Bob Baker Marionettes Revisit a History of Family Fun

By Michael Berick

family fun

Bob Baker Marionettes stages a revival of its popular circus show. PHOTO BY IAN BYERS-GAMBER

The Bob Baker Marionettes have been entertaining audiences for more than half a century at shows around Southern California and downtown in the Bob Baker Marionette Theater at 1345 W. 1st St. This year, the black clouds that have hung over the troupe’s future since the theater property was bought up several years ago seem to be lifting. Construction will soon begin on what is described as a “rejuvenated theater space” that will keep the troupe in its current home.

This also has been an exciting time to see a Bob Baker Marionettes performance. As part of a concerted effort to spotlight and preserve Bob Baker’s work and legacy, the company has revived several shows that had been absent from its stage for decades.

This spring, they performed “Hooray L.A.,” a love letter to the city featuring hundreds of puppets. Bob Baker created this show in 1961, but a quarter of a century had passed since its last production. This summer features the resurrection of another gem, “The Circus.” Baker created the show in the 1950s and updated it in 1963 to fit his then-new theater. It has been more than four decades since audiences saw a full production of the show, and more than 20 years since even an abbreviated version was performed. For this elaborately staged revival, the troupe restored puppets, repaired damaged props and backdrops and fixed the old soundtrack audio.

This spectacular salute to the circus is scheduled to run through July 25. MacArthur Park’s Levitt Pavilion is also hosting a free Bob Baker Marionette show July 9. Learn more at

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