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Puppet power plays at York County libraries

Bill Kalina
York Dispatch

“Alice and Jimmy’s Epic Rock Dream” features a main character who wanted to be a rock star. Adam Swartz, who wrote and presents the puppetry performance, admits to an autobiographical connection.

Puppeteer Adam Swartz waits to take the stage with puppet Jimmy as Kate Leous, 16, performs with Alice during the original show “Alice and Jimmy’s Epic Rock Dream” at the Mason Dixon Public Library in Stewartstown Wednesday, June 27, 2018. The interactive show features music, comedy and lessons for young people. The show was written by Swartz, of State College, who tours as Adam Swartz Puppets. The show is being performed at 13 York County Libraries from June 26-29 and July 2 as part of the 2018 SummerQuest: Libraries Rock! program. For show times go to www.yorklibraries.org. Bill Kalina photo

"It's not so much the rock star, it's a shy awkward person wanting to be a performer," he said. "I think I've done pretty well."

About 50 parents and children filled an open area at the Mason-Dixon Community Library in Stewartstown Wednesday, June 27, to watch his hourlong show, which features music, comedy and some lessons for the kids.

Like any good Pixar movie, Swartz adds some humor for the adults to keep them engaged.

Kate Leous, 16, who worked with Adam on a show this spring, joined him to work his "summer tour" of libraries. 

Kate Leous, 16, performs as a talent agent during a performance of the original show “Alice and Jimmy’s Epic Rock Dream” at the Mason Dixon Public Library in Stewartstown Wednesday, June 27, 2018. The interactive show features music, comedy and lessons for young people. The show was written by puppeteer Adam Swartz, of State College, who tours as Adam Swartz Puppets. The show is being performed at 13 York County Libraries from June 26-29 and July 2 as part of the 2018 SummerQuest: Libraries Rock! program. For show times go to www.yorklibraries.org. Bill Kalina photo

"I don't normally do stuff during the summer," she said. "I get to perform, I love performing. It's really great."

Swartz, of State College, keeps busy with a variety of shows and workshops.

"During the summer it's libraries. Then toward the end of the summer I have my own puppet camp, and on the weekends it gets to be more festivals and fairs as we get into the fall," he said.

Swartz has a degree in integrative arts from Penn State and trained with the Brooklyn Puppet Conspiracy and Sesame Workshop puppeteers. He has been traveling the country for nearly 20 years sharing stories through his puppets, which he makes.

Of 13 shows at York County libraries this summer, the remaining shows are: 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 29, at Dover Area Community Library; 10 a.m. Monday, July 2, at Martin Library; 1:30 p.m. Monday, July 2, at Collinsville Community Library; and 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 2, at Kaltreider-Benfer Library in Red Lion.