What’s zany and exuberant and causes families to laugh with glee? Why, it’s The Toe Jam Puppet Band, of course. The popular local favorite, which offers children’s entertainment that families can enjoy together, will bring its unique interactive and theatrical musical performance, including original songs, masterful shadow puppetry, storytelling and just plain old good fun, to Ocean State Theatre in Warwick for one show only on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 11 a.m.
Founded in 2000, when friends (and big kids) Tom Poitras and Vinny Lovegrove decided to combine their diverse backgrounds in music, songwriting, scenic artistry and puppetry, The Toe Jam Puppet Band made it their goal to offer a unique brand of interactive children’s entertainment that is “fabulicious,” encouraging kids and parents to giggle, dance and be silly together.
Tom Poitras is the plaid-suited songwriter and singer of the group. He plays banjo, acoustic guitar and washboard tie. Tom says the inspiration for his songs comes from his family of two young boys and his wife. From throwing laundry around the house to squeakin’ like a mouse, his sons provide him with new song ideas daily. Tom also draws from a wide variety of musical tastes when writing songs, including Jump Blues, Punk Rock, Reggae and Traditional Folk Music. Tom says, “Music is exploration and there’s a whole world of music out there to be turned on to and explored.”
Every live show needs a live wire and for The Toe Jam Puppet Band it’s Vinny Lovegrove. Acting as emcee and resident silly man, he can always be found right in the thick of it with the kiddos. At each performance he directs the fun and activities with a big bag of puppet shows, storytelling, amateur acrobatics, improvisation, and well-timed shtick. Vinny has made puppets for, and performed with, The Caravan Stage Theater, the University of Massachusetts, the Zeiterion Theatre and King Richard’s Faire, to name a few. Inspired by Tom’s homemade songs, Vinny, keeps the audience involved.
Audience members of all ages are encouraged to sing and dance along with Toe Jam as they entertain with a unique combination of original songs and interactive storytelling. Get ready for a “Car Wash,” watch out for the “Flying Laundry” and be prepared to laugh with glee, Toe Jam style.
Before and after the performance, families can enjoy drinks and snacks, which will be available for purchase at the theatre’s lobby concession stand.
Single tickets are $10 each, with packages of three Family Fun Fest shows or more for $8 per ticket. Discount rates are available for groups of 20 or more by calling 921-1777 x112. Tickets are on sale at the box office Monday through Friday from 12 noon-6 p.m., Saturdays from 12 noon-4 p.m. and from 12 noon until curtain time on performance days. Tickets are also available online 24 hours a day at www.OceanStateTheatre.org and via telephone during normal box office hours by calling 921-6800.