Thursday, November 27, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Disney recently launched an innovative new online and in park game at Disney's California Adventure. The game is available exclusively to Disneyland Resort annual passholders and involves text messages, cell phones, and a theme park trivia scavenger hunt. Called "The Muppet Experiment", the gam focuses on Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's lastest experiment, the Muppet Labs Time Rewinder. The experiment goes awry and the Muppets get lost in time, so the park visitors are asked to join in the game by helping bring the Muppets back to 2008 through a series of trivia questions, puzzles and more.
The first step of the Muppet Experiment is an online version, where players solve four puzzles that relate to the Muppets. After completing the online portion, players need to go to Disney's California Adventure, where they are sent on a scavenger hunt. Questions require players to visit various locations throughout the park (including a stop at Muppet-Vision 3D) in search of details, clues and information. To answer each in-park question, players send a text message with their responces.
After successfully answering all the questions, players will be sent to California Adventure's newest attraction, the Blue Sky Cellar, where they can receive a commemorative prize.
The Muppet Experiment is free to play, although standard text message rates do apply. Disney is offering the program for a limited test-run which will run from November 24 through December 16, 2008. For more information visit TheMuppetExperiment.com.
Posted at 8:48 AM
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
As previously reported, Goodspeed Musicals is preparing to raise the curtain on Jim Henson’s classic holiday favorite Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. The all-new stage adaptation of Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas will run from December 7, 2008, through January 4, 2009, at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut.
With a cast of exceptional performers, the show will feature a unique mix of live actors and stage puppets created by The Jim Henson Company. Daniel Reichard will play Emmet Otter; Reichard recently received a Drama Desk Award nomination for his role in Broadway's Jersey Boys. Broadway veteran Cass Morgan, whose credits include Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, and Ring of Fire, will play Ma Otter. Henson/Muppet alumnus and puppeteer Tyler Bunch will serve as puppet captain, along with performing several puppet characters (such as Doc Bullfrog).
The original stage show will also feature several new and extended songs by Paul Williams, songwriter for the original 1977 television special. Tim McDonald and Christopher Gattelli adapted the musical for stage; and Christopher Gattelli is serving as director and choreographer. Michael P. Price is producing this new stage version of Emmet Otter’s Jug-band Christmas in association with The Jim Henson Company, under the guidance of company co-CEO Brian Henson.
Tickets are now on sale for this exciting new show -- to reserve your tickets, call the Godspeed box office at 860.873.8668 or visit their online ticket office at goodspeed.org. With only 34 shows this holiday season, tickets are sure to go fast - so be sure to reserve yours today! I will continue to keep you updated as more information on this exciting new production develops.
Daniel Reichard as Emmet Otter
Cass Morgan as Ma Otter
Alan Campbell as Pa Otter
Kate Wetherhead as Jane
Stephen Beinskie as Stan Weasel
Justin Bohon as Harvey
Kevin Covert as Mayor Fox
Leo Daignault as Chuck
Madeline Doherty as Mrs. Mink
Colin Hanlon as Fred Lizard
Jeff Hiller as Charlie
Lisa Howard as Mrs. Fox
Sheri Sander as Heddy
Robb Sapp as Wendell
Posted at 6:20 PM
Monday, November 17, 2008
Things are moving along on BOOM Studio's upcoming series of Muppet comic books. Boom plans to launch the new line in March 2009. The comics will launch next year with an initial four-issue miniseries written by Roger Langridge. As you may know, Langridge had previously created Muppet comics for the now defunct Disney Adventure magazine. The debut miniseries will be based on "The Muppet Show" and is said to be very much in the same vein as the show -- with a lot of skits and gags. Several of the key people involved in development and approvals for the comics were also involved in the production of the original Muppet Show. The publisher has decided to issue several variant covers on the first issue - you can check out a sample of Langridge's preliminary penciling for one such cover on the right.
After the initial four-part miniseries, Langridge will be working with various writers and artists to create future Muppet miniseries. BOOM's second batch of Muppet comics are said to feature the Muppets in parodies of classic literary works – such as King Arthur, Robin Hood, and the Three Musketeers.
The new comics are sure to garner a lot of attention from Muppet fans when they arrive early next; and you can be sure that I will keep you updated with more information on these upcoming comic books as soon as more details become available.
