodeon. Look for the independent film he wrote and directed, “Tangoborn Menclenty,” at a 2016/2017 film festival near you. Given all that, he’d really love to be a reclusive novelist somewhere in southeast Asia, which he is also working on.
Michael Oosterom – Stage credits include the American Conservatory Theater, The California Shakespeare Festival, The Wilma Theater, The San Francisco Mime Troupe and the national tour of Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” He can be seen in the improvised political feature film “Janeane From Des Moines” and the award-winning short “Comedy Jam!” Puppetry credits include “The Muppets,” the new “Sigmund And The Sea Monsters,” “No YOU Shut Up!,” Jim Henson’s “Creature Shop Challenge,” “Where The Wild Things Are,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Pushing Daisies,” “A.N.T. Farm” and the GRAMMY Awards. He is an alumnus of The Groundlings Sunday Company.
Colleen Smith is a Groundlings Sunday Company alum and teaches there. Her television credits include “The Office,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Selfie,” “Neighbors,” “King of the Hill” and “The Showbiz Show with David Spade.” She is the co-director and star of “Teen Witch the Musical!,” a staged version of the 80s cult classic, and of “The Smith Brown Project,” a two woman show which ran at The Comedy Central Stage, UCB and The Groundlings. Most recently she wrote, directed and starred in “The Naut” a post apocalyptic grindhouse parody. She created and co-hosts a podcast called My First Time. She also works for the Jim Henson Co. as a puppeteer/improvisor on “No, You Shut Up!” She has been with “Puppet Up!” for years and has performed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York (Drama Desk Award Nominee) the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Australia and now Las Vegas.
Tickets, on sale now, may be purchased at any box office at The Venetian or The Palazzo, online at Ticketmaster.com or Venetian.com/Puppet-Up
or by calling (702) 414-9000 or (866) 641-7469. For groups of 10 or more, please call (866) 633-0195 or (702) 785-5394.
For more information about “Puppet Up! – Uncensored” please visit www.puppetup.com
About BASE Entertainment
BASE Entertainment develops, produces, and manages intellectual properties and venues for live entertainment in North America and internationally from offices in New York, Houston, Las Vegas, and Singapore. In addition to Puppet Up, BASE’s current productions in Las Vegas include Mat Franco – Magic Reinvented Nightly at the Linq, Absinthe at Caesars Palace, Paul Zerdin: Mouthing Off and Frankie Moreno – Under The Influence at Planet Hollywood, Rock of Ages at The Rio, Jersey Boys at Paris, and Million Dollar Quartet at Harrah’s. In addition, BASE operates the Showroom at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and the theaters at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. BASE also produces museum quality touring and residency exhibitions including Sea Monsters Revealed and Battle for Texas: The Experience. BASE Entertainment’s founders and partners include industry veterans Brian Becker and Scott Zeiger, and Beverly Hills-based private equity firm Clarity Partners. For more information please visit www.BASEentertainment.com.
