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Emmet live puppets1
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Emmet Otter Musical - designs

Costume design sketches by Gregg Barnes for Emmet, Ma, Wendell and Stan.

Goodwin

The Goodspeed stage.

Emmet-merch

Merchandise.

Jim Henson's Emmet Otter, originally titled Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-band Christmas, is a live-action stage musical adaptation of the 1977 television special Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas. The show first opened on December 7, 2008 at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut and ran until January 4, 2009. The show was developed by Goodspeed Musicals and the Jim Henson Company. The show returned to Goodspeed for the 2009-2010 season; running from December 5th to January 3rd.

The production features a mix of live actors and stage puppets built and refurbished by the Jim Henson Company. Paul Williams returned to write four new songs just for the stage adaptation, and finished "Born in a Trunk" which he originally started for the television special.

In addition to the extra songs, other changes were made in adapting the musical from the television special. Some are minor, such as merging Yancy Woodchuck with the fruit stand owner; while the most significant update is that of a framing device added by way of two new characters, Russ and Jane, a contemporary father and daughter who read the storybook together one Christmas Eve. In a move similar to The Wizard of Oz and Labyrinth, Jane ultimately finds herself within the context of the story itself. Another new character is Madame Squirrel, something of a leader for the acrobatic squirrel characters that appeared in the special (they themselves having been upgraded to more scenes for the stage version as well).

Opening night of the show included attendees Jane Henson and Jerry Nelson (Nelson having been the original puppeteer for the title character), and the Goodspeed Opera House went on to honor Paul Williams with the Goodspeed Award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre in 2010.

For the second run of the show, the show's title was changed, and shortened, from Emmet Otter's Jug-band Christmas to Jim Henson's Emmet Otter.[1] The script was slightly reworked for this run: instead of Jane becoming a part of the story, she remains a separate character. "Trust", a new song written for the stage version, was rewritten to be sung by Emmet instead of Jane, although Jane sings a reprise of the song during a brief fantasy sequence when she tries to leave her house only to encounter the squirrels. To replace a moment in the original script where Jane gives up her spot in the talent contest to allow Alice to sing, a new character "John Deer" was created, who only manages to get on the stage before becoming frightened by the spotlight and running away.

A majority of the original cast members and puppeteers reunited for a one-night only concert at 54 Below on December 15, 2015, with Paul Williams and Marilyn Sokol in attendence. The script was further modified to completely removed Jane and Russ's subplot, though Kate Wetherhead (Jane) participated in the performance as the narrator.

Songs

Original Cast

(In Order of Appearance)

Crew

  • Puppeteers - Tyler Bunch, Anney McKilligan, James Silson, David Stephens
  • Swings - Kristin Feeney, Matthew Furtado
  • Dance Captain - Kevin Covert
  • Puppet Captain - Tyler Bunch
  • Assistant Stage Manager - Derek Michael Digregorio
  • Understudies
    • Jane, Mrs, Gretchen Fox, Madame Squirrel, Hetty Muskrat: Kristin Feeney
    • Russ, Pa Otter: David Stephens
    • Emmet Otter: Daniel Torres
    • Mrs. Alice Otter: Lisa Howard
    • Wendell Porcupine, Mayor Harrison Fox, Will Possum, Chuck Stoat, Stan Weasel, Fred Lizard, Charlie Muskrat, Harvey Beaver: Matthew Furtado
    • Mrs. Mink: Sheri Sanders

Credits

Music and Lyrics by: Paul Williams
Book by (adapted for the stage): Timothy A. McDonald, Christopher Gattelli
Based on the Book by: Russell and Lillian Hoban
Director and Choreographer: Christopher Gattelli
Set Designer: Anna Louizos
Costume Designer: Gregg Barnes
Lighting Designer: Brian MacDevitt
Music Supervisor: Michael O'Flaherty
Music Director: Larry Pressgrove
Assistant Music Director: William J. Thomas
Music Arranger: Greg Brown
Orchestrations: Dan DeLange
Puppets by The Jim Henson Company
Produced by Michael P. Price, Brian Henson

2009 Cast

2015 Reunion Concert Cast

  • Narrator - Kate Wetherhead
  • Emmet Otter - Steven Booth
  • Mrs. Alice Otter - Cass Morgan
  • Wendell Porcupine - Robb Sapp
  • Mrs. Gretchen Fox - Lisa Howard
  • Mayor Harrison Fox - Kevin Covert
  • Yancy Woodchuck/Pa Otter - David Stephens
  • Madame Squirrel/Hetty Muskrat - Sheri Sanders
  • Doc Bullfrog/George Rabbit/Catfish - Tyler Bunch
  • Mrs. Mink - Lesli Margherita
  • Melissa Rabbit/Penelope Possum - Anney Ozar
  • Chuck Stoat - Leo Daignault
  • Howard Snake - James Silson
  • Stan Weasel - Stephen Bienskie
  • Fred Lizard - Kevin Zak
  • Charlie Muskrat - Jeff Hiller
  • Harvey Beaver - Daniel Torres
  • John Deer - Matthew Furtado

Sources

  1. New Title for "Emmet" at Goodspeed

External links