“You can’t see ‘the big picture’ without all those lovely little details.”
Noel is the host of The Show Me Show — and the only human performer of the cast played by Noel MacNeal, who’s always ready to show you a good time. It’s in his blood: Noel comes from a long line of showmen — and show women. With The Show Me Show, Noel manages to combine his theatrical talents and cleverness for crafts with his love of games and surprises. He’s found his true calling: to be a “showman” and ignite imaginations and heighten the audience’s curiosity. (“Is this a great job or what?”)
Noel wants us all to marvel, be inspired by, and appreciate every aspect of that day’s “guest star:” a shape, a color, a number, or a sound. Fynnias and Taylor immediately wonder how (the heck) can they do an entire show about the sound of “laughter” or the number “four.” But Noel’s excitement is infectious: in no time, everyone is gung-ho to show us what they have to offer. Noel knows there are no limits to the imagination. (“So let’s all figure out a show — together!”)
And being a puppeteer, Noel loves to “make” new friends. He created Fynnias, Taylor, and Nona and he encourages everyone to be a part of the show — especially YOU! Dancing duets with Nona the Invented Yak, helping Taylor create a new song, or pretending with Fynnias, Noel knows The Show Me Show will be a true spectacle. And if we all happen to learn something new as well, that’s even better than an encore. (“Genius!”)
Noel launched his career on Sesame Street, where he honed his craft with puppetry legends Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Noel was “Bear,” the gentle and lovable star of the Emmy Award-winning series Disney’s Bear in the Big Blue House and its spin-off series Breakfast with Bear, and received a Daytime Emmy Nomination as “Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series.” Noel is also a television writer, director, and author of the how-to books 10-Minute Puppets with Noel MacNeal and BOX! Castles, Kitchens, and Other Cardboard Creations for Kids. Noel is also the resident puppeteer for the HBO series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
Noel lives in Brooklyn with his wife, novelist Susan Elia MacNeal, (of the Maggie Hope Mysteries) and ten-year-old son, Matt (a budding puppeteer).
“Hey! Listen to this!”
He’s got an endless amount of energy and eagerness. But doesn’t every five-year-old? Fynnias loves to pretend. He has a HUGE imagination (that doesn’t have an off-button). That fascinates Noel: he never knows what Fynnias will think of next. If Fynnias gets to play Baby Bear he’ll practice his lines (“Someone’s eaten my porridge.”), and start to enhance the part (“Someone’s eaten my porridge! And it’s all gone? Look out everybody! There’s a ‘porridge thief’ loose!”). Noel even lets Fynnias make up his own “play” for them to act out. Which can turn into quite the epic.
Noel always encourages Fynnias, and Nona cheers him on. They’ll often get roped into his scenario of the moment. (“Okay. You guys sit here and look out for pirates while K and I bury the treasure.”) Taylor, too, is not immune to her little brother’s charm: he’s got that winning smile and those expressive eyes. You gotta love him for just trying new things. (“Like Noel says, ‘You haven’t failed if you’ve tried.’”)
“You know what? The rhythm IS gonna get ya!”
Taylor is a bright and gifted eight-year-old girl with a quick wit. She knows she wants to be a professional singer when she grows up. Noel has already heard the talent in her; the girl is constantly humming, scatting, and singing, even songs she’s made up on the spot. You know how people sometimes think out loud? Well, Taylor does, too — except she’ll sing out loud. (“I’ll sing here/then sing over there/and sing this part/ with this!/Yes!”) Noel always lets Taylor sing in the show (“The rhymes don’t always fit but, I’m working on it.”). And she’s proud to be the show’s singer. She’ll gather everything she needs for her zydeco version of “Old McDonald” (with Nona, Fynnias, and Noel as the animals), but she might re-organize the song until it becomes a rap version.
It can also be frustrating finding out what the star will be, just as the show starts. If only Taylor knew in advance, she could have everything ready to go. A complete run-down planned to the last detail, with no margin for error. But she’s learning you just can’t predict the unpredictable (“Hey, stuff happens.”). Even though Taylor’s very organized, she’s still a kid and knows how to have fun. She loves playing games, and she’s very good at the ones she makes up. She’s protective of Fynnias, despite her impatience with him. Nona’s the lovely, furry grandmother she never knew she wanted, and Noel is the best friend-who-can-craft-anything a girl could ask for. (“If only he would stop telling those corny puns.”)
“I’m ready for my close-up, Razzle.”
Nona is the old (“Excuse me?”) . . . er, sorry, Nona.
Nona’s the mature (“That’s better.”) yak who is Noel’s best friend and confidante. In fact, Noel never has to ask for her opinion because she’ll always be ready to give it, no matter what. She can go on a bit and occasionally get off topic, but she always manages to make her point. This yak is NOT shy. (“Why, thank you . . . I think.”)
She’s an “invented” yak from this-and-that Noel had on hand. She always has time if Taylor needs someone to just listen to her newest song or Fynnias needs a volunteer for his latest made-up story. And above all she is a great dancer — it’s her passion. Nona loves teaching and learning new dance moves. And why not; with four legs she’s a real “hoofer”! (“Get it? Hooves?. . . Oh, never mind.”)