Director, Puppeteer, Puppet Builder
Art became fascinated by puppetry in the early 90’s while pursuing a degree in teaching. A puppetry course his last year of college took him off the teaching path and onto a successful career as a puppeteer. Under the mentor-ship of master puppeteer Richard Bay he began performing shows at theme parks and schools. An early opportunity to study with Jim Henson’s Muppet Performers and hundreds of performances for Bay’s company helped hone his skills as a performer. An invitation to be one of the first participants in the Emerging Artist Program at the National Puppetry Conference, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center helped develop Grueneberger’s writing and production skills. These skills combined with a bit of luck lead to the formation of Grueneberger’s Puppet Art Theater Co. in 1995. Today Puppet Art Theater Co. has eighteen productions that tour across California and beyond completing more than 600 live performances for family audiences every year. Grueneberger has become a master at developing marvelous puppet shows that delight audiences of all ages. Grueneberger took these skills and started Puppet Arts Creative which develops and tours fantastic educational programs for government agencies, corporations and other organizations that deliver important educational messages to targeted audiences.
In addition family shows Grueneberger also directs large scale shows, many for adults. Recent directing credits include Peter and the Wolf (Kimmel Center, in the 5000 seat Verizon Hall, Philadelphia, PA, with Master Organist Peter Conte), Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera Amahl and the Night Visitors (VITA, Sacramento), and Big Dreams, Small Shoulders, the Story of Ruby Bridges (CAM Theater). He has also been Guest Director at California State University, Sacramento (Avenue Q, winner, Kennedy Center’s Outstanding Ensemble Award) and the University of California, Davis (Man of La Mancha). He has directed large scale symphony productions including adaptations of The Red Velvet Violin and Pinocchio and has been a puppetry consultant for Mark Ravenhill (Nursery/School), Messenger Theater Co. (Macbeth), Berkeley Playhouse (Avenue Q), and Consumes River College (Avenue Q). Grueneberger was recently invited back to The National Puppetry Conference this time as a Featured Guest Artist where he workshopped a production of the musical Sweeney Todd featuring life-sized puppets.
Grueneberger has puppeteered for many film, television and video projects including the award winning film “Ola’s Box of Clovers,” the Emmy nominated video “We’re Gonna Be OK,” “Technology Street” a parody of Sesame Street for Adobe MAX and the WB’s national children’s series “Phantom Investigators.” He has worked with Shadowlight Theater on the award winning productions “Coyote Stories” and “The Wild Party” and has collaborated with talented shadow puppeteer Wendy Morton on several projects including “The Little Dragon,” a shadow production that toured to the International Shadow Theatre Festival in Schwaebish Gmund, Germany.
In addition to writing and consulting for theater and video productions, Grueneberger has also co-authored the book “The Actor’s Lab Book: A Practical Supplement for the Beginning Actor.”
Grueneberger earned a BA in Liberal Studies and Drama at CSU, Sacramento and an MFA in Theater Arts at University of California, Davis. He is a proud member of the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library.
At five years old, Rachel told her mother she wanted to grow up to be a Muppet and at ten years old, she performed onstage for the first time as one of Cinderella’s Stepsisters. She knew then and there that working in the theater was the life for her! Skipping ahead several years, those decisions led her to attend CSU Sacramento where she studied with Master Puppeteer Richard Bay.
She first met Art the summer after her first semester and performed under his direction in a summer stock program at the Old Eagle Theater in Old Sacramento. She began puppeteering for Puppet Art Theater Co. in 1996 and has performed at schools, libraries, and various festivals throughout California, as well as performing at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater in Phoenix and the International Puppet Festival in South Korea. She moved to LA for several years where she ran Puppet Art Theater Co.’s Southern California office. She has assisted in constructing puppets for several projects, including the Sacramento Symphony’s Music Education Program and was the Costume Designer for Art’s production of the musical Sweeney Todd which was workshopped at The National Puppetry Conference. She has also puppeteered and done voice-over work for several of Puppet Art’s projects, including the Emmy nominated video “We’re Gonna Be OK.”
In addition to her work for Puppet Art Theater Co., Rachel is the Associate
Director/Costume Designer for Jesuit Drama at Jesuit High School and the Artistic Designer/Production Manager for Broadway Sacramento’s educational summer camps: Camp Music Circus and Showtime. She has been the Costume Designer for several productions at Big Idea Theatre, Capital Stage, CSU Sacramento’s Opera Department, and New Helvetia Theatre. She was Co-designer/Co-director for the drama productions at Emerson Junior High School in Davis from 2004- 2013. She has also done voice-over work on several shows for Fratello Marionettes.
Rachel received her Bachelor of Arts in Drama from CSU Sacramento.