Mallory Lewis and Lamb Chop
Part of the 2009 Summer Series
When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Pearce Auditorium at Brenau University, 500 Washington St. SE, Gainesville
How much: $10 adults, $8 students and children
Other events in the series
Benny Anderson and The Drifters
When: 8 p.m. July 17
Where: On the green at the Smithgall Arts Center, 331 Spring St. SW, Gainesville
How much: $25 or $240 for table for eight
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
When: 8 p.m. July 24 (gates open at 6)
Where: On the green at the Smithgall Arts Center
How much: $25
More info: 770-534-2787 or The Arts Council
ATLANTA — When you have a good character, and the ability to continue its legacy for generations, why not?
That’s the thinking behind Mallory Lewis and Lamb Chop, a children’s character her mother, Shari, created in the 1960s who befriended millions of children watching Shari’s show on TV in first New York and later on PBS. After Shari’s death in 1998, her daughter Mallory slowly started to carry the torch for Lamb Chop.
And luckily, Lewis has found a following for the next generation of Lamb Chop fans, keeping the feisty little sheep’s spirit alive in live stage performances like the one Sunday at Pearce Auditorium in Gainesville.
“Lamb Chop is a fully formed character in oh so many ways,” said Lewis, in Atlanta recently to kick off the Center for Puppetry Arts’ Puppets Take Atlanta and Beyond festival. Lamb Chop is the face of the festival, which is taking advantage of international puppeteers coming to the city for a conference by scheduling performances throughout the month.
Growing up, Lewis was able to become intimately aware of the nuances that made up Lamb Chop, helping her mother write and produce TV shows. She ghost-wrote her mother’s newspaper column and, by age 12, was also a puppeteer.
“When I wrote my third column my mom says I demanded my own byline,” Lewis said. “I loved working with my mom. As a producer all you want is a great talent.”
Today, that family tradition continues with her son, Jamie, 10. Like his mother, he’s cut his teeth doing behind-the-scenes work and recently has begun handling all the sound cues for her shows.
“He started when he was 8. We were in New Jersey and the sound guy didn’t show up because his car ran off the road, and I get this call as I’m pulling into a 2,500-seat theater,” she said. “And I’m like, ‘Jamie, what am I going to do?’ And he goes, ‘How hard can it be? I’ve watched Dad.’ And I had no choice.”
Jamie pulled off the show flawlessly, Lewis said, even selling DVDs at the end of the performance.
“I went to go talk to my cousins,” she added. “When we came back he was asleep on the sound board.”
Although Jamie won’t be helping his mom at Sunday’s show, she said the afternoon performance will be great for kids of all ages — and parents, too.
“It’s a full stage production show, a full one-hour show with music, dancing, audience participation,” Lewis said. “Bring the family. It is completely appropriate for children; it’s certainly aimed at them. But at the same time there’s things there for the adults to enjoy that the kids just won’t get.”