Posted at 7:43 PM
Saturday, November 15, 2008
A new version of "Pinocchio" is on its way to the big screen -- this retelling of the classic fairy tale will be produced by The Jim Henson Company, co-directed by acclaimed children's illustrator Gris Grimly and executive produced by renowned director Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, The Hobbit).
The Jim Henson Company's adaptation will be done produced as a stop-motion animated feature film. Brian Henson, Lisa Henson and Jason Lust will serve as producers on the project, while Guillermo del Toro will assit with the writing and producing duties.
The aim of the project is to make a darker retelling of the famous fairy tale about the wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy. Based on the 2002 children's book illustrated by Gris Grimly, when Pinocchio comes to life, the puppet turns out to be not such a nice boy after all. Pinocchio enjoys nothing better than creating mischief and playing tricks. As he discovers, being bad is much more fun than being good -- for a while, anyway. Happily for Pinocchio, he learns that there is much more to being a real boy than just having fun.
Guillermo del Toro commented on the production in a recent interview stating, "We are trying to get a full stop-motion version of Gris Grimly's Pinocchio off the ground, with the Jim Henson Company. The idea came from Gris, and everybody loves his book about it. The original story is far more perverse and spooky and semi-necrophilia vibe to it in certain aspects. Gris certainly has that vein in him, he wants to do this with that original spookiness in it, we are trying to get it going. The Jim Henson Company is behind it and we are currently working on the screenplay!" He added that it might take up to three years to finish the project its entirety (as producing a full-length stop-motion film takes time), so it's unlikely that we'll be seeing this film hit theaters in the next few years.
Gris Grimly will be co-directing the epic along Adam Parrish King, whose "The Wraith of Cobble Hill" won the short filmmaking award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award. I will be sure to keep you updated as soon as more information on this exciting new film becomes available.
Posted at 6:15 PM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The Jim Henson Company's preschool series "Frances" is coming to DVD. The imaginative television series from The Jim Henson Company and HIT Entertainment debuted on PBS KIDS Sprout this past summer -- and now the show is planning to make its way onto DVD!
The delightful preschool comedy series is based on the popular Russell Hoban books about a high-spirited badger named Frances. Joining Frances in her daily adventures are her little sister, Gloria, her mom and dad, and her best friend Albert. The musical series uses state-of-the-art digital puppetry and animation from the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, an pioneering technology that allows performers to puppeteer and voice digital characters in real time.
HIT Entertainment will let you get in touch with your inner-Frances, when they release the first set of "Frances" DVDs later next year. The company currently has "Frances" releases on their release schedule for March 2009 and October 2009 releases. I will be sure to keep you updated as more information on these exciting new titles become available.
Posted at 9:44 PM
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sesame Street is taking some of its greatest episodes from recent history to the web! Sesame Workshop has announced plans to release complete episodes of Sesame Street on iTunes. The uncut hour-long episodes are available to download for just $1.99 each (with 70 percent of the revenue going to Sesame Workshop). The iTunes Store has an exclusive deal to carry complete episodes from the show's 35th season and beyond.
The first collection of episodes is now online -- Sesame Street, Volume 1 includes a sampling of 13 complete episodes from Sesame Street's 35th season (2003). Stories include Cookie Monster's tale of Kingdom Cookie, Professor Grover's school for superheros, Snuffy becoming invisible, and the Big Bad Wolf's struggle with loosing. Episodes also feature such celebrity guest stars as Natalie Portman, BB King, Liam Neeson, Norah Jones, and Venus Williams. As an added bonus, you can download the Elmo and Norah Jones music video "Don't Know Y" for free.
Future volumes of Sesame Street episodes, with content from other seasons, are planned to launch in the coming months. These collections of full episodes join the ever-growing collection of Sesame Street content on iTunes. For more Sesame fun subscribe to Sesesame Street's free weekly video podcast; download free Sesame resource videos; purchase the 1985 feature film "Follow that Bird"; or download one of the many albums or songs for sale. Now you can download great educational and entertaining episodes of Sesame Street to watch on your computer, iPod, or other portable device. I will be sure to keep you updated as more Sesame titles become available.
