Bill’s 44th promo
2021/2022 Tour Dates
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“’Bill’s 44th’ plunges its audience fully into a fantasy that, for all its silliness, leads its hero through stubborn hope and bitter disappointment toward a feeling of comfort in his own skin and an awakening to the world around him.”
– Laura Collins-Hughes, Critics Pick, The New York Times
“Shrewdly designed and delightfully staged…”
“This is one party you will not want to miss!”
– Hi! Drama
The streamers are hung, the punch has been spiked, and the cake is just begging to be eaten! Now all Bill has to do is wait for his guests to arrive. Bill’s 44th is an original comedic show created by puppeteers Dorothy James & Andy Manjuck to create one very worried leading man – Bill. Many styles of puppetry, raucous balloons, and a cheeky piece of crudité all collide to examine the pitfalls of impatience, the wonder of loneliness, and the universal passage of time.
Bill’s 44th is a full-length (55 minutes) show for adults, touring with 5 people in total.
Bill’s 44th was originally conceived in 2016 as a 5 minute slam-piece for Puppet Homecomings. The prompt: “They are coming,” inspired us to throw a birthday party where no one ever comes. But then, due to scheduling conflicts, we weren’t able to attend the slam and we stuffed Bill’s head (lovingly) into a box on a shelf.
Two years later we were asked by our friend Rowan Magee, who was curating one of the nights for Dixon Place’s Puppet Blok, if we wanted to revisit the idea. We did, and (10 minutes of) Bill was born! What followed next was a whirlwind that culminated in a 20 minute workshop at Dixon Place in 2019, where we shared the bill with the ingenious Shayna Strype, applying and receiving a Production Grant from The Jim Henson Foundation, planning a workshop performance at the New York State Puppet Festival, being a part of Puppet Lab at St. Ann’s Warehouse, and readying for a premiere at Dixon Place in 2020!
Of course, things changed. While many of our ideas came to a screeching halt, Bill’s journey continued. Thanks to the New York State Puppet Festival in October of 2020 we were able to create Bill’s 44th (A Zoom Birthday), a 30 minute ‘zoom’ show performed live in our apartment. And finally, in June of 2021, Bill found his way to his premiere at Dixon Place as part of a puppetry series alongside artists Shayna Strype, Justin Perkins, and Maria Camia.
Bill’s 44th would like to thank The Jim Henson Foundation, Cheryl Henson, St. Ann’s Warehouse, the New York State Puppet Festival, and Dixon Place, without their support the show would simply not exist.
Co-creator & Puppeteer, Andy Manjuck is a Brooklyn-based puppeteer, director, and voiceover artist. Recent work: Puppetry: Chimpanzee (Nick Lehane); The Plastic Bag Store; The Pigeoning (Robin Frohardt); Made in China; Baby Universe; Saga (Wakka Wakka); UAE 48th National Day (Betty Productions) Petrushka (NY Philharmonic Orchestra, Giants Are Small), VO: Adam Ruins Everything (TruTV); Unavowed (Wadjet Eye Games); Whispers of a Machine (Clifftop Games); MooseTube (GoNoodle). Upcoming: this fall Nine Years to Neptune, a new puppet television show, premieres on BYUtv. Saturday nights, Andy is an intern on the Late Night Puppet Talk Show with Special Guest, a 100% live, 100% improvised puppet catastrophe on Saturday nights at 10pm on twitch.tv/talkpuppet2me. For more on Andy, visit www.andymanjuck.com and find him on Instagram @andymanjuck.
Co-creator & Puppeteer, Dorothy James is a Brooklyn-based puppeteer, educator, and maker of tiny things. She’s performed with Basil Twist (Hansel & Gretel, Michigan Opera Theatre), Wakka Wakka (Made In China, The Immortal Jellyfish Girl), the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (Petrushka, Giants Are Small), the Rockettes (The New York Spectacular, Radio City), and is a puppeteer for the new children’s series Moon and Me (BBC, Andrew Davenport). Her work has also been seen at the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, the Jim Henson Carriage House, St. Ann’s Warehouse, 59E59, Dixon Place, La MaMa, and overseas in Norway and the Czech Republic. Dorothy is co-creator/intern of the Late Night Puppet Talk Show With Special Guest, a 100% live, 100% improvised puppet catastrophe on twitch.tv/talkpuppet2me. For more on Dorothy, visit www.dorothy-james.com and find her on Instagram @instadeej.