By Bob Evans
The Coterie presents
Mesner Puppet Theater World Premiere
in All Masked, Socially Distanced,
Live Performance with
Online Streaming Option Available
How to Snag a Sea Monster:
A Terrifically Tall Tale
A Terrifically Tall Tale
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
Press / Opening Night: Friday, April 30, at 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Coterie Theatre, Level one of Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO
PRICE: $12.00 for youth under 18, students, & seniors 60 & older; $15.00 for adults;
Online streaming begins at $20.00 for small households
INFO / TICKETS: www.thecoterie.org
Kansas City, MO – 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. An adaptation of the endearing American folktales of Stormy Stormalong, How to Snag a Sea Monster will perform for families with ages five and older live on The Coterie’s stage in Crown Center, April 30 – May 30, 2021, with the streaming version available for families and virtual school field trips beginning May 5, 2021.
ABOUT THE PLAY
In How to Snag a Sea Monster: A Terrifically Tall Tale, after a monstrous wave washes a creature ashore, the people of a small Cape Cod town hear it wailing. What they initially fear might be a sea monster, turns out to be a baby as big as a house. The village adopts the giant baby, whom they name Stormalong, or ‘Stormy’ for short, but growing to over 24 feet, Stormy struggles to fit in, and eventually chooses a life at sea aboard a clipper ship to find a place in the world. Meanwhile, when a bullying sea monster, the colossal kraken, does come to torment the village… only Stormy is big enough to save them all.
“When I was thinking about our first show back on stage,” says Jeff Church, The Coterie’s Producing Artistic Director, “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! The show is lighthearted, silly even, that’s where the magic comes from… through playfulness we are able to look at our world with fresh eyes allowing us to reflect on our experiences and connect with our community. We are excited about our partnership with The Coterie that is supporting us in launching this new show. We can’t wait to be in front of a live audience again!”
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. The Coterie is funded in part by Missouri Arts Council, ArtsKC Fund, Theater League, and Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund.
WATCH LIVE OR VIRTUALLY
How to Snag a Sea Monster: A Terrifically Tall Tale will be performed live at The Coterie Theatre in Crown Center. If ticket holders are unable to attend in person, the performance will be available to stream at home at no additional cost. Patrons may indicate their choice to view virtually when purchasing tickets or by contacting The Coterie’s box office to make arrangements prior to their selected performance date. How to Snag a Sea Monster is also available to educators as an in person or virtual field trip for K – 4th grades. Educators should contact The Coterie box office to discuss booking details or visit www.thecoterie.org for more information.
For those attending in person, masks and social distancing are required of all staff, performers, and patrons, including children of any age. Patrons whose accompanying children are unable to wear a mask – or whose children are two years or younger and cannot wear a mask for safety reasons – should choose the virtual option when purchasing. In person attendance is limited to 100 people, or one-third of The Coterie’s normal capacity. All dialogue in How to Snag a Sea Monster will be voiced by a mic’d, masked, vaccinated puppeteer. The Coterie’s theater HVAC system has been optimized to exceed ASHRAE air change recommendations and the theater will receive a complete surface disinfection after every performance. Detailed information about safety and ticketing information for patrons is available at www.thecoterie.org.
How to Snag a Sea Monster: A Terrifically Tall Tale is a ticketless, socially distanced event for families with ages five and older. Families who would like to view the performance at home virtually should indicate their preference at check out. If attending live, admission to How to Snag a Sea Monster is $12.00 for youth under 18, students, & seniors 60 and older; and $15.00 for adults. Online streaming begins at $20.00 for small households. Purchase admission through The Coterie’s box office at 816.474.6552 or www.thecoterie.org.
Unlike past Coterie productions, seating is not General Admission. Instead, socially distanced seating pods will be assigned so patrons are asked not to congregate in The Coterie lobby prior to the show. The theater will open for seating 30 minutes prior to the performance.
The Coterie Theatre was designated by TIME magazine in the top three theaters for young audiences in Nov. 2004, calling it “groundbreaking… one of the nation’s most respected.” The Coterie, located in Kansas City, Missouri, has been at the forefront of commissioning new works or adaptations that contribute to the field of theatre for young audiences. More than 50 world or American premieres for all ages have been produced by The Coterie over the last 30 years, during Artistic Director Jeff Church’s tenure, including hosting multiple major Broadway composers and lyricists to shape quality musicals for youth and families. The Coterie is interested in intergenerational conversation, and consistently includes teen programming in its season and outreach efforts. The Coterie’s community programming redefines traditional notions of work for young audiences with its unique dramatic writing programs, teen LGBTQ work, as well as its AIDS/STD education/prevention program, free of charge to 8,000 teens per year, overseen by Executive Director Joette Pelster and a dedicated staff. All these components serve an average of 80,000 per year through over 350 performances. The Coterie Theatre School has drama class locations throughout greater Kansas City. Donate at www.thecoterie.org.
MESNER PUPPET THEATER
Internationally recognized puppeteer, Paul Mesner, established Mesner Puppet Theater (MPT) in 1987 to provide, “Innovative storytelling that captures children’s imagination and inspires communities.” Over the past 3 decades, the organization has captivated nearly two million people through their productions and educational programming. Audiences delight in the craftsmanship of the puppets, which range from glove puppets to marionettes, to innovative shadow and object based puppetry. MPT holds the distinction of receiving three Union Internationale de la Marionette (UNIMA-USA) Citations of Excellence, which was created by Jim Henson to promote high quality puppetry in the United States and is considered the “Academy Award” of puppetry. MPT uses humor and heart to present stories that connect to the complex social-emotional experiences of our young audience. Each year the company engages more than 30,000 young people and adults in its programs. The organization is currently led by Producing Artistic Director, Meghann Henry; Mike Horner, Director of Puppetry Arts; and Alex Espy, Director of Education. This team’s knowledge and experience in theatre for young audiences, puppetry, and arts integration is ensuring MPT’s history of excellence will continue while they evolve to meet and inspire today’s audiences. Find out more at www.mesnerpuppets.org.