The Magic City

Manual Cinema has adapted Edith Nesbit’s novel “The Magic City” for a live, cinematic shadow puppet show. Using overhead projectors, paper shadow puppets, actors on camera and live music, Manual Cinema’s adaptation of The Magic City updates the novel with a modern retelling.

The Magic City marks the creation of the company’s first all-ages production. It was co-commissioned and presented by the Chicago Children’s Theatre, in conjunction with the second annual Chicago International Puppet Theatre Festival.

The Magic City premiered in January, 2017.

Based on the novel by Edith Nesbit
Conceived by: Manual Cinema
Devised by: Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Julia Miller
Screenplay and Storyboards by: Drew Dir
Art Direction and Puppets by: Lizi Breit and Drew Dir
Music by: Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter
Sound Design by: Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter
Lyrics by: Ben Kauffman
Costumes by: Mieka van der Ploeg
Miniatures by: Andrea Everman
Masks by: Julia Miller
Cat Puppet by: Sam Deutsch and Julia Miller
Lighting Design by: Claire Chrzan
Stage Manager: Kate Hardiman
Production Managed by: Mike Usrey
Puppetry Build Interns: Nicole Nienow and Jacky Kelsey

Linsey Falls (Brandon/Puppeteer)
Sarah Fornace (Philomena/Puppeteer)
Julia Miller (Helen/Puppeteer)
Jeffrey Paschal (Lucas/Puppeteer)
Ben Kauffman (Guitar, Percussion, Vocals)
Alex Babbitt (Keyboard, Flute, Vocals)
Maren Celest (Narration, Vocals, Live Sound Effects, Ukulele)
Sima Cunningham (understudy Narration, Vocals, Live SFX)

“Manual Cinema’s ‘Magic City’ lets everyone in”
Chris Jones, The Chicago Tribune, February 2017.

“…it would be difficult to find a more wholly enraptured audience”
Heidi Weiss, The Chicago Sun-Times, February 2017.

“…one would have to lack a pulse to not be transported back to a state of childhood wonderment at the universe Manual Cinema creates”
Patrick McDonald, The Advertiser, March 2017.

“Making the usually hidden visual tricks visible… is a brilliant way of awakening interest in theatre, puppetry, and storytelling for the next generation. “
Barry Lenny, Broadway World, March 2017.

Manual Cinema- The Magic City (Official Trailer) from Manual Cinema on Vimeo.

Photos by Chuck Osgood and Julia Miller

Henson_banner     Recipient of the 2017 Jim Henson Foundation Project Grant