About Henson Alternative
Henson Alternative is The Jim Henson Company’s label for content created specifically and exclusively for adult audiences. In 1955, Jim Henson’s first television production “Sam & Friends” appeared on late-night television as a lead in to “The Tonight Show,” establishing a standard in the Company’s work for irreverent, creative comedy projects that spoke to adults. Appearances on “The Jimmy Dean Show,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and “Saturday Night Live,” as well as numerous short films for clients like IBM and AT&T, proved that Henson puppetry was not limited to children. Today, Henson Alternative continues to produce and develop projects for this audience. Credits include “No, You Shut Up!,” currently airing on Fusion, “Neil’s Puppet Dreams” (Nerdist), “Tinseltown” (Logo), “Puppet Up! – Uncensored” (a live puppet improvisational show named one of the top 10 “Best Stage Shows” by Entertainment Weekly), and the upcoming feature film “Happytime Murders” currently in development with STX Entertainment. (www.hensonalternative.com)
About Norton Herrick
(Producer/Financier) is Chairman of The Herrick Company, Inc., with income property transactions, “Green” Power Plants and hospitals totaling over $5 Billion. Its Herrick Entertainment division, a motion picture, theatrical production, television and financing company’s theatrical production credits include the new to Broadway musical, Waitress starring Jessie Mueller; Hair The Musical and Pippin both Tony Award winners for Best Musical Revival; the Las Vegas show Hairspray; the theater adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings; and the Broadway revival of American Buffalo. Mr. Herrick also produced the Broadway revivals of Exit The King, starring Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon; Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under The Elms; and Promises, Promises, starring Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes. Mr. Herrick also produced Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5: The Musical; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; West Side Story; and Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. Herrick Entertainment’s film lineup includes Oscar & SAG nominated and Critic’s Choice Best Picture and Best Actor Award winner, action-thriller Lone Survivor, starring Mark Wahlberg; 2 Guns, starring Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington; Very Good Girls, a coming-of-age film starring Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen and Demi Moore; horror-thriller Nightlight; and recently released Precious Cargo, starring Bruce Willis. Past film credits include The Devil’s Double, Vanishing on 7th Street, My One and Only, and The Moth Diaries. His partnership in Thoroughbred horses won the Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and the $10,000,000 World Cup in Dubai in 2013. Mr. Herrick is a longtime supporter of progressive and humanitarian causes. He has served on the Boards of People for the American Way and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Mr. Herrick is also the recipient, along with President Ronald Reagan and Isaac Stern, of the Jerusalem 3000 Award, presented by Prime Minister Shimon Peres and most recently the recipient, along with Michael J. Fox and Billy Cypress, of the President’s Medal from the University of Miami presented by its President, Donna Shalala and the Guardian Award from the Hebrew University Jerusalem. www.theherrickcompany.com
About WestBeth Entertainment
WestBeth Entertainment has consistently delivered critically acclaimed, financially successful, groundbreaking productions and performances for over 30 years. WestBeth’s ability to meld creative vision with financial and production savvy has created a unique company out of making artists’ and audience’s dreams come true.
From Billy Connolly to Eddie Izzard, and The Jim Henson Company to John Leguizamo, WBE has been the creative catalyst, partner and producer of some of the most innovative performances and productions on the continent in venues throughout North America including Madison Square Garden, The Hollywood Bowl, Toronto’s Massey Hall, Chicago’s Chicago Theatre and even New York’s Radio City Musical Hall.
With entertainment and audience enjoyment being a key element, our most recent productions include: Eddie Izzard’s 67 city Force Majeure American Tour; Billy Connolly’s High Horse tour of Canada, the off-Broadway run of comedian Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime; Eric Idle’s What About Dick at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles; John Leguizamo’s Ghetto Klown on Broadway, the West End, and Colombia, South America; and the national tour, Off-Broadway, Australia tour and Edinburgh Fringe Festival runs of The Jim Henson Company’s Puppet Up, Uncensored!
About SPI Entertainment
SPI Entertainment, helmed by award winning Producer Adam Steck is a leading Production Company & Talent Agency with six successful resident shows in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas, and several shows touring internationally. With a successful track record of building entertainment brands and partnering with world-class entertainers, SPI has become the preeminent Theatrical Producer & Talent Agency in Las Vegas and beyond. In addition to Puppet Up! SPI’s other current Las Vegas Productions include Human Nature – Jukebox at the Venetian, Boyz II Men at the Mirage, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth at MGM Grand, Australia’s Thunder From Down Under at Excalibur, Divas – Starring Frank Marino at the Linq and The Australian Bee Gees Show at Excalibur. www.SPIentertainment.com
About The Venetian® Las Vegas
Located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, The Venetian Las Vegas features all-suite accommodations, exquisite restaurants by celebrity chefs and world-class entertainment and shopping. The luxury resort offers 4,028 elegant suites, including standard suites that are nearly double the size of the average Las Vegas hotel room. The Venetian is home to restaurants from celebrated chefs including Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Emeril Lagasse and Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro. The resort also features Canyon Ranch SpaClub; a five-acre pool and garden deck; TAO nightclub; the Grand Canal Shoppes retail and dining mecca; a 120,000-square-foot casino and The Strip’s largest poker room; and more than 2.25 million square feet of meeting and convention space. For more information, visit venetian.com
. The Venetian Las Vegas is a property of global integrated resorts developer Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS).