Chances are, you’ve been to puppet shows in the past, but you have never seen a frum puppet with sass, sparkle, and personality — so realistic you’d think he was actually speaking on his own! For over 40 years, Chuck Field and his stage partners, Ziggy and Sol, have been captivating audiences worldwide. Eliciting side-splitting laughter, their hysterical humor and stellar, spot-on ventriloquism are truly delightful. Impeccably timed, incredibly funny, and wholesome in content, Chuck’s performances are often customized to specific industries and events; audiences from all walks of life are falling prey to the charms of Chuck Field and his cast of characters.
Whether he is hosting an awards presentation or performing at a premier Pesach program, luxury cruise, upscale hotel, corporate event, exhibition, concert, shul or school event, or other celebration. With his tailored approach, talent and charisma, and flexibility and quick wit, Chuck always delivers a performance to remember. His ability to create impromptu material is greeted by mirth, merriment, and infectious laughter.
I had the pleasure of meeting Chuck eight years ago, when he, and his loquacious puppet pals, headlined the chol ha’moed evening show at a prominent Pesach program. Seated throughout the audience were many multi-generational families, much like my own, with children, parents, and grandparents sharing laughs and precious moments. I was at once impressed by the professionalism, polish, and positivity of Chuck’s performance. This was pure family entertainment.
Recently, I caught up with Chuck via phone and email. Much deserving of his success, he is personable and unpretentious, graciously sharing his thoughts.
Rochelle Maruch Miller: Can you believe that it’s been eight years since we saw you perform? How has your show evolved since chol ha’moed Pesach of 2012?
Chuck Field: 2012 was a momentous year in my career as a ventriloquist. That summer, beginning with one camp that led to six camps was the first of eight consecutive trips to New York and New Jersey to entertain over 250 camps in shows from the Catskills to the Five Towns.
Being from Chicago, I wasn’t aware of how many summer camps and bungalow colonies were still alive and kicking. This all came about from someone at that same Pesach program who saw me as well. From being totally unknown on the east coast, I have been referred to for other events throughout the United States and abroad. In 2015, my wife of 40 years, Linda, and I relocated from Chicago to Phoenix, Arizona, to live locally with our children and now four grandchildren.
I had to reinvent myself in a town where we had no contacts. Turns out that Arizona is a great destination, from corporate events to Pesach vacations. Professionally and family-wise, this was a great move.
RMM: How do you find material for your performances?
CF: I hear people of all ages say funny things in conversation, which sparks my creativity. From small children to senior citizens, they are a great source of comedic inspiration. Being quarantined, the current political climate, and now being at an age where everyone around me has some kind of ailment, my sources for relevant comedy are great.
RMM: Chuck, you have a great rapport with your audience. How do you keep your material fresh and exciting?
CF: By listening to all the various opinions around me and the late-night talk show hosts’ take on the events of the day.
RMM: How were you impacted by COVID-19?
CF: First and foremost, all of my in-person performances have been canceled. As of mid-June, I have only been doing virtual shows on platforms like Zoom for camps, schools, shuls, and condo communities. Not so bad performing without leaving my house! Ziggy and I have also been doing funny but serious video messages on behalf of rabbis and business owners to stay connected to their respected communities. With regard to health, everyone is in good shape, baruch Hashem, but still practicing social distancing, which makes it hard to perform in front of a live audience.
RMM: Which ventriloquists were you most inspired by?
CF: When I was growing up, I was a big fan of Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney as well as Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop.
RMM: What are some of the venues where you have performed in-person prior to COVID-19?
CF: I have performed on Comedy Cruise Lines, at many Pesach programs on both coasts, at the Fontainebleau, and at many other upscale resorts. I love doing smaller shows for shuls and organizations.
RMM: What has been your greatest achievement thus far?
CF: My greatest achievement has been a work in progress. Finding a balance between work, play, and family. Tzedakah is a great achievement and not necessarily monetarily. I have had the great opportunity to visit some children with stage-3 cancer and get them to change from being very sad to eliciting smiles and laughter from them and their families. I was overjoyed to find out, one year later, that many of these children are doing much better and that several are even cancer-free. I am a people person and I love to use my talent as an entertainer to help others get through some tougher times.
RMM: Chuck, I know how proud you are of your beautiful family. What would you like to tell our readers about them?
CF: My family is my nachas. They are truly my greatest accomplishment EVER. My wife, Linda, and I have been married for 40 years. I appreciate her more and more every year. Our daughters Becca and Jennifer came to Arizona for work, found amazing husbands, and have made us grandparents … the best roles in our lives.
RMM: What message would you like to convey to our readers?
CF: Be nice to everyone, expecting nothing in return, and you will be surprised at the return in your investment. Family is everything.
RMM: It’s been a pleasure speaking to you, Chuck. Continued nachas from your lovely family.
CF: My pleasure, Rochelle. Much nachas, best regards, and stay safe and well.
Rochelle Maruch Miller is a contributing editor for the Five Towns Jewish Times. She is a journalist, creative media consultant, lecturer, and educator, and writes for magazines, newspapers, websites, and private clients. She welcomes your comments at Rochellemiller04@aol.com.