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Hampton History Museum

Posted on: November 10, 2022

Virginia Heroes and Legends - Saturday, December 3, 11 am

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Virginia Heroes and Legends
An Original Musical from Rainbow Puppets 
Saturday, December 3, 11 am-12 pm, FREE
Open House - Free admission all day, 9 am-5 pm

Meet some of Virginia’s most amazing residents in Rainbow Puppet’s all-new presentation of “Virginia Heroes and Legends.”  This fast-paced production will highlight some of the people who have enriched Virginia over the years. This free fun-filled family event is at 11 am. Admission to the museum is free all day, 9 am-5 pm.

You’ll meet Pocahontas, born in Gloucester County, she became Virginia’s first ambassador to England.  You’ll hear about Ella Fitzgerald who was born in Newport News and great up to become the “Queen of Jazz.”  You’ll see Bill “Bojangles” Robinson dance once more through the use of a giant parade puppet.  Born in Richmond, he went on to become one of the most acclaimed dancers who ever lived.   When not dancing, he used his time and talents to help others throughout America.

 We will also meet two “Washingtons” who were born in Virginia.  George Washington would have been happy as a farmer.  Instead, he answered his country’s call again and again only refusing when some thought he should be king.  His vision for an elected Presidency helped shape the direction of our country.  Then there’s Booker T. Washington.  He was born and enslaved child in Hardy, Virginia.  He dreamed of one day attending school which he did…  he received his education at what is now Hampton University.  He returned there as a teacher and then went on to Tuskegee, Alabama where he created an institution that trained teachers who enriched thousands of lives across our country.

“Heroes and Legends” covers the facts and myths surrounding these famous Virginians.  It is part of Rainbow Puppet Productions’ partnership with Optima Health’s Read, Learn, Grow program.  The partnership has presented hundreds of programs in schools and libraries across the state.  In addition, it has provided over 100,000 books at no cost to each student who attends.

Show creator David Messick, Jr. has been producing and writing original shows for schools and libraries for 40 years.  For the television networks, he has helped with developmental projects for the Disney Channel, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, NBC television and others.   As a director, one of his first professional jobs (at the age of 17) was to direct Tony Award Winner Frankie Michaels in “The Apple Tree.”  Frankie is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest recipient of an acting Tony Award for “Mame” with Angela Lansbury.  David later directed movie legend Mickey Rooney and Broadway Legend Carol Channing in “A Pirate Party.”  Among his many children’s books is “Mary Peake and the Mighty Acorn” which tells the story of the woman who taught newly freed slaves how to read under the Emancipation Oak in Hampton, Virginia.

Principal puppets are from Laura Baldwin.  She is a gifted artist who has made life sized animal creations like Blue Herons and White Egrets.  She’s built many of the dinosaurs seen in Rainbow’s shows.  Her Abraham Lincoln startles audiences with its likeness of the beloved president.

Rainbow Puppeteers include James Cooper, Wesley Huff, Alyssa Jones, and Joshua Messick.  Their work is seen annually at the Smithsonian Institute, the National Theater in Washington, DC, and in hundreds of libraries, theaters, and schools across the southeast.

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