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National TV Christmas Special Featuring Puppets Has Orlando Origins

December 24th, 2013 | WMFE - A Christmas special airing on television across the nation Tuesday night has Central Florida roots.

The CBS special, called “A New York Christmas to Remember,” stars Regis Philbin and features Bible lessons, Christmas carols…and a version of the Nativity Story performed by puppets and born in Florida. It was conceived by Jane Henson, wife of the late Jim Henson and Muppets co-creator, and originally written by Sean Keohane of Orlando.

Keohane runs Pinocchio's Marionette Theater in Altamonte Springs. He says the show was first a touring stage production driven by Jane Henson's longtime passion.

“For years, I would hear passing references from her or her daughter Heather that she wanted to work on a show where Nativity figures came to life and they acted out the story from the Bible of the birth of baby Jesus,” says Keohane.

Jane Henson designed the puppets at her family's home in Windermere, even sculpting some of the central characters.

Keohane says the special is in part a tribute to Henson, who passed away earlier this year. Her daughter Heather, a Central Florida resident, will also be performing in the special.

The puppets for the show were built by the Jim Henson Company’s Creature Shop.


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