Puppets Star in The Night Before Christmas

Tony Gabrielle (L) Christmas Elf (C) and James Cooper explaining how puppets work.
Tony Gabrielle (L) Christmas Elf (C) and James Cooper explaining how puppets work.

“The Night Before Christmas” is a classic Christmas poem, a wonderful tale that combines the magic of the holidays with imagination in a way that seems to touch everyone.

For good reason it has become standard fare for the season, but sometimes a little twist to the expected is good for the soul.

Rainbow Puppet Productions came to Roanoke Island Festival Park on Saturday with their puppet production of the classic Clement Moore poem and it was wonderful.

There was no doubt that this was a kid’s show, but that’s alright. The holidays, after all, are a truly special time for the young and young at heart.

The puppets are cute. The puppeteers came out from behind the curtain and talked to the kids about the puppet. There was a short break midway through where everyone sang Jingle Bells and true to the story, the puppet little boy and girl got the gift they most wanted.

There were certainly some variations on the “The Night Before Christmas” telling.

A brief vignette began the show featuring Little Red Riding Hood and BB (as in Big Bad) Wolf. BB Wolf, as it turns out, isn’t really all that bad.

Before the poem begins, the script injects a nice little message reminding children to to “reach out with love for everyone.”

The story also introduces us to all eight reindeer, giving each one it’s own personality.

The poem is narrated by Grandpa, but the voice is Mickey Rooney. Rooney had worked with the Rainbow Puppets on a number of projects before he passed away in 2014 and one of them was narrating “The Night Before Christmas.”

Rainbow Puppet Productions was a regular part of the RIFP children’s entertainment last summer, and according to staff at RIFP and members of the Rainbow Puppets they should be back again in 2017.

Hopefully—the show brought a lot of smiles, some giggles and was a great reminder of the magic of the season.

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