Puppeteer opens new arts series

A puppeteer whose work was featured in the film “Being John Malkovich” will open a new arts series presented by Youngstown State University.

The Donald P. Pipino Performing Arts Series includes seven events ranging from classical music to audio theater to vocal music and musical theater. The series was made possible by Christine and Edward Muransky and is named for Christine’s father.

According to Phyllis M. Paul, dean of the Cliffe College of Creative Arts & Communication, “The Series brings to Youngstown the types of cultural opportunities usually found only in large metropolitan areas and includes performances by nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as aspiring students from YSU’s Department of Theater & Dance and the Dana School of Music. YSU believes that the arts are vital to the University and bring out the very best in a community by enriching the quality of life for all of its residents.

“The aura of an outstanding performing arts series impacts a region in multiple ways — from providing opportunities for children’s enrichment, to elevating the quality of life, to supporting and contributing to the business and economic climate of the community.”

The Huber Marionettes will open the season in Bliss Hall’s Ford Theater at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31

Phillip Huber is like a classical concert violinist or pianist who works to master every note in the score and performs with perfection. He is there on stage with the marionettes, but his marionettes are alive all by themselves with feelings, passions, attitudes and personality.

Huber’s work was featured in the movie “Being John Malkovich,” where John Cusack played an out-of-work street puppeteer,” and the film “Oz the Great and Powerful.” He also appeared in the national tour of the musical comedy “Stage Door Charley,” starring Tommy Tune.

His show “Suspended Animation” is a series of variety vignettes selected from the Huber Marionettes characters cast. The lighting is dramatic, the stage presence is elegant, and every movement is carefully timed and choreographed.