In The Muppets Take the Bowl, the Muppets get a good gig: they bring their variety show to the Hollywood Bowl. If you like the Muppets, you must see this 2 hour show playing at the Hollywood Bowl Sep 8-10. Kermit and friends perform 40 skits and performances, with intermission, and a spectacular fireworks finale. You’ll laugh at the Muppets antics, groan at cheesy jokes, smile nostalgically with “Pigs In Spaaaace”, dance to Dr. Teeth and his band, and just may shed a tear when Kermit strums “Rainbow Connection” on his banjo, accompanied by its songwriter Paul Williams.
The show gets the essence of the Muppets. Unlike most rebooted franchises which too often miss the mark, causing audiences to scream the reboot “ruined my childhood,” this show totally “gets it” and does the opposite: It recalls your childhood. You’re suddenly a kid again, cheering on the Muppets cuz they made it to the Hollywood Bowl.
Kermit, Miss Piggy, Scooter, Gonzo, Fozzie are all back, doing what they do best. The Muppets original TV show central theme of always trying to produce a good half-hour variety show is extra fitting in Hollywood at the Bowl. The Muppet characters become archetypes of you and your Hollywood friends.
Kermit is the producer who’s trying to keep things together behind the scenes so the show looks good onstage.
Miss Piggy is the diva actor who wants the spotlight on her all the time.
Scooter is the harried showrunner or production assistant who is perky and on-it trying to manage the show.
Fozzie is your actor comedian friend who has a good heart, just can’t get seem to their stuff together.
Statler and Waldorf are the film TV critics and Internet trolls who are always right there ready to rip your show apart.
Gonzo is that quirky guy who gets along in Hollywood just by being themselves.
Muppets Takes the Bowl (a play on the movie Muppets Take Manhattan), succeeds so well because it remembers what makes the Muppets so lovable. You root for this ragtag underdog crew of quirky characters just trying to put a show together because you see yourself and friends in them.
The Muppets TV show reboot in 2015 totally missed the heart of the Muppets, shoehorning the characters into a soul-sucking TV drama narrative that killed their spirit, and the shows ratings.
Conversely, the Muppets Take the Bowl retains and energy so much, and “gets it”, you’ll realize that this show can be the reboot of the Muppets franchise. It retains the charm of the original TV show, with location additions (LA and Hollywood references) and modernizing with digital references (Beaker uploaded to the cloud and the Netflix style TV show menu).
We hope this will be an annual Hollywood Bowl show with different guest stars every year, or even a traveling show across the nation. Someone work on that, cuz we want more Muppets!
Here are top 10 fave moments of the Muppets Take the Bowl.
1. Kermit performs “Rainbow Connection”, joined by the Muppet ensemble and its songwriter Paul Williams. Kermit strums his banjo, and our nostalgia memories and heart strings. We heard audible loud sobs of joy in the audience.
2. Fireworks Finale. The fireworks finale is amazing, different from the other fireworks show. Of course, pyrotechnic Crazy Harry is all to eager to start the aerial explosions.
3. Miss Piggy performs Adele’s Hello, starting solemnly but quickly spiraling wildly into a slapstick dance routine. Psst, don’t tell Miss Piggy we didn’t rate her performance #1!
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4. Pepe the King Prawn takes over, teaming up with the LA Phil conductor, adding some salsa spice to the orchestral performance. The LA Phil conductor does an excellent job double-duty acting throughout playing the “straight man” to the Muppets antics. BTW don’t call Pepe a shrimp, he is a King Prawn!
5. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem perform several songs. Janice gets to sing too. And of course animal goes wild. Cool to see the band rock it on the the same Hollywood Bowl stage as legendary bands. They made it!
6. Bobby Moynihan does a great job as the human guest star on the show. The Saturday Night Live alum is in several skits with major Muppet stars. Just like guests do on the TV show, he plays interacting with the Muppets seriously, with his friendly humor. Like when he’s a sous-chef to the Swedish Chef making salsa.
6. TV spoofs: A Netflix style menu of pre-recorded skits spoof several TV shows. Keeping up with the Crustaceans features a clam who loves her shoes. The Walking Bread features the Swedish Chef attacked by zombie-like moldy baguettes. He fights back with a blowtorch: “You’re toast.” In Veterinarians Hospital, Ralph and Miss Piggy operate on Danny Trejo, who projectile vomits.
8. Beaker uploaded to the Cloud. In the Muppet Labs segment, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew uploads assistant Beaker to the cloud, where he encounters Internet trolls. Nice way to bring the Muppets into today’s tech world.
9. Ralph the Dog’s LA cities rap. The affable Ralph plays piano, with an amazing rap where he rapidly belts out local cities from Hollywood to West Covina and La Canada. This is the only song that’s included so many LA cities. Most songs about LA just focus on one or two neighborhoods: Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Compton. Where can we buy the song!?
10. Pigs In Space vs Space Lawyers. Captain Link Hogthrob, First Mate Piggy, and Dr. Julius Strangepork are flying aboard the SwineTrek, with jokes and gags that mock real life sci-fi shows. When alien lawyers arrive and threaten them with law suit laser attacks, the Pigs respond: “Engage the Parody shields!” Perfect skit for a Hollywood audience.
Muppets Take the Bowl perform Sep 8-10. Tickets http://hollywoodbowl.com