I’m really getting excited about the tour, which starts next month. It’s all coming together, and our two cheesy movies are really special, adorably bad movies, as you have come to expect.
In “No Retreat, No Surrender,” a self-conscious teen becomes a martial arts master under the tutelage of Bruce Lee’s ghost. Featuring fresh-faced Jean-Claude Van Damme as a brooding hit man and a Bruce Lee lookalike, who looks nothing like Bruce Lee.
“Circus of Horrors” is a garish 1960s British thriller showcasing colorful circus acts, plastic surgery, and animal attacks by stagehands in fur suits. Warning: Features pop hit “Look for a Star” over and over again.
And, I’m thrilled our writers from the Netflix series and the last two tours have joined us again, including Jonah Ray, Tim Ryder, Rebecca Hanson, Matt Conant, Grant Baciocco, Mary Robinson, Matt McGinnis and Harold Buchholz, along with head writer, Elliott Kalan.
I am also very glad to have the opportunity to go on the road with such a talented and engaging group of performers. The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour is live, and it really is all about what’s happening on stage when you are “in the room” with us. We worked really hard to find those performers who projected that “anything-can-happen” energy that has made our two previous national tours such a unique experience for almost a hundred thousand people.
Let’s meet the cast.
Grant Baciocco and Nate Begle will be our lead puppeteers and will take turns playing Crow over the course of the tour. Of course, Grant is our lead puppeteer for the TV series, and also originated the character of M. Waverly. He suggested Nate to co-Crow with him, and Nate’s got so much talent, and is one of the most funny and natural puppeteers I’ve ever seen. I’m looking forward to what he brings to the Crow lexicon.
The hilarious Yvonne Freese is going to be playing Gypsy, and a new character, Mega-Synthia, who happens to be a clone of both Pearl Forrester AND Synthia. Yvonne did not include this in her bio, but she was a runner up for Princess Kay of the Milky Way at the Minnesota State Fair, and hence has had a butter sculpture made of her.
Emily Marsh is one serious puppeteer, and by serious, I mean really talented, and really funny. She’ll be behind the scenes performing Cambot, and doubling Tom Servo, Crow, and Gypsy. She’ll also be playing the part of “Crenshaw” who is our resident Circus Rigger and maintenance woman.
Conor McGiffin is new to puppetry but did somethings when he auditioned with Tom Servo that really made us laugh. And he has a wonderful singing voice, and we really wanted Tom to have great vocal chops. Fun fact, Conor played the role of Captain Hook that Kelsey Grammer originated in Finding Neverland for the National Touring Company.
I want to thank this cast for joining the team. Their bios are below. Can’t wait for you to meet them all when we get to your town!
Grant is thrilled to be on his third national tour of MST3K LIVE. He puppeteers on the Netflix series of Mystery Science Theater 3000 where he is the lead puppeteer on Crow T. Robot as well as playing M. Waverly. Other puppetry credits include work with The Jim Henson Company, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. He is also the creator of the character Toiley T. Paper who has close to a million followers on TikTok.
Nate has puppeteered for film, TV, and stage. He has worked alongside and trained with colleagues from The Jim Henson Company, Sesame Street, Universal Studios and The Walt Disney Company, where he was an opening cast member in Walt Disney World’s new Muppet Show. For his voice work, in addition to the many commercials, video games, children’s shows and audiobooks, he can currently be heard as the promo voice and announcer for The Wendy Williams and Jerry O Shows! Nate is on record as saying, how much “MST3K is very much a part of who I am as a person and performer. It informed my sense of humor, and fed into my love of movies, comedy AND puppetry!”
Yvonne is ecstatic to be a part of the MST3K tour! Raised on a farm outside of Lanesboro, MN, Yvonne moved to Minneapolis and has been performing and teaching throughout the Midwest after graduating from Northern State University. Past performances include; performing with Garrison Keillor on “A Prairie Home Companion,” Linda in Spandex the Musical, Sarah in High Fidelity and Felice in Love Comics. She appears regularly on the radio program CoCo’s Barrio with Teatro del Pueblo.
Emily is a puppeteer, singer, and actor based out of New York City. Most recently Emily was a puppeteer on the BBC TV Show Moon and Me, the newest show created by Andy Davenport, creator of Teletubbies, which debuted in the US on Universal Kids this spring. Emily was also the puppeteer for ‘Slingy,’ Sling TV’s newest slinger in their new commercial campaign with a puppet built by Muppets veteran Tim Clarke. Emily has also performed theatrical puppetry all over the country. Favorite credits have included Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta and Gruff: An Eco-Puppet Musical with Doppleskope Theatre Company in New York City. Emily has been a MST3K fan since childhood and is beyond thrilled to be performing in the live tour.
Conor McGiffin is fulfilling a childhood dream to be a part of this hilarious show as Tom Servo. Hanging with Crow, Cambot, Gypsy, and Joel, is the professional thrill of his life! His most recent productions include Finding Neverland (National Tour), A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder (National Tour), Hairspray(Argyle Theatre), and Bullets Over Broadway (First National Tour). When he is not touring, he can be found teaching master classes of musical theatre in his hometown of Dover, DE and he’d like to thank his family for introducing him to MST3K.