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Carnival of the Animals Returns for a Second Year

Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts
continues this special holiday tradition for the whole family:

Carnival of the Animals

featuring the music of Camille Saint-Saëns and the poetry of Ogden Nash

Lake Simons, director and designer
Laura Barger, music director
Lelund Durond Thompson, narrator

Saturday, December 17, 2016
2:00 p.m. & 5:00 p.m.

Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th Street)
Tickets: $15-$40 for Adults • $9-$24 for Children and Students

From Miller Theatre Executive Director Melissa Smey:

“I couldn’t be happier to bring Carnival of the Animals back for a second year. It was a truly magical experience for everyone involved, and this year it’s even bigger, better, and more imaginative thanks to the incredibly talented Lake Simons. It’s so rewarding to continue to develop our Family Series through this holiday tradition. And don’t forget to save the date for a new addition coming in May 2017, The Bremen Town Band.”

WATCH: Trailer for Carnival of the Animals

Saturday, December 17, 2016
2:00 p.m. & 5:00 p.m.
Carnival of the Animals

Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th Street)
Last year, Miller Theatre inaugurated a new holiday season tradition: Carnival of the Animals, in a surreally playful production designed and directed by Lake Simons. This special production returns with two performances, bringing to life Saint-Saëns’ musical “salute to feathers, fur, and fins.” Theaterscene described it as "splendidly witty, sometimes poignant and sometimes thrilling, and always inventive...It was magical." Lucid Culture pronounced it “an exquisitely detailed, unselfconsciously playful performance.” 

Staged as a modern twist on Victorian toy theater, everyday objects take on new lives as lions, elephants, and birds, through the incredible work of puppeteers. Ogden Nash's clever verses plus top-notch musical performances by some of the city’s best players make this an extraordinary hour-long show for all ages.

This spring, Miller Theatre expands its Family Series with another all ages offering: a new, original production of The Bremen Town Band, based on the famed Grimm fairytale, on May 6, 2017 (2pm and 5pm).

Recommended for ages 6 and up. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Each person, regardless of age, must have a ticket to be admitted.


Camille Saint­ Saëns (1835-1921): The Carnival of the Animals 

Lake Simons, director and designer
Laura Barger, music director
Michael McGee, lighting designer
Brenna St. George Jones, director of production
Taylor Riccio, technical director 

Lelund Durond Thompson, narrator
Kirsten Kammermeyer, puppeteer
Brendan McMahon, puppeteer
Justin Perkins, puppeteer
Rachael Shane, puppeteer
Laura Cocks, flute
Christa Van Alstine, clarinet
Russell Greenberg, percussion
Ning Yu, piano
Joshua Modney, violin
Lauren Cauley, violin
Isabel Hagen, viola
Mariel Roberts, cello
Eleonore Oppenheim, bass

About the Artists:

Lake Simons is a theater artist based in New York City with strong ties to Fort Worth, Texas. She is a director, designer, choreographer, puppeteer, builder, painter, and performer. She makes theatre productions that utilize puppetry, movement, and live music. But most importantly she relies on make-believe. 

Simons has collaborated with many distinguished artists creating theatre productions from the ground up. Her creations have been performed in New York City, Fort Worth, Boston, Chicago, and Edinburgh, Scotland. Simons is a recipient of multiple Jim Henson Foundation Grants for Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, White Elephant, Wind Set­up, and Tree Pop. As a designer she has collaborated with New York Shakespeare Festival, Signature Theatre Company, Doug Elkins, Kristin Marting, My Brightest Diamond, Cori Orlinghouse, Alexandra Aron and Peggy Stafford, Adrienne Kapstein, Division 13, Theatre Works USA, Peculiar Works, Hip Pocket Theatre, Fort Worth Opera, Sarah Lawrence College, and Dallas Children’s Theatre. 

Simons served as a Puppetry Associate for the Lincoln Center Broadway production of War Horse and assistant movement and puppetry director for the national tour. She is a frequent curator for Great Small Works Toy Theatre Festival. Simons was one of four Americans who participated in a collaboration with Koryu Nishikawa V of the Kuruma- Ningyo Puppet Theatre in Japan. She joined the Rockettes on stage as a puppeteer in their Spring Spectacular at Radio City in New York City. She teaches set design and puppetry at Sarah Lawrence College. 


Laura Barger is sought after for her dedication to contemporary music and her energetic, committed performances. As a founding member of the chamber quartet, Yarn/Wire (called “fearless” by Time Out New York), Barger has helped to commission numerous new works by leading composers of our time. In addition to her work with Yarn/Wire, Barger has performed with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Argento Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, and Lost Dog New Music. International appearances include the Lucerne Festival, The National Gallery of Ireland, Västerås Konserthus, Darmstadt Festival for New Music, and the Banff Centre for the Arts, among others. Barger holds degrees from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (BM) and SUNY Stony Brook (MM, DMA). She teaches at the 92nd Street Y School of Music in Manhattan. 


Lelund Durond Thompson received his BFA from North Carolina A&T State University, where he was recognized with several Paul Robeson Awards for acting. Thompson received his MFA from the CASE/Cleveland Play House Actor Training Program, where he was the first African American to graduate the program. After graduation, Thompson moved to New York City where he has continued to work professionally as an actor, writer, photographer, and coach. Songs that he has written can be found on the albums Love Lead the Way (Brooklyn Tabernacle, 2013), This is the Day(JB Spiritual Singers, 2010), and Wildflower, the debut album from Tshidi Manye of Disney's The Lion King. In 2011, Thompson founded YellaFella Entertainment and began producing and directing theater in NYC (Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, Laurence Maslon’s The Devine One: Sassy Swings Tokyo, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts); serving as associate producer and Director of Photography for music videos and webseries (Homegirls); writing; and helping to coach and develop talent.