‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ still awes kids at the Puppet Co.

In the age of tiny electronic devices for small fingers, the company celebrates its 40th year of 'inspiring a new generation of puppet enthusiasts.'

All the major players are on the scene in Jack and the Beanstalk now playing at the Puppet Co.—Jack, his patient mom, precious cow Penelope, etc. What amps up the fun in this retelling are the goofy asides in the script and an unexpected friendship that shows Jack’s true caring nature.

In the opening sequences, you couldn’t tell Jack had a caring bone in his body for anyone but himself. Jack’s tendency to laze around is tolerated by his mother, who goes out of her way to indulge him. She completes all the chores while Jack daydreams about being rich. His encounter with a strange old man changes everything as Jack is swindled out of getting decent money for the cow. One example of his gullibility is when he nearly falls for the old man’s insistence that Jack is invisible when covered in a make-believe cloak. Even the littlest tots in the audience could see through that one.

Scene from ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’ Photo by Christopher Piper.

Jack proceeds along his way with the beans, and skillful projections help portray different settings. The beanstalk sprouting into the ceiling got its share of ooohs and ahhs, and his climbing as a rod puppet was an accomplishment that looked easier than it was. Once the giant entered in a huge ghoulish mask, a hush spread over the audience and even talkative kiddies stopped fidgeting as we watched in awe. The story became endearing as Jack befriended a young girl who was kept in servitude by the giant. Getting her to safety became as important to him as the riches.

Scene from ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’ Photo by Christopher Piper.

Having seen an earlier production of Jack with the early Puppet Co. founders Christopher Piper and Allan Stevens before they retired, I wondered how the next generation of puppeteers and audiences would fare. Judging from the Puppet Co.’s successful seasons and the work of Mollie Greenberg and Lee Gerstenhaber for this production, the company continues to be in good hands. In the age of tiny electronic devices for small fingers, youngsters are still awed by a thundering giant in a huge head mask, and they seem to appreciate a puppet’s quest to seek his destiny while learning to care. Celebrating their 40th-anniversary season, that’s a neat tribute to Puppet Co and aligns with their own quest of “inspiring a new generation of puppet enthusiasts.”

Running Time: Approximately 55 minutes.

Jack and the Beanstalk plays through May 21, 2023 — Thursdays and Fridays at 10:30 am, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 am & 1 pm — presented by the Puppet Co. performing at Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Boulevard, Glen Echo, MD. For information call 301.634.5380 or email [email protected] Tickets are $15 per person and may be purchased online (under age 2 no ticket is required, but call the Box Office to reserve a free ticket).

Recommended ages 4+.

​​COVID Safety: Masks are strongly encouraged for everyone over the age of 2. Masks are required for performances from May 12 to 14.

Jack and the Beanstalk
Directed by Danny Pushkin
Featuring: Mollie Greenberg and Lee Gerstenhaber


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