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Pirate Song

by Scott Test

Paulette the pirate princess isn't happy singing the pirate song that’s been passed down for generations. Resisting her parents wishes, she sets off on a world-wide, musical journey searching for her own song with her dog Waffle by her side. On her trek around the globe, Paulette is inspired by animal friends who reveal their cultures through song.

Original book and music by Scott Test showcases eight beautiful new songs that rival any Broadway musical. “Pirate Song”, based on an original story idea by artistic director, David Manley, features a cast of hand-crafted puppets in varying styles.

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Helping Drew

by Alex Ishkanian

Helping Drew is a musical puppet show with an anti-bullying message perfect for kindergarten through 5th grade elementary school students. This 30-minute program helps students recognize bullying and look for solutions within themselves and with the help of others. Students and adults are instantly endeared to the puppet characters and the fun music which moves the lesson along. It's both entertaining and educational on this important subject of bullying. The program was designed for school assemblies and can easily be used in libraries or other educational and entertainment settings.

See the five-and-a-half minute profile about Helping Drew which aired on the New Jersey PBS television program Classroom Close-up.


Every child can identify with Helping Drew, whether they are the bully, the child being bullied, or the bystander. Helping Drew creates a friendly environment for discussing peer-to-peer aggression and provides children with a solution. This is the best anti-bullying program I have seen offered!
Crisan M. Crozzoli, Olweus Bully Prevention Committee Coordinator, M.S. Childhood Education, Balmville Elementary Classroom Teacher
Our students and staff were very pleased with the anti-bullying assembly delivered by Mr. David Manley. The program Helping Drew was very focused and delivered in such a remarkable way that our students were completely captivated with its delivery. Our kindergarten through 2nd grade students were excited and fully engaged in the program. It was a great learning experience for our students.
Dr. Maloy, Administrator, New Windsor Elementary School, New Windsor, NY
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Monster Intelligence

by Alex Ishkanian

In Monster Intelligence, Melvin the monster is another year older but still not old enough for his license to scream. His birthday wish changes that and the Division for Monster Screams grants his wish on the condition of passing his test. Learning this new information can be difficult for Melvin and he sets off on a quest to learn with his friend Red the Rat by his side. Populated by a cast of friendly, colorful monster characters and original songs from rock to classical, jazz, pop, and Broadway standards, makes this a journey never to forget. Self-reflection on how one learns best is an invaluable and life-long tool. As the audience watches Melvin's journey, learning with the help of a friend, they will internalize the importance of their own self driven quest for knowledge. Audiences will identify with the various learning styles and gain confidence to tap into their own "monster intelligence." This is a Broadway-style musical for the entire family. Download the "Monster Intelligence" photo collage PDF for our updated set images.


Monster Intelligence is sweet, funny, educational and a rockin' good time for the entire family!
Joni Falvey, Mother of three and Owner, Duezy Productions
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Tortoise & Hare's Race to Health

by Alex Ishkanian

additional music by Scott Test

On your mark, get set, read! That’s what Benjamin Booksmart does to help his friend Terrence the Tortoise as he prepares for another race with Henry the Hare. Inspired by Aesop’s famous fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare”, a cast of colorful, fun puppet friends find different solutions, with help from books, to prepare us all for a race EVERYONE can win–­becoming our HEALTHIEST SELF! Through interactive songs and movement, Benjamin and his friends will keep the entire audience happy, healthy and engaged!

"Tortoise & Hare's Race to Health" incorporates important health fundamentals such as physical activity, mental positivity and, the health benefits of a diet which includes fresh fruits and vegetables. A health and wellness adventure for ages 3 through 8. Run-time approximately 40 minutes.


I have been running summer performer programs here for 26 years, and Up in Arms was one of the best quality, fun, educational, audience-engaging shows I've seen!
Ginny Figlia, Head of Youth Services, Howland Public Library
Even the adults had a good time! I would absolutely recommend this show to any library or school looking for an educational show that's also very funny and entertaining.
Maryellen Liddy, Supervising Librarian - Youth Services, Denville Public Library
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Welcome Park

by Alex Ishkanian

Welcome Park is opening a new visitor center and Bunny and his friends want to get in on the act. They approach Park Ranger Ned with the idea that they could teach visitors about the seasons. Ned is worried because each has a bad habit that could interfere with each one doing their best work: Bunny rushes through things; Dog gets herself so nervous she can barely speak; Bee tries to do too many things at once. What will Ned and the audience decide about their readiness to work in the new visitor center?

This crowd pleasing show is for ages 3 through 8. Welcome Park engages children with laughter while they learn about paying attention and improving their listening skills.


The ability to listen, as well as to understand and to remember what is said, is an important early literacy skill. The playwright has found a way for the audience to focus on these skills through a fun-filled scenario of three children as they each struggle to learn, by listening, the facts needed for a presentation on our four seasons. As the story unfolds, the audience is made aware of the ways that our listening, understanding and memory can be affected each day. In this case, the listening errors result in funny answers that rhyme, or begin or end with the same sounds as the information given. The children loved this and caught on right away! They were able to hear how the different errors in listening were made. What a great way for children to learn about this early literacy practice. This was a well written, engaging, educational play that reaches children’s minds and hearts in a delightful way.
Deborah Hill
Adjunct Professor of Literacy, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NY
Retired elementary classroom and reading teacher, Newburgh Enlarged City School District
Education Consultant, K-12 Literacy
President, Board of Union Nursery School, Newburgh, NY
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Waffle & Friends: A Puppet Palooza

by Up In Arms

Waffle & Friends is an engaging, half-hour puppet variety show including a fun, modern retelling of a classic tale, original music, sing-along, move-along and featuring endearing puppet friends. Waffle, the adorable dog emcee, introduces his friends (in varying puppet styles) to perform fun skits for the audience. Each skit lasts under 5 minutes giving our audience plenty to keep them engaged while also providing a valuable opportunity for learning and development. Not only is the show perfect for birthdays and celebrations, but it also seamlessly integrates into early learning environments from pre-school, kindergarten and beyond.

