Brad Brewer is the founder of New York City’s Brewery Puppet Troupe. As a child in the Soundview projects in the Bronx, Brad was obsessed with the art of puppetry, which he learned from puppeteers Kermit Love, Jim Henson, and Frank Oz. Brad is the creator, designer and builder of the “Crowtations,” four internationally known singing and “dancing” soulful crow puppets.
Brad was born in Washington D.C. in 1954. He was raised in Bronx, New York where he began his interest in puppets. At the age of five Brad would watch Paul Winston, a ventriloquist, on television. It was this tv show that sparked his interest in puppets. Soon thereafter his parents would bring him to puppet shows in town. They bought a dummy for him that he practiced with. In first grade he put on his first show. In the next few years, when he was 7 or 8 years old his interest expanded to include puppets. By the age of 12 he had at least 100 different kinds of puppets. Brad and his sisters would put on productions in the basement of their house for the neighborhood. They would charge admission for the shows which were elaborate. Brewer would create the sets with the help of his family, most of whom are artistically inclined. His uncle, mother and grandfather all have the artistic trait, however did not go professional with it as Brad did. His mother is a painter. He grew up in an environment being exposed to art. This enriched him and his parents nurtured and encouraged his interest in puppets and the art of puppeteering.
From the age of 13 to 22, Brad gave up pursuing his interest. In college it resurfaced when he had to do an art project for his class illustrating the utilization of space. His project was so successful that he and a few of his friends decided to venture off and explore other avenues to expand and puppeteering. In 1970 Brad and some friends began a puppet company called the Brewery. When the company began there were 8 woman and Brad. However, as the productions changed, so did the personnel. The Brewery would do shows in New York City and gained entry to unlikely places such as concerts, movies and TV shows.
Brad and company have worked with Melvin Van Peebles, Chaka Khan, Spike Lee, Harold Nicholas, David Brenner, the Four Tops, Mr. Rogers, Ron Carter, Oscar Brown, Jr., and Ron Howard, to name a few. His troupe is the only African American puppet company to appear on Broadway, in a major motion picture, and on network television.
Several of his puppets are in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. and were recently featured at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry.
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