The newly renovated Studebaker Theater has snagged a high-profile Christmas show: a live theatrical adaptation of the 1977 TV special known as “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas,” which featured an ensemble cast of Jim Henson’s famous Muppets and was narrated by Kermit the Frog.
The live show has music and lyrics by Academy Award winner Paul Williams (”Rainbow Connection”) and a book by Timothy Allen McDonald and Christopher Gattelli. It will be directed and choreographed by Gattelli, a Tony Award winner for his choreography for the hit Disney show “Newsies.”
“Emmet Otter” previously played at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut in 2008 and was well-received off-Broadway at the New York’s New Victory Theater in Dec. 2021. It’s an official production of the Jim Henson Company, designed by Broadway designers. Henson’s company has sold the rights to the Muppets but the puppets in the show, which also has several human actors, still will come from the late Henson’s famous Creature Shop. The show has been developed further since the New Victory engagement and will feature a fresh cast in Chicago.
The show, aimed at families, is likely to be a big boost for the Studebaker in the Fine Arts Building (410 S. Michigan Ave.) and offer serious seasonal competition for downtown theater presenter Broadway in Chicago, which has scheduled mostly reprise engagements for the holidays.
Performances are to begin before Thanksgiving and run at least through the end of the year, with dates, details and ticket prices yet to be announced. Tickets will go on sale in July at 312-753-3210 and fineartsbuilding.com/studebaker
Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.