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Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Stepping Out
Dee Snider trades in rock ‘n roll for puppets
The Twisted Sister frontman’s journey to off-Broadway’s Puppet Titus Andronicus
By Iris Wiener
Courtesy Bob Young
“Avenue Q” meets Dee Snider in a comic interpretation of Shakespeare’s violent tragedy featuring silly-string gore, a bunch of angry goths and a villainous anthropomorphic boa.

Dee Snider has been known to surprise his fans, but seeing his name paired with Shakespeare’s will certainly raise some eyebrows. However, the Twisted Sister frontman and Baldwin native is not producing your average off-Broadway Shakespearean production. Snider deems “Puppet Titus Andronicus” a “PG-13” show that is equal parts “Avenue Q,” “South Park,” The Muppets, and “Kill Bill,” with a bit of the Bard mixed in for good measure.

“Puppet Titus Andronicus” is a comedic take on what is considered to be Shakespeare’s most violent play. The Puppet Shakespeare Players, who have previously married the use of puppets, humor, and Shakespeare with “Puppet Hamlet” and “Puppet Romeo and Juliet,” are taking to their biggest platform yet, having opened their latest at the Beckett Theatre on July 30, thanks in part to the fact that the play is also a family affair. Snider Than Thou Productions is producing, while Snider’s son Shane is a puppet performer, and Snider’s wife Suzette is the costume designer…for both puppets and humans.

“I hated Shakespeare,” says Snider of his student days in Baldwin. “All of my kids like it, but I didn’t get it at all. But then we went to see puppet Shakespeare and I thought, if you love Shakespeare, you will like puppet Shakespeare. If you hate Shakespeare, you will love puppet Shakespeare.” Snider credits the play’s appeal to the fact that the show is only 90 minutes, whereas Shakespeare “tends to go on and on and on.” He notes that the players took the more tedious aspects of the play and turned them into a song and dance number. “I can only compare it to ‘Springtime for Hitler’ from’The Producers.’ It’s taking horrendous subject matter and making you laugh against your will.”

Snider is a multi-hyphenate star if there ever was one, lending him a keen eye for work that is outside of the proverbial box. The singer-songwriter, actor, and coveted reality star credits his South Shore roots and his wife for both nurturing his talent and keeping him

humble.

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