As the developers planning to replace the Bob Baker Marionette Theater with 104 apartments sharpen their bulldozer blades, the puppets seems to be doing better than ever. Baker’s troupe is commemorating their late founder by re-staging classic shows not seen for decades. Saturday night is the opening of Hooray L.A.!, a Los Angeles history-themed show with a gala hosted by Silver Lake showman Charles Phoenix. As is the custom of the theater, ice cream will be served in the party room following the show.
When Los Angeles turned 200 back in 1981, artists across the city created special birthday tributes. Baker’s includes skeletons dancing in the La Brea Tar Pits, an oil derrick kickline, and a neon-lit celebration of Hollywood nightlife. Longtime theater staff restored the performers and sets from the original show so it could be restaged as part of an entire season honoring the theater’s history. The all-ages show will be performed daily through May 29.
While developers have proposed demolishing much of the historically designated theater and converting the performance space into an elevator lobby, the puppeteers are pushing for the show to go on. They have been working with city planners and property owners to maintain theater operations on the site. The Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the project later this month.
Baker called the show his “love letter to Los Angeles” and for the crew running the theater, bringing back these vintage shows has become a love letter to Bob Baker.