About Mad Munchkin Productions:
Founded by Laura Wilhelm and Alan Pagel in 2005, Mad Munchkin Productions produces originally written works fueled with visual imagery, action, and idea, as well as designs and builds puppets, masks, sets, costumes and props. Other works include The Crooked Man, FREAKSOUT! , Stimulate THIS!, Snow Bound! and designs for The Flower Shop Project, Normandale Community College, and American Stage in FL. MMP is fiscally sponsored by Springboard for the Arts, a non-profit group providing support for local artists.
Laura Wilhelm (Artistic Director) has been creating and directing works of puppetry and imagination for 15 years, 8 years of which have been in the Twin Cities. She began her work as a puppeteer writing a performing 12 shows a summer for the Puppetwagon, a summer program of the Lakeville Parks and Recreation Department. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts with a minor in Communications at Concordia College in Moorhead MN, where she continued her passion for puppetry through study and a trip to Europe and began directing shows that stretched the imagination. From there Ms. Wilhelm went on to earn an MFA degree in Directing from the University of Memphis, TN, where mask work and mime were added to her bag of theatrical tools. She will be leading the artistic vision for this project and serving as the director.
Upon returning to Minneapolis, Wilhelm co-founded Mad Munchkin Productions in 2005 with Technical Director Alan Pagel. As Artistic director Laura has served as a puppeteer/ writer/producer/director for MMP’s Fringe Festivals hits FREAKSOUT!, Stimulate THIS!, and Eat My Zombie Shorts!, the short play Love Bites, a touring production of their original piece The Crooked Man, The Man Who Turned Into a Fish and their two collaborations with Eclectic Edge Ensemble- Snow Bound! and Grimm Tale. In addition she works for small and large theaters in the area in a variety of capacities. Directing credits outside of Mad Munchkin Productions include Summoning Everyman at the U of Memphis, The Government Inspector at Southwestern College in KS, Shattered and Women Live On Stage at Theater Unbound, For a Time Such as This at Bridge Productions, The Wizard of Oz for Applause Theater, Willy Wonka the Musical and The King and I for Cross Community Players, and Nalah and the Pink Tiger for Magic Lantern Productions. Laura lead the puppet build for Secret Fall of Constance Wilde at the Guthrie and designed a Parrot Puppet their A Christmas Carol, built Italian Shadow puppet for Peter Pan at the Children’s Theater Company, designed and built marionettes for CasaBlue for American Stage in Florida, designed and built all of Cinderella’s animal friends in puppet form for The Ordway Center, and created a Klingon Tiny Tim for Klingon Christmas Carol at Commedia Beauregard, as just a few examples of her puppet work . She is the full-time props master at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater and has built props for companies all over including The Children’s Theater, Mixed Blood Theater, and the Ordway Center for Performing Arts. Her resume also includes scenic and costume design, as well as teaching adults and youth alike.
Alan Pagel (Technical Director) After earning his BA in Theater Arts from the University of Minnesota at Morris, Alan Pagel has been working in Minneapolis for 10 years as a technician, scenic carpenter, and Equity stage manager working for such theater as Mixed Blood Theatre, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Jungle Theatre, and Theatre De La Juene Lune. The past five years Pagel has spent as the Technical Director for Stepping Stone Theater where he also has the pleasure of training youth in technical theater and takes on the role of sound designer and auditorium manager in addition to his Technical Director duties.
As MMP’s Technical Director Alan supervises all technical aspects of the MMP’s projects and will do so for this project as well. Alan’s scenic design credits include The Flower Shop Project’s Attack of the Atomic Trash Monster’s Bride and Almost Got It Made, CCP’s The King and I, The Magic Bus and Ruby Bridges at Stepping Stone Theater, as well as Dixie Swim Club, Annie, and Becky’s New Car at Lyric Arts. Alan the co-founder and technical Director of Mad Munchkin Productions, his credits include Grimm Tale, The Man Who Turned into a Fish, Snow Bound!, Eat My Zombie Shorts!, FREAKSOUT!, Stimulate THIS!, Love Bites, and a tour of the original puppet piece The Crooked Man, as well as puppet and mask design for Normandale Community College, Northwestern College, and American Stage in St. Petersburg , FL.
Ted Hansen (Artistic Associate) Ted is very excited to be continuing his journey with MMP! Ted has previously collaborated with MMP on productions of A Grimm Tale, The Man Who Turned Into A Fish, Snow Bound!, Stimulate THIS!, Love Bites, and Eat My Zombie Shorts.
Ted is a 2001 graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN where he studied theatre, music, and art. While at Concordia Ted performed in many theater productions, including leading roles in La Bete and The Diviners. After college, Ted served in The Peace Corps teaching English in Bulgaria, and returned to Minneapolis in 2006. He earned his Masters of Art Education from the University of Minnesota this year. He currently teaches K-8 art for Minneapolis Public Schools. Ted is also a painter and much of his work revolves around his love of nature, especially fish. When not teaching, painting, or working on puppets, Ted can be found fly-fishing on the many trout streams of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Ted’s artwork can be found at www.tedchansen.etsy.com
Jen Rand (Artistic Associate) Jen graduated from the University of MN – Twin Cities with a BA in Theatre Arts where she studied puppetry with Michael Sommers of Open Eye Figure Theatre. She worked with Mad Munchkin Productions on Stimulate THIS! (MN Fringe Encore winner) and Snow Bound! before becoming a company member in 2010. Jen also manages the MMP website and social media presence.
In addition to writing and performing with MMP, Jen has performed with local Twin Cities’ theater companies including the History Theatre, MN Shakespeare Project, Theater Unbound, Actor’s Theater of MN, Starting Gate Productions, Classical Actors Ensemble, Workhouse Theatre Company, Theatre Pro Rata, and Commedia Beauregard. She has produced with Strike Anywhere: A Theatrical Production Company and has done graphic design work for many small theater organizations and independent artists in the metro area. Jen also works as a musician throughout the United States, currently residing in Seattle, WA. To learn more about Jen and her creative exploits, visit her website.