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Royal Variety Performance

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The Muppets have appeared as part of the Royal Variety Performance in 1977, 1988 & 1993.

History

The first Royal Variety Performance was held July 1st, 1912, at Palace Theatre, Shaftsbury Avenue, London. King George V said that he would attend a variety show once every year, if the profit were given to the Variety Artistes' Benevolent Fund. Every year since then the Royal Family have attended the show at various theaters around London. For the various Muppet appearances, the reigning sovereign has been Queen Elizabeth II. Since 1999, the show has also been presented in Birmingham, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

1977

The 1977 Royal Variety Performance was held on November 27th, 1977. The show was hosted by Bob Hope, and other participants that year included Rudolph Nureyev, Rich Little, Cleo Laine, Julie Andrews, and Harry Belafonte who performed 'Turn the World Around'. Jack Parnell conducted the orchestra.

Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, and Louise Gold performed a sketch in which the Muppets start swapping pig jokes. Miss Piggy is furious, but Kermit the Frog cheers her up by leading the group in "We Got Us". In the group of Muppets was Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Scooter, Floyd, Animal, Rowlf and Robin.

Statler and Waldorf are sitting in the box opposite the royal family, make the occasional comment between acts.

The Mutations, Mean Mama, Sweetums, Doglion and Timmy Monster do a choreographed dance act to classic peice 'Music By Ofenbach'. They keep bumping into eachother and falling over and end up fighting with the stage manager, played by Jerry Nelson. Sweetums also gets into a fight with a violinist (Dave Goelz) and throws him off the stage.

After the performance, Mean Mama, performed by Louise Gold, surprised Prince Charles by giving him a hug. [1]

After the finale of the show, Bob Hope brings out the performers on stage. Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt and Dave Goelz come on stage with Sweetums, Timmy, Mean Mama and Doglion.

The show aired in America on NBC two days later, on November 29, 1977, as a special titled America Salutes the Queen. [2]

The audio track for "We Got Us" was released the following year as a track on 1978's The Muppet Show 2 cast album.

1984

The 1984 Childrens Royal Variety Performance was in aid of NSPCC, form Her Majesty's Theatre, London. In the presence of HRH The Princess Anne. "In March 1984, Henson Associates was invited to participate in the Children’s Royal Variety Performance which benefited the U.K. based National Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Children (NSPCC). With Fraggle Rock newly on the air, it made sense to feature the show. Fulton McKay, who played the lighthouse captain on the English version of Fraggle Rock, and his puppet dog Sprocket, performed for this show along with David Barclay, Brian Henson, Mak Wilson and Ian Thorn, who did a short routine. An edited version was later televised." - Jim's Red Book

1988

1988 Children's Royal Variety Performance was Performed at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London in aid of the NSPCC wth the Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon attending.[3]

Kermit sang Bein' Green with Statler and Waldorf are seen in one of the theater boxes commenting the show.

1993

The Muppet appearance was divided into 3 scenes. First the host Cilla Black introduced Kermit and Miss Piggy. Kermit had prepared a little speech and was getting small pointers from Miss Piggy while he held it. Miss Piggy also took the chance to get a girl to girl talk with the host Cilla Black. Afterwards Kermit and Miss Piggy were gonna sing a small ballad of how they first meet, with the help of non-talented musicians hired by Gonzo. The musicians had trouble playing the song. Miss Piggy asked what the tone deaf normally play these days, and as they start playing Gonzo introduce them as "Yes indeed. It's the rightfully famous Right Said Fred."

The scenery, including Kermit, Miss Piggy and Gonzo, leaves the stage and a Right Said Fred medley begins with the help of Doglion, Sweetums, The Clodhoppers, Fletcher Bird and the Bossmen. The medley ends with everyone going out to the edge of the stage with the puppeteers in plain sight dressed in all black.

After an opera number, Statler and Waldorf are seen in one of the theater boxes.

Waldorf: "I love opera."
Statler: "Oh yeah, me too. She hosts one of the best talk shows on TV."
Waldorf: "Have you completely lost your mind?"
Statler: "No not yet. But then I haven't seen all the acts."

Puppeteers: Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Steve Whitmire, Frank Oz and various uncredited puppeteers.

Sources

  1. Of Muppets and Men, pg. 91
  2. "The Royal Variety Performance: The Silver Jubilee Royal Variety Gala", BFI Film & TV Database.
  3. "Children's Royal Variety Performance", BFI Film & TV Database.

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