A 10-part series about the arts for 8-12 year olds, hosted by Penn and Teller.

The series features David Hockney, Julie Taymor, Max Roach, Matt Groening, Nancy Graves, Wayne Thiebaud, Carrie Mae Weems and many others. There are programs about dance, painting and drawing, photography, sculpture, and music.


Aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds, the series combines equal parts of irreverence and insight. Each program features artists at work – including Hockney, Taymor, Roach, Alan Toussaint and many others. Aided by computer graphics, animation and Penn and Teller’s tricks, the series lets kids in on the marvelous magic of art. Programs cover painting & drawing, photography, sculpture, theater, dance and music. Major funding for this ground-breaking series was provided by The National Endowment for the Arts, The MacArthur Foundation and McDonalds. Winner of numerous awards and prizes including the prestigious Japan Prize (“Best of Festival”) in the largest international children’s film festival.


Behind the Scenes hits the ground running with the freshest approach and the most inspirational content since Sesame Street… Designed to intrigue 8 to 12 year olds and their families these shows are…pure magic.

David Bianculli, New York Post

A standout program, the one that ruins the curve for the rest [of the shows this week], is Behind the Scenes, a ten-part series that explores the creative process in an enthralling fashion.

The Boston Globe

When television meets the arts, the result is often a one-camera museum tour led by an Alistair Cook knockoff (“This then was the Renaissance”), perhaps most useful for slowing a child’s metabolism before bedtime. But not this time.

The New York Times

Not to be missed.

Sacramento Bee

A terrific new series that demonstrates why the arts are so important to the learning process.

The Christian Science Monitor

Behind the Scenes is serious education made silly and surprising. And that is high art indeed.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Funny Penn and Teller find serious magic in arts for kids.

San Diego Tribune (TV Week Cover Story)


  • Produced and Directed by: Ellen Hovde & Muffie Meyer
  • Executive Producers: Alice Trillin & Jane Garmey
  • Host Sequences Written by: Penn & Teller
  • Co-Producer: Amy Kaufman
  • Supervising Editor: Alison Ellwood
  • Photographers: Chris Burrill, Bob Fiore, David Grubin, Bob Hanna, Tom Hurwitz, Don Lenzer, Eddie Marritz, Bob Richman, Joel Shapiro
  • Editors: Lynn Piasecki, Alison Ellwood, Ken Eluto, Jenny Hoover
  • Set Design: John Wright Stevens
  • Animation and Special Sequences: Jane Aaron, BH Barry, John Canemaker, Brian Dewhurst, Fred Garbers, George Griffin, Ed Koren, Barbara Moore & Jamie Ward, Frank and Caroline Mouris, Marilynn Ono, Lee Savage, Maureen Selwood, Ed Smith, Stan Smith, Michael Sporn, Peter Wallach, William Wegman
  • Music by: Elliot Goldenthal, David Friedman, Muriel Robinson, Michael Bacon, Stanley Silverman, Calvin Trillin, Arnold Black


  • Hosted by: Penn & Teller
  • Guest Artists: David Hockney, Joann Falleta, Robert Gil de Montes, Nancy Graves, David Parsons, Max Roach, Julie Taymor, Alan Toussaint, Wayne Thiebaud, Carrie Mae Weems
  • Appearances by: Jane Ira Bloom, Blue Man Group, Matt Groening, K-Rock, Legg 1, Legg 2, M. C. Lyte, Bobby McFerrin, Master Tee, Uptown String Quartet