Manual Cinema Presents: Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About A Terrible Monster

Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at 6pm

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Leonardo is a terrible monster. He tries so hard to be scary, but he just…isn’t. Then Leonardo finds Sam, the most scaredy-cat kid in the world. Will Leonardo finally get his chance to scare the tuna salad out of an unsuspecting human? Or will it be the start of an unlikely friendship? They will need to make a big decision: will they be friends or will they be controlled by their fears? 

Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About A Terrible Monster is adapted from the beloved children’s books by Mo Willems, and realized through mind-bending projection, DIY cinema, music, and immersive sound by critically-acclaimed multimedia artists Manual Cinema.  

About Manual Cinema: 

The Emmy Award winning Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music to create immersive stories for stage and screen. Using vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, puppets, actors, live feed cameras, multi-channel sound design, and a live music ensemble, Manual Cinema transforms the experience of attending the cinema and imbues it with liveness, ingenuity, and theatricality. The company was awarded an Emmy Award in 2017 for “The Forger,” a video created for The New York Times and named Chicago Artists of the Year in 2018 by the Chicago Tribune. Their shadow puppet animations will be featured in the film remake of Candyman, directed by Nia DaCosta and produced by Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions.  

To date Manual Cinema has created nine feature length live multimedia theater shows; a live cinematic contemporary dance show created in collaboration with Hubbard Street Dance; an original site-specific installation for the MET Museum; an original adaptation of “Hansel & Gretel” created for the Belgian Royal Opera; music videos for Sony Masterworks, Gabriel Kahane, three time GRAMMY Award-winning eighth blackbird, NYTimes Best Selling author Reif Larson and Grammy Award winning Esperanza Spalding; a live non-fiction piece for Pop-Up Magazine; a self-produced short film; a museum exhibit created in collaboration with the Chicago History Museum; live cinematic puppet adaptations of StoryCorps stories and NPR’s Invisibilia and four animated videos for the Poetry Foundation. Manual Cinema’s Emmy Award-winning collaboration with The New York Times was nominated for a documentary short Peabody Award and won 2nd prize in the World Press Photo 2017 Digital Storytelling Contest, Long Form. 

“Chicagoans of the Year: Directors of Manual Cinema have created a whole new art form” -Chris Jones, The Chicago Tribune 

“This Chicago troupe is conjuring phantasms to die for…” -Ben Brantley, The New York Times 

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This program is made possible in part by:

National Endowment for the Arts