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Bob Baker's Celebration and Preservation Extravaganza

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The Bob Baker Marionette Theater and The Academy of Puppetry & Allied Arts will present “Bob Baker’s Celebration & Preservation Extravaganza,” on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Downtown Los Angeles.The event has been created to guarantee a future for The Bob Baker Marionette Theater.

This event kicks off the non-profit Academy of Puppetry and Allied Art’s fund-raising campaign to raise $2 million to adopt Bob’s puppet family and help build a future for the marionette theater, with the addition of a museum and school for puppetry arts.


Charles Phoenix, a Los Angeles performer, humorist and self-proclaimed “retro daddy,” will be the Master of Ceremonies.


“Bob Baker’s Celebration & Preservation Extravaganza” will be held in the historic marionette theater with a special video tribute to Bob Baker followed by a musical revue featuring the most popular numbers and marionettes from Baker’s repertoire, including clowns, skating Eskimos, and dancing mice, along with a sneak preview of the theater’s latest show in development, “The Arabian Nights.”

Following the performance, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy food and drink and meet Bob Baker and hear Hollywood puppet-lore in the theater’s famous party room.  The fundraiser will feature a silent auction of rare marionettes, theater memorabilia and amazing one-of-a-kind items.

Jennifer Steinhauer of The New York Times has described Baker’s shows as “a staple of a Los Angeleno childhood. It is the cultural equivalent of the annual march by the nation’s third graders to the neighborhood firehouse.”

Regarding the current state of affairs at the theatre, Bob Baker says, “I am hoping this fundrasier will raise public awareness and enough money to keep the theater in business.”

About the Academy of Puppetry and Allied Arts

Bob Baker’s dream of expanding his theater to include a museum, library and school of puppetry arts began with the formation of the Academy of Puppetry and Allied Arts, a non-profit organization.  The Academy’s mission is to educate the public about puppet arts and to encourage and foster puppetry presentations.  The Academy of Puppetry provides funding to subsidize tickets for students from local area schools to attend performances at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater and distributes literacy and language development resources that bring the experiences at the theater back to the classroom.

The Academy of Puppetry provides students and teachers in the Los Angeles area the opportunity to attend puppetry presentations and learn about the integration of puppetry arts with language arts, music, art, sculpture and crafts. The program also fulfills the Academy of Puppetry and Allied Arts’ mission of preserving puppetry arts and creative live entertainment for future generations of children and adults.  The Academy of Puppetry is raising funds to achieve Bob Baker’s goal of a refurbished theater complex complete with training facilities.  Bob knows that, with the aid of civic leaders, corporate sponsors, and the community, the Academy of Puppetry will establish its home in buildings adjacent to the historic marionette theater.

About the Bob Baker Marionette Theater

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater in downtown Los Angeles is the oldest of its kind in the United States and has been a staple for children and families in Los Angeles since its inception in 1960. At that time, Bob Baker and his business partner Alton Wood turned a scene shop in Los Angeles into the family entertainment landmark that it is today.

The theater has an inventory of nearly three thousand puppets with just about everything from robots that light up, to dancing frogs, to egg laying chickens. Baker’s marionettes have entertained nearly seven hundred thousand people since the theater’s opening.

Aside from running the theater, Baker maintains an active role in the company's traveling shows. Baker has taken his marionettes to countless fairs, puppet festivals, and of course, birthday parties.  The Bob Baker Marionettes have entertained audiences in Las Vegas, Toronto, New York, Germany, and have even performed on Navy ships and submarines.

Baker is the former president of the Los Angeles Puppet Guild and Governor of the Television Arts & Sciences Animation Branch and currently sits on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.



Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”


Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.