Paul Mesner Puppets’ 'Rapunzel' features fun, puns for children and adults

Fairy tales never grow old, but that doesn’t mean new life can’t be breathed into them. Thus, the classic story “Rapunzel” gets a new twist courtesy of the Paul Mesner Puppet company at the Lawrence Arts Center Saturday.

Poor farmers Okra and Romaine have a beautiful daughter, Rapunzel. But an evil witch forced Romaine to promise her his first-born. She returns to make good on the claim, taking the child and locking her away in a tower. But when a handsome prince comes along, Rapunzel hatches a plan to leaf happily ever alfalfa.

“He does things with his stories that appeal to children,” Linda Reimond, director of LAC’s arts-based preschool, says, noting the vegetable puns in the ad. “But he makes it easy for adults to sit through it too. He makes sure it’s fun for adults as well as kids.”

There’s more to the show than just the cute story, of course. Like any good fairy tale, there are life lessons to be learned. Mesner also lets his young audience look behind the scenes.

“He stays after the performance to show kids the puppets and how they work,” Reimond says. Based in Kansas City and performing for 25 years now, Mesner’s puppet company has been coming to the Arts Center for four or five years now.

“It’s always very popular,” Reimond says.

Tickets are $5.50, and all the proceeds benefit the arts-based preschool scholarship fund.

“We have 130 students,” Reimond says, “and approximately 20 percent of them receive some form of financial aid.”

There are two shows Saturday: one at 10 a.m. and a second at 1 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 785-843-2787 or online at


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