Puppet Artisans


The sets and the props for The Guild of Thespian Puppets live shows and videos are designed and crafted by Melissa Lopez.

M Lopez Bio PicMelissa Lopez

Melissa Lopez partakes in various hobbies, which include watching anime, playing video games, drinking coffee, and crafting.

She dabbles with origami, portrait sketching, knitting, and anything else that grabs her attention – most recently creating props and backdrops for The Guild of Thespian Puppets.

These hobbies come in handy in her work with children at the Utica Public Library.



Brian Premo and Roger Smith have contributed music for The Guild of Thespian Puppets’ live shows, videos, and movies.

Brian PremoBrian Premo

Brian Premo is a versatile singer-songwriter, born in Westmoreland, NY. Brian has a degree in Graphic Illustration and a passion for anything music related. He has played many roles in many musical projects from being a solo act,  to playing bass guitar in pit bands for musicals. In 2013 he began recording a wide variety of projects in his Utica-based studio “The Groovy Yeti,” where he continues to further expand his craft.


5c-Roger Smith Bio PicRoger Smith

Roger B. Smith was born in Rochester, NY in 1939. A writer, photographer, musician/songwriter, and visual artist, he attended Monroe Community College, Rochester, studied painting at The Art Student’s League, New York, and the San Francisco Art Institute. He worked for thirty years as a photojournalist. His photographs have appeared in The New York Times; TIME Magazine; Newsweek; RollingStone Magazine and many more publications. His book of poems, “did music die,” was published by Tiger’s Eye Press, Denver CO, in 2014. His poems have appeared in a dozen of poetry journals.

In 2011 he recorded his first CD, “Blues,” followed by “Rolling Away” (2012). His third CD, “Where I’m Going,” is scheduled for release in the spring of 2015. He is currently editing a 74 page poetry manuscript, entitled “in the garden of anything goes,” for publication in 2016. Smith lives in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains with his wife Susan and their beloved cats.



The Guild of Thespian Puppets founder Michael Patrei is the head writer along with contributions from puppeteers Garrett Ingraham, Douglas Keyes, and Justin Parker. Mike Cecconi is also a key contributing writer for The Guild.

Cecconi 1Mike Cecconi

Mike Cecconi is a writer/performer who grew up, and currently resides, in Little Falls, NY. He has worked and lived in many places doing many things but he always comes back to writing and he usually comes back home. You may know him as a singer of novelty songs, an emcee, an extra in Clerks 2, a cartoonist, for e-books on Amazon or as that tall guy who reads loudly. Along with contributions to The Guild as a writer and actor, his recent work includes a poetry collection through the Utica Poets Society entitled “This Is My Inside Voice.” Mike is a proud alum of Newhouse at Syracuse University though he’s astonished he still owes them money. Have words, will travel. No semi-colons, no Oxford Commas, all of the ellipses.



There have been many contributors who have offered their talents to The Guild of Thespian Puppets.

Adam Brockway – photographer
Chloe Daemon – puppet wardrobe
Marc Goldberg – photographer
Catherine Hood – actor
Gary Hood – actor
Jeff Suszczynski – sound and music