By Rick Rouan
Students at Poland Union Elementary School packed the gymnasium for a Christmas story with a twist: “Bad Rudolph.”
Sadecky’s Puppets, which does Muppet-style shows in 15 states in the eastern U.S., performed its holiday show for the students Wednesday. The show centered on the characters trying to figure out what was bugging Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, who was romping around the North Pole stealing cookies and running over elves.
“I thought it was the best Christmas episode in the entire 2009,” said Sophia Sainato, 6, a first grader.
The elementary school students clapped along with the music and screamed at the stage as Rudolph sneaked up on unsuspecting characters, including Santa Claus himself.
The show featured about a dozen characters, but behind the scenes, the whole show was performed by two puppeteers.
Damien Morris and Matt Sadecky, son of the company’s owner, set up the stage, perform the show and tear it down before returning to headquarters outside Pittsburgh.
The puppet show has been visiting Poland for at least 15 years, said Principal Carmella Smallhoover, who has worked in the school system for more than 30 years.
After the show, Smallhoover was already at work to book the show again next year.
“This is a wonderful program. We have them every year,” she said. “The kids love it. Their presentations are always well- written and age-appropriate”
The play went over well with the students, too.
“It was really, really funny,” said Owen Hernon, 9, a third-grader.
Asked what his favorite part of the show was, 6-year-old Colton Diaz, a first-grader, said “I liked when Rudolph bumped the elf. It was funny.”