For These Kansas City Puppeteers, Finding Something New In ‘Oz’ Means Toto Has To Go “Being in Kansas — holy crap — we just get inundated,” says Matt Hawkins, the puppet designer for Paul Mesner Puppet Theater’s production of The Wizard of Oz. “Every truck stop is full of Wizard of Oz.” So why would Mike Horner, the company’s artistic director, bother with yet another production of the story? “We look for titles people want to see and are familiar with. So, The Wizard of Oz, everybody knows it. And it lends itself well to adaption in puppetry,” Horner says. “When you can make a Tin Man that looks robotic and obviously isn’t some guy in a shiny suit, that’s part of the magic of puppetry.” Hawkins is a Kansas City paper sculptor who has created 3-D cardboard Star Wars puzzles for Costco and high-end art for Walt Disney World galleries. This was his first foray into puppet design. The Paul Mesner Puppet Theater’s The Wizard of Oz, June 20 through July 9 at Musical Theater Heritage at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd, Suite 301, Kansas City, Missouri, 64108.