Waffle & Friends Holiday Hoopla uses the same format with all-new holiday themed skits. Perfect for families, friends, and anyone looking to make cherished memories during the holiday season, this musical holiday puppet variety show is the ultimate festive treat.


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Intro to Professional Puppet Building

5-Hour Workshop

With the Up In Arms Lemming Puppet, students will create their own 14” mouth/rod puppet with permanent arm rods. Students will employ basic hand and machine sewing skills, fashion a basic mouth plate, use an X-Acto (razor), scissors, hot glue and contact cement and complete their puppet with professional style eyes and fur/hair. This is a SKILLS workshops, not a craft. With hot glue, needles, scissors and razors, the skill-set required for this workshop is teen through adult. Younger builders permitted on a per-case basis and may require adult accompaniment.

$100/student. Minimum class size: 6. Maximum class size: 10. Materials included.

Upcoming workshop:

Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 10 AM – 3 PM
Grit Works, 115 Broadway, Newburgh, New York 12550
Teen - Adult, $100, Materials Provided
See our facebook event for details or email
FREE All ages demo and exhibit from 3:30 - 4:30 PM.
Snow date January 18, 2020.

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2-Day Professional Puppet Building

Monster Workshop

With a professional puppet pattern designed specially for this Up In Arms workshop, students will create their own 21” television-style, mouth/rod puppet with permanent arm rods. Students will take home their own monster puppet and pattern. Students will employ basic hand and machine sewing skills, fashion a simple mouth plate, learn to work with and trim fur, use an X-Acto (razor), scissors, epoxy and contact cement and complete their puppet with professional style eyes. This is a SKILLS workshop, not a craft. With epoxy, needles, scissors and razors, the skill-set required for this workshop is teen through adult. Younger builders permitted on a per-case basis and may require adult accompaniment.

$320/student. Minimum class size: 6. Maximum class size: 10. Materials included.

Upcoming workshop:

No workshop scheduled at this time.

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Puppetry 101

Performance & Manipulation Basics

Puppetry 101 is an introduction to performing mouth/rod puppetry. A one-hour or two-hour workshop can be presented depending on the age of the group. This workshop is perfect for theatre academy/ camp groups, after-school programs or the aspiring adult puppeteer. Puppet performance principles such as lip sync, focus, rod control and movement are covered. Along with reinforcing important puppetry basics, the workshop exercises engage hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills.

Workshop groups up to 20 students. $150/hr. E-mail to book a workshop for your group.

"This was a well written, engaging, educational play that reaches children’s minds and hearts in a delightful way."

Deborah Hill - Adjunct Professor of Literacy, Mount Saint Mary College

About Us

  • David Manley

    Up In Arms

    Production Company

    Up In Arms prides itself in presenting quality shows in a fun, family musical style. We create engaging soundscapes with professional voice actors in the studio and perform our shows with professional puppeteers. While including current curriculum standards, the shows play well from an elementary school assembly program to a main-stage theater show. Whether addressing the subject of bullying in “Helping Drew”, listening skills in “Welcome Park”, different ways to learn (Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences) in “Monster Intelligence” or, health, fitness and wellness in “Tortoise & Hare’s Race to Health”, the entertainment value shines through while the educational message is clear. Whether for schools, a theater presentation, a library show, events or festivals, an Up In Arms story is one our audiences never forget. While based in the Hudson Valley region of New York, Up In Arms travels nationally and has performed from all over New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts to tours in Maryland, Michigan, North Dakota and Las Vegas. Our set-up easily breaks down to travel cases which can fly with us to any national or international booking.

  • David "Dov" Manley

    Artistic Director/Puppeteer

    David was influenced by the puppet genius of Jim Henson at a young age and went on to perform his first public puppet show at 11 years old. A performer in local theatre, David enjoyed roles on and off stage for over 30 years. Discovering puppet building in 2006, he partnered with local theatre and art centers teaching students the basics of puppet performance and puppet building techniques. David studied puppet manipulation with Noel MacNeal and Marty Robinson, both performers with Sesame Workshop, along with former Henson performer Michael Earl. David formed his puppet company Up In Arms in 2012 which gained notoriety for its premiere production “Helping Drew”, the anti-bullying puppet musical, performing to thousands of students in its first year.

  • Alex Ishkanian


    Elementary school educator Alex Ishkanian combines his passion for the performing arts and his education background to create engaging, dramatic programming for elementary-school-aged students. Alex has written the book and music for Up In Arms' premiere anti-bullying puppet musical "Helping Drew" and continues their creative partnership penning new shows. With a bachelor's degree in Theater Arts and a master's degree in Elementary Education, Alex has a knack for creating outstanding, heart-felt educational shows that appeal to audiences of all ages.

  • Scott Test

    Writer / Music Producer

    Music teacher, songwriter and, a teller of stories, Scott pulls his influence from a wide variety of traditions; from 1800s folk songs to singer-songwriter standards from the 70s and modern top 40. Scott’s versatility as a musician helped polish the various styles of music for “Monster Intelligence” where he made his debut with Up In Arms as an orchestrator, music co-writer and voice of lead monster Melvin. Scott wrote two original songs for “Tortoise & Hare’s Race to Health” and steps up to the helm as writer on Up In Arms’ fifth musical, “Pirate Song”.

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