In June 2006, I was the recipient of the Emerging Kevin Clash Minority Scholarship to participate in the National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. While at the conference I was mentored by marionettist, Phillip Huber, who directed choreography for Rango Tango, which I performed in the Dina Merril Theater and later at the the Revolving Museum in Lowel, MA.
More about Kevin Clash from Wikipedia:
Kevin Jeffrey Clash (born September 17, 1960) is an American puppeteer, director and producer whose characters include Elmo, Clifford, Benny Rabbit, and Hoots the Owl. Clash developed an interest in puppetry at an early age and began performing for local TV children’s shows in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, as a teenager. In the early 1980s, he began working in Captain Kangaroo and began performing in Sesame Street in 1984. He was the fifth puppeteer to perform Elmo, the character he became the most famous for and became an executive producer and director for the show. Clash worked in various productions for the Muppets and Jim Henson Productions and in other projects… Clash wrote an autobiography, My Life as a Furry Red Monster, which was published in 2006, and also featured in the 2011 documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.
Phillip Huber’s interest in puppets started at an early age as he was growing up in Illinois. He majored in Theatre and Education at Principia College. After graduation, he worked for Tony Urbano and Jim Henson. In 1980, he joined forces with partner David Alexander to begin the Huber Marionettes.
Phillip Huber has international cabaret credits that include playing the Lido in Paris, Casino de Monte Carlo, the Cunard, Crystal and Seabourne Cruise lines, and The Tonight Show. His variety show puppets are beautifully crafted and glamorously costumed. His manipulation is exceptional. He was featured in the Tommy Tune musical, Busker Alley (1995), which showcased his marionette dog, Taffy. Phillip provided the marionette (string puppet) manipulation for the film Being John Malkovich (1999). His honours include the Puppeteers of America President’s Award, an UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence, and a Royal Command Performance in Monte Carlo, Monaco. His show, Suspended Animation, as been performed in Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Norway, Mexico, and Canada. He created the puppets for the rock opera Don’t Trust Anyone Over Thirty (2006) by Dan Graham and Tony Ousler, which toured Europe.
Phillip Huber [worked] on puppets for the film, Oz the Great and Powerful, . He has taught puppetry at the National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center(Waterford, Connecticut) and at the Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts, Valencia, California). Emerging puppet artists in the United States have frequently acknowledged Phillip Huber as an influential mentor.
The mission of the O’Neill’s National Puppetry Conference is to encourage puppet artists to create and communicate through the visual and kinetic form of the puppet, to push beyond their personal boundaries, and develop new works for puppet theater. Participants collaborate with renowned guest directors, puppet artists, and playwrights to develop innovative productions conceived by guest artists, as well as presentations initiated by the Conference participants.
For eight days each summer, puppet artists have the opportunity to explore various performance styles through rehearsals and workshops on writing, music, marionettes, and more. Puppet artists also have the option to gather before the main conference for three days of intensive workshops. The main conference culminates with two public performances, featuring new works which explore the extraordinary range and power of the puppet.