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What is a Marionette Variety Show?

A marionette variety show is made up of various acts performed by marionettes (string puppets). With roots stretching back many hundreds of years, the marionette variety show is a relative of the Italian commedia dell’arte, English buskers (street performers), Mr. Punch, and American vaudeville of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.


Today’s marionette variety shows owe their format to mid-twentieth century puppeteer Frank Paris, who developed a nightclub act using large, short-strung portrait marionettes resembling movie stars of his day.

Paris’s marionettes payed homage to such famous entertainers as Sonja Henie, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rodgers, and Carmen Miranda, all of which Paris operated in full view of the audience on a small stage whisked onto a night club dance floor or stage. For this reason, marionette variety shows are often referred to as cabaret style or floor show puppetry.


Today, most puppeteers have adapted this style of performance to family entertainment. In a typical variety show performed by Dave Herzog’s Marionettes are colorful marionettes that sing, dance, walk the tight rope, skate, and perform on the trapeze, to name only a few.


Our many different shows’ themes include comical animals, a rollicking circus, jolly pirates, a salute to the U.S.A., Halloween, Christmas, and many more, all accompanied by pre-recorded sound tracks featuring musical selections ranging from classical to pop.


Dave Herzog’s Marionettes come as a self-contained unit with our own stage lights and sound. All we need is a space 12 feet wide and 10 feet deep with a minimum ceiling height of 8 feet; one electrical outlet; and, of course, an audience eager to be entertained by this amazing and unique art form!

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