Coterie premieres ‘How to Snag a Sea Monster’


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Kansas City’s premiere children’s theatre fights back against the COVID crisis of the past year by offering their newest production both live and streaming. “How to Snag a Sea Monster” continues at The Coterie Theatre on the lower level of Crown Centre.

The puppet show features the puppets of K. C.’s own Paul Mesner Puppets and with the presentation skills of puppeteer Mike Horner. With a few puppets, a limited set and props, Horner weaves his story-telling skills with a tale geared to the younger viewers. Colorful puppets keep the young fry engaged for the 50-minute show.

The show teaches the idea of inclusion and adaption to things beyond the norm. A sleepy, small town on Cape Cod needs a claim to fame to attract visitors. They do not realize the size of their hearts until a giant blue baby boy washes up on their shore after a storm. Along with the large azul-colored boy, a sea monster frequents the town, striking fear into residents.

Like the Frankenstein monster, the sea monster’s true nature remains hidden from the residents. Only the innocence of the Blue-Baby learns the heart and nature of the sea monster. Just like in fairy-tales, all live happily ever after when the residents accept the gifts they have received through the Blue Baby and the Sea Monster.

Even though this is a children’s story, “How to Snag a Sea Monster” provides teaching points that parents and teachers can employ when discussing the story. As always, The Coterie presents age appropriate materials for children of all ages.

Being aware of the COVID restrictions, a puppet show keeps the cast and crew to a minimum, and by presenting the show as both live and streaming, parents viewers can choose which format best suits their particular situation.

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As for the presentation, Mike Horner helped in the adaptation of the story; the presentation of the story; all character voices and sounds; while also changing the scenes and donning the props to tell the story. Horner creates fun voices and sounds to keep children engaged throughout.

WHAT: How to Snag a Sea Monster: A Terrifically Tall Tale
Adapted by Mike Horner and Larry Mitchell
Composed by Matt Kirby and Susan Conger
Based on the tall tales of Stormy Stormalong
WHEN: April 30 – May 30, 2021
WHERE: The Coterie Theatre, Level one of Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO
PRICE: $12 for youth under 18, students, & seniors 60 & older; $15 for adults;
Online streaming begins at $20 for small households
INFO / RESERVATIONS: The Coterie Box Office
Phone: (816) 474-6552 Online:

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This Spring, The Coterie presents Mesner Puppet Theater’s premiere production of How to Snag a Sea Monster: A Terrifically Tall Tale, an all masked, socially distanced, live show with an online streaming option available for those who are unable to attend in person.

“When I was thinking about our first show back on stage,” Jeff Church, The Coterie’s Producing Artistic Director said, “I was hoping to find a piece about community and how people can come together when faced with adversity. Along came Mesner Puppets’ insightful and charming adaptation of the Stormy Stormalong tales and it was a perfect fit.”

“Centered around a small northeastern island community, ‘How to Snag a Sea Monster’ shows how the village must adapt to change, eventually learning that if they can be open to new possibilities, they have the power to overcome truly colossal obstacles,” explains Meghann Henry, Mesner Puppet Theater’s Producing Artistic Director.

“One of the major programs at Mesner is our tour that performs for summer reading programs across the region so ‘How to Snag a Sea Monster’ is being created to tour in 2022 to align with the Summer Reading Theme of ‘Oceans of Possibilities’. We were interested in finding an American folktale that we could play with the storytelling and adapt it for the many possibilities of puppetry. Our Director of Puppetry Arts, Mike Horner, discovered the Tall Tale of Stormy Stormalong, which actually originated as a Northeastern Sea Shanty and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to develop a show that might inspire families to leave the theater singing silly sea shanties together!”

How to Snag a Sea Monster: A Terrifically Tall Tale at The Coterie will run approximately 45 minutes and is recommended for families with ages five and older.


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