Friday, July 27, 2012

I had a bit of a worry in the back of my mind that I would get to the box office to pick up my Muppets tickets and there would be a screw up and they wouldn't be there. Then I would panic and have a meltdown and be dragged away by security and my life would fall into shambles and I would never get to see The Muppets live.

Luckily, my tickets were right where they should have been, and all was well with the world. When they were in my hands I got another rush of disbelief that I was moments away from seeing Muppets in a live theatre setting. Despite my overwhelming anticipation, I had been trying to not get my hopes up too high. I thought minimally they could have Kermit and a handful of other Muppets introducing human stand-up comedians, and that's it. Before the show began, some kind of Just for Laughs big-shot came out to introduce the show, he was ecstatic, but I was a bit confused as to what he was rambling on about. He said something about how we were going to see behind the curtain of the Muppets, and that we were in store for something unforgettable. Then a warm-up guy did a bit where he started as a member of the crowd, then ended up in a multi-shirted strip-down to Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy'.

Then the curtain parted, a familiar bit of music started up, and before me were Kermit and the gang on a mini-reproduction of the set from the opening of the Muppet Show. And, not so surprisingly, I had somewhat of a complete mental breakdown (as did a large portion of the crowd I think). Luckily I wasn't the only grown man openly weeping at a puppet show. Then it came to light what the intro guy meant by seeing behind the scenes. After the opening song, the Muppet performers walked out and continued along with the show. In full view of all, dressed in black with headband affixed microphones, Muppets on their human arms up over their heads. And seeing everything as such did not detract from the Muppet magic in the least.

They sang a very funny Canada song, there was a Muppet Labs skit where Beeker turned into the former Expo's mascot, the Sweedish Chef made poutine, Kermit and Piggy did a duet, and Rowlf filled for time by singing an impromptu song (amongst other Muppet fun). To add to the old school Muppet Show feel, every so often Kermit would introduce a human comedian who would come out and do a set. And all of the comedians seemed honoured and a bit shell-shocked that they had just been introduced by Kermit or Fozzie or Gonzo. Even Walter from the latest Muppet incarnation and Pepe from Muppets Tonight in the 90's made an appearance.

They did a really good job of making it seem like the show was over, until out of the corner of my eye I noticed a swampy looking set being quickly cobbled together. I looked at my girlfriend and my mind was so overwhelmed with joy that I am not quite sure what I said. Something about how I was about to have a complete emotional breakdown...but with less English words. Then they started singing Rainbow Connection, and the night truly gained a 'one of the best night's of my life' status...if it hadn't already.

In conclusion, if you ever get a chance to see the Muppets in a live setting, do it. Doesn't matter what other things you have to do, or if it's too expensive, or if you have to work, or if you're getting married that day, or whatever other excuse you might have...drop everything and get to that theatre. Then prepare to laugh and weep and revel in all of the joy that came out of the wonderful mind of Jim Henson and all the others who built the Muppet universe to the brilliance that it has become. If you are anything like will mostly be the weeping.

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