Teenie TonesI don’t perform as a puppeteer nearly as much as I would like.

I’ve performed mostly hand puppets, but I’ve been fortunate to work with marionettes as part of Raval Media Group’s Teenie Tones, and I’ve crawled inside Bear from Bear in the Big Blue House as part of Playhouse Disney Live! On-Stage at Disney’s California Adventure.

Bear and Friends

It’s kind of hard to tell, but that’s me on the right.

There’s this children’s show pilot I did alongside the incredible Russ Walko entitled Uncle Grizly. (I’m the giant banana slug.)


I began performing puppets in my wife’s burlesque acts with this little number, her homage to Monty Python’s “Every Sperm is Sacred.”


All singing, all dancing spermatozoa. It’s as awesome as it sounds.

Then there’s the Crocodile Rock number. This is one we do with some rarity, as it involves a considerable expense every time we do it. You see, we make a bunch of these:

croc rock 3

We call them “Li’l Snappers” and we make them for the audience. Red enters as Elton John from his appearance on The Muppet Show:

SH Photo (c) 2010
SH Photo (c) 2010

I enter with a puppet crocodile (that I built) and pursue her, stripping off her clothes with the puppet:

Croco Puppet

(c) Shannon Cottrell of LA Weekly 2009
(c) Shannon Cottrell of LA Weekly 2009

The magic happens when we get to the “Laaaaa, la-la-la-la-laaaaa” part. Remember those puppets we made for the audience? They use them to sing along!

(c) Shannon Cottrell of LA Weekly 2009
(c) Shannon Cottrell of LA Weekly 2009

After making hundreds of those puppets over the past six years of doing the number, we decided to make a free Li’l Snapper pattern available. We released it under a Creative Commons license, and it may be found on Red’s website.


I built a mess of puppets for Rose: The Bizarro Zombie Musical.

I also built a couple of puppets for a delightful children’s play entitled Santa and the Snowflake:


More of my crafty puppet building may be seen in my online portfolio.


I’ve written a few pretty cool tutorials over the years.

Ping Pong Ball, Oobi-style “Practice Eyes”

Tennis Ball Rod Puppet

“Snapper Rods,” A Relatively Quick and Easy Arm Rod Solution

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