“Fantasy Puppet Theater” was founded by Marshall Katzman, who received his M.A. in Television and Radio production from the University of Michigan and was a Fellow at Princeton University. “Fantasy Puppet Theater” is a member of Union Internationale De La Marionette, Puppeteers of America, The Puppetry Guild of Greater New York, The Garden State Puppetry Guild and is listed in the 2nd edition of Who’s Who in Entertainment. Katzman is an Emeritus Professor of Communications at Bergen Community College, in Paramus, New Jersey.
In 1956, at the age of eight, Marshall Katzman and his puppets first appeared in Zurich, Switzerland with a backyard performance of “Sleeping Beauty”. Influenced by Russian puppeteer Sergei Obratsov as well as Frank Paris, creator of the original Howdy Doody, Larry Berthelson, creator of the Pickwick Puppet Theater and mentored by Marcel Jovine, the award-winning toy designer, sculptor and designer of coins as well as Walt Disney animator and jazz watercolorist Jim Tanaka. The Muppeteer from Sesame Street, Richard Hunt, started his career in puppetry after purchasing a collection of puppets from Katzman.
In 1965 Katzman performed a puppet production written by the world renown Sergei Obratsov at the New York World’s Fair. “Fantasy Puppet Theater” made its debut in the summer of 1973 with Rock-A-Day Johnny, a Rock and Roll puppet, performing at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The one man troupe then began a tour of the United States, which included performances for museums, nightclubs, libraries, camps, major armed forces installations including Fort Knox as well as recreation departments in Charleston, Columbus, Miami, Nashville, and San Francisco. “Fantasy Puppet Theater” has also conducted puppet workshops and performances at Appel Farm Arts & Music Center. In 1986 Marshall Katzman produced a television documentary, “Stars on Strings”: a tribute to Frank Paris the creator of the first Howdy Doody. “Stars On Strings” is available for rental from the Puppeteers of America A.V. Library. “Fantasy Puppet Theater” presented “Humpty Trumpty” as part of the 2017 La MaMa Puppet Slam currated by puppeteer and theatre artist Jane Catherine Shaw. In 2019 “The Drunk” by Sergei Obratsov, premiered at The Jim Henson Carriage House and was also performed for the 106th birthday party of Bernice Silver at The Actors Fund Home in Englewood, NJ.
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