March 13 Puppet Forum Will Celebrate Manteo Family’s Sicilian Puppetry in New York City

Tony De Nonno and a Sicilian marionette. Photo courtesy Tony De Nonno.

Join us Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ballard Institute to welcome producer-writer-director Tony De Nonno in a celebration of the Manteo Family Sicilian marionette tradition, which for many decades in the early 20th century was a hallmark of New York City’s cultural life.   De Nonno’s lecture, presentation, and marionette demonstration will feature live performances of the colorful and vivid Sicilian marionette tradition, as well as a screening of De Nonno’s film about the Manteo Family, It’s One Family: Knock on Wood.

Showcasing the extraordinary power of Sicilian marionettes with puppets from the Manteo Family collection, De Nonno will take us on an enlightening journey into the life and legacy of puppeteers Mike and Aida Manteo and their children and grandchildren, a family bound together by a Sicilian folk tradition that spans a century in America, from the moment when the Manteo Marionette Theater was first established on Mulberry Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy in 1918.

Aida Manteo Grillo with Orlando, hero of Sicilian puppetry. Photo courtesy Tony De Nonno.

De Nonno’s presentation will engage the audience as active participants to marvel at the marionettes, resplendent in their suits of armor, who will strut, walk, talk and engage in battle-ready combat stances with chivalrous aplomb.

De Nonno will then introduce It’s One Family: Knock on Wood, his award-winning, nationally broadcast PBS Network documentary about the Manteos.

“I am looking forward to sharing this magnificent and enduring art form with everyone in attendance at the Ballard Museum of Puppetry,” Mr. De Nonno has said; “and especially revealing to them how the glorious Sicilian Marionette tradition contributed greatly to the birth of literature, history and so much more. It will be a joyous and memorable experience for all.”

Aida Manteo Grillo, “Papa” Mike Manteo, and Leo. Photo courtesy Tony De Nonno.

This event is free, and donations are greatly appreciated.  Refreshments will be served.  For directions to the Ballard Institute see this link.

For more info about Tony De Nonno please visit:

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