New Albany News

Sterling Theater show has a few strings attached

Marionette play also includes daytime performances for Pataskala students


Marionettes made and operated by Kevin Frisch, owner of the Frisch Marionette Company in Cincinnati, will be the stars of a holiday show Friday, Dec. 7, at the Sterling Theater in Pataskala.

Holiday Punch will be staged at 7 p.m. at the theater on the second floor of the old Pataskala Town Hall, 430 S. Main St.

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children 10 and younger. Tickets are available at the Nutcracker Family Restaurant, 65 E. Broad St., or at the door Dec. 7. Proceeds will fund restoration and operations for the theater.

Frisch said he will perform on stage with the marionettes, which include a juggling elf, an ice skater and three scarf puppets that will dance to The Nutcracker.

"It's a real warm show, with humor and some warm moments with the ice skater," Frisch said.

Frisch said he performs Holiday Punch, which he described as a variety show, every December to help get people in the mood for the holidays.

Frisch said has operated the Frisch Marionette Company since 1995; prior to that, he worked for Puppetworks in New York City. He said he continues to design marionettes and puppets for Puppetworks as part of the annual Christmas show performed at Macy's in downtown New York City.

Holiday Punch in Pataskala is sponsored by the Nutcracker Family Restaurant and the Pataskala Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization.

Pataskala Mayor Steve Butcher, owner of the Nutcracker restaurant, said the restaurant donated $1,000 to bring the Frisch Marionette Company to Pataskala.

The PTO is providing funds to ensure all 600 Pataskala Elementary students will see the marionette performance during the school day.

"All 600 students will walk over -- 300 at a time -- for shows in the day time (Dec. 7)," Butcher said.

Butcher said show organizers also have contacted Liberty Christian Academy and plan to contact local day-care providers to see if they are interested in having children attend a show.

Butcher said he and his wife, Nancy, are trying to "lead by example" in helping to bring holiday performances to the theater.

He said one of their goals, and a goal of the Sterling Theater board, is to include local students in the productions.

"We'd like to assist (the theater board) in exposing the students to the historic building and the theater," Butcher said. "We're always looking for opportunities to assist more groups. In this case, we have one school interested (in Pataskala Elementary School) and potentially a second (in Liberty Christian Academy)."