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Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About A
Terrible Monster

Presented by presented by
Venue: Samueli Theater Tickets start at $20.00


Leonardo is a terrible monster. He tries so hard to be scary, but he just…isn’t. Then Leonardo finds Sam, the most scaredy-cat kid in the world. Will Leonardo finally get his chance to scare the tuna salad out of an unsuspecting human? Or will it be the start of an unlikely friendship? The plot thickens when this pair meets Kerry and Frankenthaler, an even scaredier-cat and her monster friend. Kerry and Sam will need to make a big decision: will they be friends or will they be controlled by their fears?

This live theater production is adapted from the beloved children’s books by Mo Willems, and realized through live actors, 3D puppets, DIY cinema, and immersive sound by critically-acclaimed multimedia artists Manual Cinema. Leonardo! tells the story of a monster who longs to be scary and the big decisions about identity and empathy that we all must make.

Manual Cinema is an Emmy Award-winning performance collective, design studio, and film/video production company founded in 2010 by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Ben Kauffman, Julia Miller, and Kyle Vegter. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music to create immersive stories for stage and screen.

Using vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, puppets, actors, live feed cameras, multi-channel sound design, and a live music ensemble, Manual Cinema transforms the experience of attending the cinema and imbues it with liveness, ingenuity, and theatricality. The company was awarded an Emmy in 2017 for “The Forger,” a video created for The New York Times and named Chicago Artists of the Year in 2018 by the Chicago Tribune. Their shadow puppet animations are featured in the film remake of Candyman, directed by Nia DaCosta and produced by Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, which premiered on August27, 2021.

"The company does an exceptional job at presenting a production that moves swiftly and efficiently while combining human performers with puppets, ultimately mending the worlds of theatre and film." – Broadway World

"The lessons explored are universal and important for any age."- D.C. Metro Theater Arts

"Manual Cinema has created a whole new art form." – Chicago Tribune

"Creatively educates, entertains, and inspires." – Broadway World

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