Thursday, April 28, 2011

Luna's Cast: Felicia Brown

Felicia Brown (puppeteer, understudy for The Moon) makes her debut to the Cornerstone Productions stage in Luna’s Sea. She received her B.A. at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She had the pleasure of teaching theatre at the Carmel Academy of Performing Arts in Carmel, CA. Among some of her favorite performances were in: West Side Story (Shark Girl), La Cage Aux Folles (Paulette), Oliver! (Charlotte), Seussical the Musical (Bird Girl), Into the Woods (Ensemble) and Jesus Christ Superstar (Ensemble). Felicia is an immensely proud Mama of her baby-girl Isabella. She would like to thank her amazing Sailor for his overwhelming support.

"I am excited about the collaboration with the creators. They are really open to listening to the actors and what they bring to it. And I'm amazed at the creativity everyone brings to it. It's a small cast and we've just come together so quickly."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

learning to dance

Luna (in real life, Irish step dancer Kaitlyn Kuvalanka) is taught a new movement from each animal she meets, until the finale when she's learned enough to dance a stunning duet with the Moon, her guide, and extraordinary dancer Christine Poland. Watching these two together is amazing.


By popular request, here is the octopus at dress rehearsal. He is quite the puppet, needing all 5 of our puppeteers to operate. Here, even though not quite finished (his head seems to be missing!) he's still a formidable threat, until Luna finds the courage to dance with him, resulting in probably one of the very few octopus tangos ever put on stage!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

3-2-1 liftoff!

Luna is up and running with our first preview show getting a great response yesterday! And we haven't even put in all the puppets and effects we'll have by our April 30th opening. Here are some photos from dress rehearsal on Thursday night.

Friday, April 15, 2011

almost time!

It was dress rehearsal last night! Finally, everyone was in costumes, the lighting was set, the puppets (mostly!) finished, and we ran through the show many times without stopping. There is still so much to do before our first preview tomorrow night, puppets need adjustments, sets still need last minute paint, but we will make it! More photos tonight!

Monday, April 11, 2011


..there are still puppets to finish! There are SO MANY puppets in this show! Little Luna gets a costume, Pete the penguin getting painted, a sea lion face emerges, and a pile of sting rays.

Luna's Cast: Keely Baisden Knudsen

Keely joined us this week as the voice of the Moon, who guides Luna on her journey through the Sea with poetry and magic. She came to the Cornerstone studio to record dialogue with director Karl Gasteyer, who mixed her beautiful voice into our soundtrack. We've worked with Keely on many other shows for many years, at the Elm Shakespeare Company and Cornerstone Playhouse. We're so glad to have her on board for Luna!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Luna's cast: Weston Long

Weston Long (puppeteer) is a student at Waterford High School. He has been acting in community theater and school productions since age 5, but he is ecstatic to perform in a show where he can showcase his love and talent for puppetry as well. He has been "puppeting" since age 5 as well and wishes to pursue it and theater as a career as an adult. He has been personally mentored in the craft by Caroll Spinney (Big Bird on Sesame Street) and John Tartaglia (Avenue Q and ImaginOcean). Weston actively participates in his high school drama department WATERFORDrama with his most recent roles including Joe in The Pajama Game and Various Male Characters in A Piece of My Heart. He would like to thank Linda, Karl, Tashia, and the cast for making this another experience to remember! Enjoy the show!

"I actually want to go into puppetry as a career, and this is a different style than I'm used to. We went to the Aquarium and projected the image of the animals through the puppet. I hadn't been exposed to that before. That will help bring the sea to life on the stage, and also through dance. Doing puppets you also have to use a lot of arm strength, which I don't think people realize. People usually think of puppets as things like the Muppets or things with exaggerated features. People who come will be surprised at how life like these are. I think knowing puppetry is a great skill."


Photos from todays rehearsal. New this weekend: lighting! And our first run through of our finale with the carnival of the animals. Seahorse, sting ray, jellyfish, sea lion, and penguin, dancing in harmony.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Luna's cast: Kaitlyn Kuvalanka

Kaitlyn Kuvalanka (Luna) is a sophomore at East Lyme High School. She is a champion level Irish Step dancer who has competed in Ireland, and the 2010 North American Irish Dance Championships in Orlando, FL. You may remember Kaitlyn in St. Paddy’s Day Hooley, Shamrocked, Ben Dover and the American Dream, Star Spangled, and Shenanigan Street, in which Kaitlyn choreographed the step dancing numbers. When Kaitlyn is not performing, you will find her on a track field pole vaulting and throwing javelin. She wishes to thank her Cornerstone family, but especially Karl and Tashia, for their support on and off the stage. Lastly, Kaitlyn wishes to express her gratitude and love for her big brother who is there for her each and every day. (I love you, Nicholas. Don’t go!)

Kaitlyn as Luna in rehearsal with the seahorses.

Luna's creators: Tashia Levy

Tashia Levy (stage manager, voice over, all-around awesomeness!) has worked with Cornerstone Playhouse either on or behind the stage for the past three seasons and it has been quite the journey! She has been the Stage Manager for six amazing shows and part of the cast for eight. Some of her favorite roles at Cornerstone have been Benita “Ben” Dover in Ben Dover and the American Dream, Violet in Cratchit’s Christmas and a dreadful Alien in Fly Me to the Moon. Growing up in New London, CT she is very excited to see young talented performers being able to do what they love right in their own backyard and is honored to be a part of it. Starting out in good ol’ community theater some of her favorite roles were Pam in The Replacement, Vera in The Odd Couple: Female Version and Crystal Flakes in The One and Only Santa Claus. She would like to thank her parents who she loves more than all the words, in all the scripts, in the entire world! To her AMAZING family who has cheered her on every step of the way. To C&S who watch over her everyday and make everything possible.

Tashia graciously filling in as seaweed at last week's rehearsal!

puppet recycling

Most of the time Luna is played by Kaitlyn, a real person. But sometimes she is a puppet. Here is puppet Luna being pieced together out of 3 sheets of board, made so that her arms and legs can move while she swims in the sea. Using discarded materials as much as possible is important to this puppet company, as we think there are more then enough good materials thrown out to make a million puppet shows. More puppets, less waste! Below, Judy paints stripes on the puppet theater made from a rescued cardboard box, while Tula the dog watches on wishing she could be in the show!

the wind on the water

From rehearsal, just before the wind picks up Luna and the puppet theater and sends them out to sea...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

brand new puppets

Photos from todays rehearsal with some new puppet prototypes being experimented with: seahorses, sea lions, and a giant tango dancing octopus! In 2 weeks these puppet skeletons will be reworked, rebuilt, repainted, re-choreographed, re-practiced until they are are the perfect dance partners for our puppeteers. A lot of work! Phew!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

puppets in the house!

Puppet building has taken over, they are growing all over the place! Penguins in the dining room, jellyfish in the living room, seaweed in the bathroom, puppet theater in the kitchen... and paint paint paint everywhere!

Linda recommends wearing gloves when you dye seaweed- her hands have been green for three days!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Luna's preview in 2 weeks!

We are setting the lights, rehearsing our dance steps, and painting the great big sea that's taking over the Cornerstone Playhouse stage in Olde Mystick Village, because our first preview show is on April 16th! Follow Luna over to the Mystic Aquarium's website here for information about tickets.