It’s never truly the Christmas season until my required viewing of Jim Henson’s masterpiece, Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. Last week, the marvelous masterpiece was brought to life impeccably by the Jim Henson Company in a phenomenal live-stage show in New York.
At the 54 Below in New York, attendees were treated to an amazing performance of the beloved special. In attendance was beloved Muppet songwriter Paul Williams, and the awesome Muppeteers Tyler Bunch, Anney Ozar, David Stephens, Matthew Furtado, Kristin Feeney and James Silson. The main cast of characters like Emmet, Ma Otter and the members of the Frogtown Hollow Jubilee Jug Band starred human actors while the supporting cast consisted of fantastic rebuilt puppets by the Henson Muppet Workshop. Because the show took place at such a small venue, the human actors were not in character costumes like they had in the stage show a couple of years back and there were no elaborate sets, but that certainly didn’t take away from the sheer amazement of the show.
The show did a fantastic job at blending puppets and human actors together yet again. Because of the lack of sets, the puppeteers were all clearly visible which allows for a really fantastic look at how the puppets are performed, when the performer is generally obscured by a wall or lighting. Our fantastic Muppet performers absolutely stole the show and half the fun was being able to see what goes into the tiresome performances during these live shows. The puppets instantly pleased the audience with each appearance, and it was so fun to see how the characters were operated from up-close. There was also a ton of really hilarious visual banter between the characters and the human actors that added to that fun. All in all, it was a truly great way to blend puppets and humans which a end result that ultimately worked really well.
The show also stayed true to the television special with the amazing musical performance of the beautiful soundtrack written by Paul Williams. Paul sadly did not perform in the show as we thought he would, but he was however in attendance in the audience, plus a wonderful introduction and was called up on stage for the fantastic grand finale. Fans will be happy that all songs were included in the show’s performance and each one was absolutely fantastic. It was a truly amazing musical performance.
In the original special, Kermit the Frog is our host, taking us through the story of Emmet Otter. In this adaption though, Kermit is not mentioned by name, but the show did feature a narrator. As well as that, there are a ton of hilarious jokes added to the live show that isn’t in the special that makes this fantastic adaption all the more wonderful and unique.
All in all, The Henson Company has truly amazed and pleased the entire audience with this incredible performance. Although it was not a full blown stage show like it was a handful of years back, it still truly delighted everyone in attendance.
Unfortunately, the show is not on tour yet. Maybe someday we can get an off-Broadway or travelling show sometime real soon? Say it’s so, Henson! After the incredible performance we’ve seen at the live event, we truly hope the show becomes of a regular event and that more Muppet fans have the chance to see this absolutely marvelous masterpiece.