Cynthia Von Orthal
Cynthia Von Orthal is a graduate of The Goodman School of Drama, DePaul University and has performed at a variety of Chicago Theaters including, The Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, Victory Gardens and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
While at Hystopolis Puppet Theater,
Von Orthal won an International UNIMA Award for Excellence in Puppetry Arts
for her co-creation of an all puppet version of The Adding Machine, by Elmer Rice.
After studying puppetry at the Trejnar Puppet Studio in Prague, Czech Republic, Cynthia started
VonOrthal Puppets which creates and performs puppetry for children and adults, as well as designing and building large scale puppets for companies
such as The Joffrey Ballet, Redmoon, CityLit Theater and Lifeline Theatre Company.
VonOrthal Puppets has also toured extensively in South and Central America, including The Titiritay Festival in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for
Spirits of the Earth at Machu Picchu, Peru and The Galatic Mayan Project, for
The Unification of the Mayan Elders at Tikal in Peten, Guatemala.
Film and Television credits include: Roseanne, Early Edition, Chicago PD, and Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission.
Tiffany Lange is a medical illustrator and puppet designer currently living in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mixed-media work explores the whimsical and weird, while striving to lighten the heart of the viewer.
Lange currently teaches puppetry design in Baltimore and has co-created puppets and creatures with Cynthia Von Orthal for a range of national clientele, including: Berwyn Avenue at Chicago's Raven Theatre and Don Quixote for The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. Lange and Von Orthal were recommissioned by The Joffrey Ballet to create props and costumes for the critically acclaimed re-visioning of The Nutcracker, which premiered December 2016.
Lange is currently expanding her focus to include children's book illustration and pediatric education.
Paul Von Mertens
Paul Von Mertens is a Chicago-based composer/arranger and a performer on saxophone, flute, clarinet and harmonica. He has been a member of the Brian Wilson Band since 1999 and is currently music director.
He has played and recorded with a variety of artists including Mavis Staples, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Stereolab, Poi Dog Pondering, Wilco, Kim Deal and Aluminum Group.
Paul joined Brian for The Beach Boys 50th anniversary world tour and for the 2021 documentary about Brian's life,
Long Promised Road.
Von Mertens orchestra arrangements have been performed by Poi Dog Pondering, Chicago Sinfonietta, Boston Pops, Grant Park Orchestra and Kennedy Center Opera players.
Writing credits include music for Steppenwolf Theatre, the Peabody Award-winning documentary The Lost Children of Rockdale County and Merchants of Cool for Frontline.
Paul and his wife, Cynthia Von Orthal, have created original puppet musicals Akuba's Dream, The Yellow Wallpaper,
A White Heron and Tara's Story for