Jollyship the Whiz-Bang

A Pyrate Puppet Rock Odyssey

  • Book and Lyrics by Nick Jones
  • Created by Nick Jones and Raja Azar
  • Directed by Sam Gold

The ship is sinking, the captain’s a drunk, and the band is on the verge of mutiny. In the world of Jollyship, a mixed crew of pirate puppets and musicians hold out hope to find the fabled Party Island, while attempting to positively influence their incompetent captain Clamp, a puppet, hell bent on self destruction. A rock musical with merciless black humor.


“Nothing will convey the demented brilliance of Jollyship the Whiz-Bang…Ripping good rock…Mr Jones’s script is diabolically sly…you’ve never seen anything like it!”
-New York Times

Village VOICE BEST OF 2009: “Nick Jones and Raja Azar”
“Best Grown Men Who Still Play with Dolls”

WINNER: “Best Puppet Show (“Jollyship the Whiz-Bang”)
-L Magazine’s Best of New York 2008

BEST THEATER OF 2008: “Jollyship the Whiz-Bang”

“Irreverent punk perfection . . . If you’ve never seen a puppet do a keg stand, climb aboard.”
-The New Yorker

“Fast and furious, truly hardcore, Arr-some fun! The hugely talented Nick Jones and his cohorts deliver a deliriously naughty mashup of sick nautical spoofery, sick humor, and indie rock thrills. Ingeniously designed under Sam Gold’s savvy direction, there’s treasure here, mateys, and it sure ain’t buried!”
-Time Out NY

“Terrific . . . a reward to see . . . the cast party starts early in this fury filled gremlin with considerable musical chops!

“Jones and his crew-cum-backup-band play the power pop with enthusiasm and unexpected precision (and) somehow render the material sea spray fresh. The next time this crew sets sail for Party Island, I hope I’m along for the ride.”
-Village Voice

“Nick Jones is sensational with the fearlessness of a young Jim Carrey channeling the quirkiness of David Byrne.”

“From pulsating, thrumming chords to ballads that melt into a full-tilt of caterwauls, wails and plaints, the music owes more to Black Flag than to Broadway . . . a subversive theatrical mosh-pit . . . Clamp is a dizzy and insulting prick whose surrounding cadre is so determinedly un-PC as to make Avenue Q’s perky puppets look like Benedictine monks.” -NY Press

“A glimmering theatrical treasure . . . it’s well worth boarding this jollyship.”

“Do you enjoy ingeniously crafted rock tunes with clever lyrics and arrangements for accordion, keyboard, ukulele, guitar, bass and drums? Do you like pirates? How about puppets? Rum based drink specials? Laughing until your sides hurt? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you’re ready to set forth on the dread ship Jollyship the Whiz-Bang, the rollicking “pirate puppet rock odyssey” that’s currently docked at Ars Nova. Personally, I don’t need to hear anything more than ‘pirate puppet rock’ to get excited, but the cynic in me was a tiny bit worried I’d signed up for a half-assed execution of an inspired concept. But creators Nick Jones and Raja Azar have been polishing this project since 2002, and it gleams as brilliantly as One-Eyed Willie’s treasure.”
-The Gothamist

“Magnificent insanity! Comic genius! Go check it out if you want to laugh until your sides ache!”

“Equal parts strobe-heavy rock show, relentless comedy hour and swashbuckling human- and puppet-populated narrative. The elements merge to form a swirling maelstrom of head-nodding beats and pitch-perfect humor.”
-L magazine

“An explosion of manic genius, this completely twisted – in the most jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring way – piece combines puppetry, a spectacular hard rock score, and a stellar level of wit to create one of the freshest and most original pieces I’ve seen in ages.”
-Gay city

“This is pure rockin’ good times theatre . . . I can’t say enough good things about the music . . . a perfect night out at the theatre.”

It’s a riotously funny and ribald adult musical. . . the show’s hard-hitting rock score (is played) with near volcanic energy and flair.”

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