Jun 14–Jul 08
Jul 31–Aug 24
Sep 13

Overland Park, KS

Oct 17

Madison, WI

Nov 02

Des Moines, IA

Judy Rosenthal Manual Cinema The End of TV 2

The End of TV

Set in a post-industrial Rust Belt city in the 1990s and told through a collection of original 70’s R&B-inspired art pop songs, The End of TV explores the quest to find meaning amongst the increasingly constant barrage of commercial images and advertising white-noise. Two sides of the American Dream — its technicolor promise as delivered through TV ads, and its failure, witnessed in the dark reality of industrial decline — are staged in cinematic shadow puppetry and lo-fi live video feeds with flat paper renderings of commercial products. The show is driven by a sweeping chamber art pop song cycle performed live by a five-piece band.

The End of TV premiered in June, 2017 as a commission by The International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, CT.

Premiered in June, 2017

Created by Manual Cinema
Screenplay & Original Score By Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter
Directed by Julia Miller

The End of TV depicts the promise and decline of the American rust belt, through the stories of Flo and Louise, both residents of a fictional Midwestern city. Flo is an elderly white woman who was once a supervisor at the thriving local auto plant. Now succumbing to dementia, the memories of her life are tangled with television commercials and the “call now” demands of QVC. Louise, a young black woman laid off from her job when the same local auto plant closes, meets Flo when she takes a job as a Meals-on-Wheels driver. An unlikely relationship grows as Flo approaches the end of her life and Louise prepares for the invention of a new one. Their story is intercut with commercials and TV programs, the constant background of their environment.

Commissioning and Support

Arts and Ideas

Honors & Awards

Elliot norton award


Created by Manual Cinema

Screenplay & Original Score By Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter

Directed by Julia Miller


Adapted for the screen by Lizi Breit, Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Julia Miller, Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter

Storyboards by Julia Miller

Stage Manager Shelby Sparkle

Production Manager & Sound Engineer Mike Usrey

Music by Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter

Sound Design by Kyle Vegter

Puppet Designby Lizi Breit

Associate Puppet Designer and Story Board Artist Drew Dir

Puppet Build Interns Zofia Lu Ya Zhang and Kathryn Ann Shivak

Assistant Director Sarah Fornace

Costumes and Wigs by Mieka van der Ploeg

Lighting Design by Claire Chrzan

Shadow Masks by Julia Miller


Kara Davidson (Flo/Puppeteer)

Aneisa Hicks (Louise/Puppeteer)

Jeffry Paschal (Ensemble/Puppeteer)

Vanessa Valliere (Ensemble/Puppeteer)


Maren Celest (Vocals, Live Sound FX, Live Video Mixing)

Deidre Huckabay (Flutes, Vocals)

Ben Kauffman (Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard)

Lia Kohl (Cello, Vocals)

Marques Toliver (Vocals, Violin)


Sharaina L. Turnage (Louise/Puppeteer)

Nora Barton (Cello, Vocals)

Robin Meiksins (Flutes, Vocals)

Kamaria Woods (Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard)

Ryan Zerna (Flutes, Vocals)

sign up for our newsletter!