Swazzle Dazzle

Puppet show aims to inspire through musical tale and colorful characters

— Two twin brothers from Southern California who grew up admiring Jim Henson’s “The Muppets” are now following in his footsteps as they travel across the country with their handmade puppets.

Swazzle Puppet Theatre will perform their production of “Dream Carver” at The Egg Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m., as part of the venue’s Family Wonder series. “Dream Carver” is a bilingual musical based on the children’s book of the same name written by Diana Cohn and illustrated by Amy Cordova. The production features a variety of colorful, handcrafted puppets, including large-scale, full-body hand puppets, rod puppets and black-light puppets.


• What: “Dream Carver”

• When: Sunday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m.

• Where: The Egg Performing Arts Center, Empire State Plaza

• How much: $12

Sean and Patrick Johnson are the co-owners of Swazzle, which is a company specializing in the art of puppet making, along with being accomplished puppeteers. The twin brothers, started making sock puppets at 13 years old. Over time they participated in groups supporting puppetry, traveled to puppet festivals and even worked with Jim Henson himself.

The company has also made custom puppets for some notable performances and television shows, including 20 puppets for the off-Broadway production “The Pee Wee Herman Show” and a special episode of “The Simpsons” featuring Katy Perry. Sean Johnson also said they did a pilot for a “major cable network,” but he could not reveal any more details yet.

“The company started doing smaller productions in Southern California and would do free shows in the summer at local libraries,” Sean said.

One library would have a different theme annually for its summer performances, which spurred creating the adaptation of “Dream Carver” first on a smaller scale and now as a traveling production.

“We have worked with the publisher, author and illustrator to bring the visions to the stage,” Johnson said. “It is exciting because the author and illustrator have seen the show, and they are very supportive.”

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