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Based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, Squonk Opera’s Inferno is set in the Appalachian coal town of Centralia, PA, where a mine fire simmers underground to this day. It is a town where trees, still standing, turn to ash. Pets disappear. A place that would melt your shoes where you stand. 

Squonk Opera’s Inferno combines revolutionary projection puppets with the aural beauty and visual wit that has come to define a Squonk Opera show. The cast of seven musicians and actor/puppeteers propels the show into the shadowy world of memories that the industrial revolution left behind.

Created in 2001, Commissioned by City Theatre

Visit our Store to purchase or download a CD of the music from this production.


Photos by Archie Carpenter and Seth Jackson 


“Old as Dante, New as MTV.” - American Theatre 

“the funny, smart performance band of your brightly fevered dreams” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“dazzling, often enigmatic and playful images and the weird but haunting music that has long been [Squonk’s] trademark” - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“…inventive, layered fun. It’s a surreal dreamscape, alternately sweet, silly, satiric, portentous…and cool. An entertaining cross between a Kennywood outing, an eccentric opera and an interactive video installation, it’s a 70-minute visual and musical geekathon that scurries back and forth between many levels.” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


The Artistic Directors
Steve O’Hearn & Jackie Dempsey 

The Band

Jody Abbott

Piano & Accordion
Jackie Dempsey

Upright & Electric Bass
Nathan Fay

Acoustic & Electronic Percussion
Kevin Kornicki

Flute, Sax, Wind Synth, Manybell Trumpet
Steve O’Hearn

The Team

Jackie Dempsey

Design & Staging
Steve O’Hearn

Concept Development
Steve O’Hearn, Jackie Dempsey, Rick Kemp, Juanita Rockwell, Chas Marsh,
David Petersen

Lighting Design
Bob Steineck

Stage Direction
Rick Kemp

Assistant Musical Direction
Kevin Kornicki

Jody Abbott with Jackie Dempsey

Video Design
Chas Marsh with Steve O’Hearn

Production Management & Mr. Coal Mine
Joel Mason

David Petersen

Stage Management
Adelka Polak

Ian Belton

Susan O’Neill & Maura Morgan

Set & Prop Artists
Lisa Hatcher, Matt Jackson

Choral Arrangements
Lynette Garlan

Guitar Tracks
David Wallace

Graphic Design
Seth Jackson

Voiceover Artists

Jack Dempsey

Rick Kemp

Young Don
Jon Miller

Steve and Jackie would like to acknowledge everyone involved in this production for their creative contributions, especially the Squonk musicians for adding their own individual flavor to the music, and the designers, builders and technicians who added detail and richness to the production.

Touring History

City Theatre … Pittsburgh, PA

Stanford University … Palo Alto, CA

Prince Music Theater … Philadelphia, PA

George Mason University … Fairfax, VA

Black Sheep Puppet Festival … Pittsburgh, PA

Ferris State University … Big Rapids, MI

Weinberg Center … Frederick, MD

Great Valley … Malvern, PA

Rex Theatre … Pittsburgh, PA

Scranton Cultural Center … Scranton, PA

Squonk Opera 315 Castlegate Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15221
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