Jul 31–Aug 24
Sep 13

Overland Park, KS

Oct 17

Madison, WI

Oct 20

Purchase, NY

Nov 02

Des Moines, IA



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

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 to scare the tuna salad out of someone? Or will it be the start of an unlikely friendship? The plot thickens when this pair meets Kerry and Frankenthaler, an even scaredier-cat and her monster friend. Kerry and Sam need to make a big decision: will they just be scaredy cats or can they become friends?

Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster uses hundreds of illustrated paper puppets, book pages, two-dimensional props, furry monster puppets, and songs to bring Mo Willems' books to life. Manual Cinema wanted to re-create the experience of holding one of Mo’s book pages, which are big, bold, colorful, and full of visual rhythm, with a playful use of scale. Like all Manual Cinema productions, you’re invited to watch the big screen like a traditional movie, or to watch the artists below as they create the story in real time. (There is no wrong way to watch the show!)


Run time is 45 minutes.

For ages 3 and up. There are some loud sounds, flashing lights, and furry monster puppets in this show!

next show

Overland Park, KS

Midwest Trust Center

13 Sep

Fri @ 6pm

Created by Manual Cinema
Inspired by the Books Leonardo, The Terrible Monster & Sam, The Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World by Mo Willems
Directed by Sarah Fornace
Leo Sam friends arm
Leo and Ms Heberdis

Images by Manual Cinema, Characters © Mo Willems

Honors & Awards

Mid atlantic arts logo white


Created by Manual Cinema

Inspired by the Books

Leonardo, The Terrible Monster and Sam, The Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World by Mo Willems


Directed by Sarah Fornace

Adaptation by Sarah Fornace and Drew Dir

Music, Lyrics & Sound Design by Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter

Puppet Design by Drew Dir and Lizi Breit

Costume & Wig Design by Mieka Van der Ploeg

Lighting Design by Trey Brazeal with Nick Chamernik

Dramaturgy by Megan Alrutz

Tour Manager & Board Operator Maydi Díaz


Leah Casey (Kerry, Puppeteer)

Lily Emerson (Narrator, Character Voices, Vocals)

Julia Miller (Sam, Puppeteer)

Lindsey Noel Whiting (Leonardo, Puppeteer)


Sarah Fornace (Sam, Puppeteer)

Anney Fresh (Leonardo, Puppeteer)

Kevin Michael Wesson (Leonardo, Puppeteer)

Shay Turnage (Kerry, Puppeteer)


Ann Delaney (Narrator, Character Voices, Vocals)

Commissioned by The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts with additional commissioning support from Utah Presents

Special Thanks to David Kilpatrick, Chicago Children's Theater and Laura Colby

Touring support for Edinburgh Fringe Festival was generously provided by The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation's USArtists International Grant

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