An Interview with a Reindeer Puppet Wrangler

You know Dasher and Dancer and Comet and Cupid… but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all? That’s right it’s Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!

Last week we went to the Center for Puppetry Arts here in Atlanta to see “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”! It is a live adaptation of the beloved TV special and we loved it! There are dancing and singing snowmen, trees, raccoons, bunnies and squirrels! Oh yeah, and reindeer! There’s a snow monster, misfit toys, a lion king and last but not least Santa! What more could you want in a puppet show? It a word, it’s fabulous!

We had a chance to interview one of the talented puppeteers from the show! And man was she nice! Here’s our interview with Allison Murphy who plays Rudolph and Mrs. Claus.


Us: What’s it like playing a reindeer?

Allison: It’s fun and new, because you don’t meet many reindeer.

Us: How did you prepare to play Rudolph? Did you talk to any live reindeer?

Allison: No, I wish I had to talk to a reindeer, but they are hard to meet in Atlanta.  (Allison did tell us that she watched the TV special to get into character.)

Us: Do you play any other animals in the show?

Allison: Not usually, I sometimes play a raccoon. I do play a dancing tree too.


Us: Ellie’s favorite character in the show is of course the spotted elephant and Edmond’s is Rudolph. Who is your favorite character?

Allison: It depends on the day. I like Charlie in a Box and Sam the snowman because he’s a good storyteller.


Us: What is your favorite part of the show? We loved it when Sam the Snowman sings “Silver and Gold” and the animals decorate the tree! There were cool special effects during that part!

Allison: I like the “We’re a Couple of Misfits” song sung by Rudolph and Herbie and I like the “Silver and Gold” scene. I get to take a break during that song. (Turns out the adolescent Rudolph puppet is pretty heavy, so Allison’s arms need a brake  J!)


Us: How long does it take to prepare/rehearse for the show?

Allison: We rehearse for 4 weeks before the show, 6 days a week, 8 hours a day.  (Wow- who knew it took so much work to put on the show!)

Us: How did you get started in puppetry?

Allison: It was accidental. I grew up watching the Muppets and Fragile Rock. I never heard of the Center for Puppetry Arts. A friend who lived in Atlanta said she could get me an audition at the Center, so I came and watched a show and was amazed. I auditioned in 2006 and I got the job. (Allison grew up in Kentucky and attended the Boston Conservatory and has a masters degree in musical theater. Trust us, she can sing and act!)

Us: What advice would you a give a kid or small horse who wants to get into puppetry?

Allison: Come to puppet shows, take workshops at the Center, make puppets, put on shows at home and be creative.  (We thought these are all fun ideas!)

Us: We love that the story of Rudolph is ultimately about “misfits” finding their place in the world. Were you ever a misfit?

Allison: I have always loved music, singing and playing with puppets. The Center is my Island of Misfit Toys, I found a place to fit in here. I think all misfits eventually find their Yukon Cornelius and Herbie.  (We just love this! It’s true all misfits find their place in life! We think being a misfit is great!)

We had such a lovely time talking to Allison. She was so nice to spend some time with a little elephant and horse. After we talked to her, she even took us back stage, and man that was so exciting! We saw how things work and the scenery up close. We couldn’t take pictures, because that ruin the magic of the show! And believe us it’s magical! We did get to take some pictures with young Rudolph and Allison though!

Here we are with Rudolph! YAY!

Rudolph's red nose all lit up! It is very bright! Great for guiding Santa's sleigh!

Allison, Rudolph and us!

Here we are hanging on some snow scenery! Edmond wants to be a puppeteer now!

You can become a member at the Center!

You have to put “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” on your to do list this holiday season! They sold out all 91 shows last year and have already surpassed the number of people they had last year at this time. The last week of December the Center will have 3 shows a day! Whew, we bet our friend Allison and the rest of the puppeteers will be pooped by then! Good luck!

Here’s more info on the Center for Puppetry Arts and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”:

Categories: Animals, Atlanta, Children, education, Local | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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