THEATER | "War Horse" 

Most of us have experienced two kinds of puppetry in our lives. In the first, the operators remain out of view of the audience, as demonstrated in basic puppet shows and by "Sesame Street." Second, the operators are on stage, but try to direct all the attention to the brightly colored and gesturing puppets by themselves wearing dark clothing and minimizing their movements. You can see this sort of puppetry in shows such as "Avenue Q." But the puppetry in the Tony Award-winning hit, "War Horse," which Rochester Broadway Theatre League will bring to Rochester starting next week, is infinitely more complex — while multiple actors operate the complex horse puppet from beneath it, other actors interact with the horse while also helping to operate the highly nuanced mechanisms that bring the beast to life.

"War Horse" is Michael Morpurgo's moving tale of a young man named Albert's beloved horse, Joey, who is enlisted to fight for the English in World War I, and of Albert's mission to bring his lost horse home. The story was the inspiration for Stephen Spielberg's Oscar-nominated film of the same name. The play to be staged this week at the Auditorium Theatre (885 E. Main St.) contains innovative, life-sized puppets that "breathe," gallop, rear, are light enough to operate, and strong enough to bear a rider.

The show kicks off on Tuesday, November 5, at 7:30 p.m., continuing through Sunday, November 10. Tickets range from $37.50 to $72.50, and can be purchased through the venue's box office, by calling 800-745-3000, or online at There have been reports of persons falsely claiming that the show is sold out and charging inflated rates for tickets. RBTL strongly urges those interested in seeing the show to call them to verify that seats are still available. For more information, call 222-5000 or visit

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