A Kite’s Tale: Blair Thomas & Company’s musical puppetry fantasy for young audiences ages 3-10

A Kite’s Tale, created by Chicago’s Blair Thomas & Company is the story of a little girl who sets out to fly her kite and takes a magical journey through her own imagination.  Employing hand puppets, bunraku puppets and giant costumed characters, this wordless narrative is accompanied by a live performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, performed on solo piano by Kathryn Goodson.

The performance will take place at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave. in Detroit, on Saturday and Sunday May 12 and 13, 2012 at 2pm as part of Family Sundays at Rivera Court. The event is free with museum admission (which is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for youth ages 6-17). For more information, call 313-833-7900.

This delightful 40 minute long family show has been seen at venues such as Sherwood Conservatory of Music, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park in Chicago, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Music Institute of Chicago, and at the National Puppetry Festival, in Atlanta.

A Kite’s Tale was conceived, directed and designed by Blair Thomas. The story is by Blair Thomas in collaboration with the puppeteers: Sam Deutsch, Sarah Fornace, Dan Kerr-Hobert, and Julia Miller.

Blair Thomas & Company is a Chicago-based company that creates and performs contemporary puppetry and visual theater locally, nationally, and internationally. They are dedicated to the art of the puppet and its relationship to live music as an expressive form, in addition to the art as a spectacle form. They create unique, artistic experiences that are vital to the cultural life of Chicago and influential to the field of contemporary performance nationally and internationally. BT&C have twice received the UNIMA award for excellence in puppetry, and Mr. Thomas was also the first artist to be awarded the Jim Henson Artist-In-Residence position at the University of Maryland. Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune says: “very few cities have a native theater company such as Blair Thomas and Company, where visual delicacy and an open heart are at the core of the art.”

Pianist Kathryn Goodson is an international performer, teacher and coach, and has appeared in recital throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan with leading wind instrumental and vocal artists. At the University of Michigan School of Music in Ann Arbor since 2005 she has served as collaborative pianist-coach; in 2008 her position expanded to include musical direction for Robert Swedberg’s opera studio. Recordings of Goodson’s work include Barn Burner and Melodrama (Albany) with Randall Hawes, Voices of the Holocaust (Block M-University of Michigan) with Caroline Helton, In Transit (Innova) with saxophonist Timothy McAllister, as well as international radio and television broadcasts. At schools such as Stanford University, the Conservatoire de Genève and the Musashino Music School in Tokyo, Goodson has taught classes in solo and collaborative repertoire, returning often to the Karlsruhe Music School in Germany to teach American Art Song. Educational outreach also involves concerto soloist appearances for Detroit Symphony Orchestra youth concerts, and, since 2005, musical coordination of a children’s series for the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. As artistic director Goodson has served in Stuttgart for the Internationale-Hugo-Wolf-Akademie, in Ann Arbor for two Charles Ives festivals with the Phoenix Ensemble and currently for Concerts4aCause of Northside Community Church. Goodson received a doctorate and master of collaborative piano with Martin Katz at the University of Michigan, studying also with Eckart Sellheim. As a Fulbright Scholar to Germany 1992-1994, she received the Konzertexam in Art Song with highest honors with Hartmut Höll at the Karlsruhe Music School. Her bachelor of music in piano performance was earned with Robert Shannon at Oberlin Conservatory.