Center Grove puppeteers perform Halloween show

By Amy Moshier

Her favorite puppet is a witch that cackles and rides in on her broom – and may have a magic potion in her castle. Ghosts and black cats are the witch’s best friends.

The puppets are creations of Peggy Melchior, owner and founder of Melchior Marionettes, with Peewinkle’s Puppet Studio. All shows are written and choreographed by Melchior herself. The witch and her friends are performing in the Halloween-themed show, playing Thursday, Oct. 15 through Sunday, Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Brown County Playhouse in Nashville, Ind.

“The Halloween show is great fun,” Melchior said. “The Slightly Haunted Puppet Show”  features – in addition to the witch – a flying spaceship with a small “trollish” little human on top of it! Along with the ever-present help of Heidi Shackleford, Peggy’s daughter, the show is a great success. “The venue of the show has great lighting, too,” said Melchior.

Puppeteer Heidi Shackleford, left, with her mom, Peggy Melchior, owner and founder of Melchior Marionettes, will perform a Halloween show with their spooky friends. (Photo by Rick Hinton)

Holiday shows are a great way to experience puppets and marionettes for the first time, according to Melchior. “The shows are highly entertaining,” she said. Lively and energetic, they tend to be more of a cabaret type than other shows performed during the rest of the year.

“The magic happens when you’re working with an audience of all ages,” she said. “The younger kids don’t even know you’re there.” The fun, life-like characters that are the puppets and marionettes are lively and likable enough that Melchior can write shows with a variety of themes. In particular, she has a show about reaching out to those with anxiety or depression. “You can reach out to young people and adults alike who need to be both educated and uplifted,” she said.

Presently, masks are required for all shows. And social distancing guidelines will be observed. Ticket prices for “The Slightly Haunted Puppet Show” are $10 for adults and $8 for children over 2 years of age; children under 2 are free.

And the puppets dance, too!

For more information and to purchase tickets for the 30-minute show, go to browncountyplayhouse.org/arts-theatre-shows/the-slightly-haunted-puppet-show-2.