Nicolas Coppola, Artistic Director of Puppetworks, first saw Suzari Marionettes as a 3rd grader at Brooklyn's P.S. 200, inspiring him, with the help of his seamstress mother and tailor uncle, to create his first cloth marionette. In 1954, at the age of 19, he auditioned to become a professional puppeteer with the very same Suzari Marionettes, and was hired by them. On leave from Suzari, while a soldier at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, he performed puppet routines for injured troops in the Army hospitals (below, left foreground). Back with Suzari in 1962, on his 27th birthday, he was elevated to Artistic Director, and the company became the Nicolo Marionettes, touring as many as 5 different productions simultaneously through much of the United States.
Mr. Coppola with Pinocchio at Brooklyn's Atlantic Antic
|In the Spring of 1976, the Nicolo Marionettes began a residency at Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian Institution, a highlight of which was the acclaimed production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" for children (right).|
|In 1980, as economics made it more and more difficult to
turn a profit in touring puppet theatre, Mr. Coppola founded
the not-for-profit company,
Puppetworks, Inc. which eventually replaced the
In addition to operating its full-time resident puppet theatre in Brooklyn's Park Slope historic district, Puppetworks has been a holiday tradition at Macy*s (Herald Square) since Macy*s built a puppet theatre especially for Puppetworks in 1976.
In 2008, Mr. Coppola (far left) received Macy*s Santa-Land Legend Award from Macy*s Vice-President Bill Schermerhorn, because he "always embodies the spirit of Macy*s Santa."
The Puppeteers of America honored Nick Coppola with the 2011 President’s Award, given for “Outstanding Contributions to the Art of Puppetry” at the P of A National Festival in Georgia on July 16, 2011.
Bob Nathanson accepted the award on Nick’s behalf and read the following words from Nick at the presentation:
"The news of this award was totally unexpected, and a wonderful surprise.
I have been a member of the Puppeteers of America since way back in 1952, and over the years have drawn a great deal of inspiration from the organization via the Journals, the Festivals and the enduring friendships made along the way.
I would like to thank the Board of Directors and the Awards committee for this great honor, which has left me astonished, delighted, and deeply touched all at once."
Bob Nathanson (right) delivering the Puppeteers of America President’s Award to Nick Coppola
Photo by Elise Handelman
|From 1997 to 2000, Puppetworks presented productions at the Children's Aid Society's Greenwich Village Center Theatre. In concert, Puppetworks has appeared with the Little Orchestra Society, St. Lukes' Chamber Ensemble, the Orchestra da Camera and the Brooklyn Philharmonic in such works as Debussy's "Toy Box," Ibert's "Divertissements," and in highly-praised performances of Haydn's marionette opera (left), "Philemon und Baucis (Jupiter's Wanderings on Earth)."|
|With the Sylvan Wind Quintet,
has developed productions of Prokofiev's "Peter and the
Wolf" and Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel." Other
appearances include featured prominence in the
Paper Mill Playhouse (NJ)
production of Herbert's "Naughty Marietta,"
New Jersey State
Opera performances of Mascagni's "Iris" and Sullivan's
"Ivanhoe," and the New York Early Music Association's
production of Mozart's "Bastien and Bastienne."