Puppets steal the show at Library

Jun. 25, 2014 @ 04:55 AM

Ventriloquist Steve Brogan kept the laughter flowing with his performances at the Rutherford County libraries on Tuesday.

Brogan introduced children who attended the libraries’ summer reading program to the world of ventriloquism with visits from his puppets.

He began by showing the audience how to make a puppet using his hand. He told them that’s how he started with the trade.

“This is the very first puppet I made through experiments,” Brogan told the children. “You can experiment and make your own puppets too.”

Brogan, a North Carolina-native, is a comedian and ventriloquist. His slogan is “Bringing Laughter to Life.” He mixes stand-up comedy, puppetry, audience participation, improvisation and voice manipulations for comedy-seeking audiences. He does both live shows and television and has appeared on several network shows including Good Morning America, PBS and the Today Show.

But during the summer, he performs at libraries.

“I started learning it (ventriloquism) in the library, so I have a soft spot in my heart for them. I do as many as I can during the summer,” Brogan said. “My uncle was a ventriloquist but he wouldn’t teach me. He made me go to the library and read all about it before he would teach me.”

Brogan also brought along puppets Eddy and Rodney Duckerfield. After several jokes with both puppets he let the audience try their hand at ventriloquism by giving them tips on how to talk without moving their lips.

“I like watching the kids laugh and have a great time,” Brogan said. “When I was a kid we didn’t have anything like this.”

Brogan is the second program that the Rutherford County Libraries have held this summer as part of their 2014 Summer Reading Program for children ages 2-12. This year’s theme is “Fizz, Boom, Read!” and consists of six weekly programs designed to encourage reading during the summer months.

“Surveys have shown if kids don’t read there is something called the summer slump. They can go back in their learning by two months,” Jeannie Smith, children’s librarian for the Rutherford County Library said. “This helps keep their minds active and helps them remember what they learned.”

Free programs for the three Rutherford County Libraries are held each Tuesday, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Haynes Branch Library in Henrietta. The show then moves to the Rutherford County Library at 255 Callahan-Koon Road in Spindale (next to the Health Department) at 12:30 p.m. And the day closes out after the 3:30 performance at Mountains Branch Library at 150 Bill’s Creek Road in Lake Lure.

“It’s going well, we are really excited about the programs and that enthusiasm that is catching with children,” Smith said. “They are reading more than ever.”

For more information about Brogan visit www.stevebrogan.com. For more information about summer reading programs call the Rutherford County Library at 828-287-6116.