Posted at 9:24 AM
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Earlier this week The Jim Henson Company and HIT Entertainment released two classic television specials - Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas and The Christmas Toy - on DVD under the "Jim Henson's Christmas Classics" banner. In addition to being available on DVD, the Jim Henson Company has now made these specials available for digital download via the iTunes Store.
For the first time ever, Jim Henson's 1977 television special Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas is available online. The 50-minute special features the heart-warming tale of of Ma and Emmet Otter - a family that has little more than each other. When a talent show is held in town, a fifty-dollar prize gives them each hope of buying the other a real present this year. The 1986 television classic The Christmas Toy is available on iTunes as well. The 47-minute special shares the charming story of Rugby Tiger, the once beloved toy that attempts to reclaim the glory of being the Christmas toy. Both full-length muscial adventures are available to download for just $9.99 each.
These new releases join the impressive catalog of Henson titles already available on iTunes -- including The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppets From Space, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Follow that Bird, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Fraggle Rock (seasons 1-3), Farscape (seasons 1-4), The Peacekeeper Wars, Learn Along with Sesame, MirrorMask, Buddy, The Cube, and Time Piece.
The Jim Henson Company plans to continue to release more titles from their vast video libray through iTunes in the future. Now you can download these classic specials to watch on your computer, iPod, or other portable device - what a perfect way to bring in the holiday season. I'll keep you updated as more Henson titles become available.
Posted at 9:06 PM
Friday, November 07, 2008
The Muppets are planning to invade "The Today Show" next week. A group of Muppets will be taking over the show for half an hour during the 8:00am hour of the program on Thursday, November 13, 2008. "The Today Show" is a morning news and talk show broadcasted nationwide on NBC - check local listings for details.
The Muppets will appear on the program to promote the opening of the new Muppet Whatnot Workshop at FAO Schwarz - they are even planning on showcasing Whatnot versions of the show's hosts! The Muppets have made numerous appearances on "The Today Show" over the past 40 years. "The Today Show", which has been on NBC since 1952, is curretly hosted by Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, with Al Roker, Ann Curry, and Natalie Morales.
So set the VCRs, program the TiVo, and don't forget to watch the Muppets when they take over "The Today Show" on Thursday, November 13th.
Posted at 8:35 PM
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Thanksgiving is just three week away and that means the 82nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is just around the corner. And this years festivities will feature a plethora of Muppet items in the parade line-up.
Disney's Muppets Studio will once again present the beloved Kermit the Frog balloon. At 78 feet long, 36 feet wide, 61 feet tall and filled with 11,000 cubic ft. of helium, Kermit truely stands out in the New York skyline. But aiside from being represented in gigantic inflatable form, the real Kermit the Frog (performed by Steve Whitmire) is also set to appear in the parade. Kermit will ride the Macy’s float, which is the last float of the parade - right before Santa Claus. Kermit will sing the original ballad "I Believe in Santa Claus" from the Muppets' upcoming television special, "Letter's to Santa".
But Kermit won’t be the only Muppet traveling the parade route. Sesame Workshop will add several Sesame Street items to the line-up. The Abby Cadabby balloon will return to the parade this year. Floating along the parade route, Abby is the latest Muppet to be honored with a balloon. Also appearing in the parade this year is the renowned 123 Sesame Street float. The float, appearing for its 12th consecutive year, will feature everyone's favorite Sesame Street Muppets and cast members along with plenty of music and entertainment for all to enjoy.
So be sure to tune in to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year to catch all the Muppet magic and holiday fun. The parade airs Thanksgiving Day (November 27, 2008) on NBC from 9am to noon (check local listings for details).
Posted at 4:53 PM
Monday, November 03, 2008
Following the sucessful releases of "3 Pigs and a Baby" and "Tortoise vs Hare", the Jim Henson Company and Genius Products are preparing the third title in their inovative "Unstable Fables" series. The latest installment in the computer-generated film series is planned to hit stores just in time for Christmas. "Unstable Fables: The Goldilocks and the 3 Bears Show" is currently set for release on December 16, 2008.
When a classic fairy tale collides with reality television, the result is one outrageous and funny film that the whole family can enjoy. Goldilocks, a spoiled television star, moves in with a family of three bears to be filmed 24/7 for a "Big Brother"/"Real World" style reality show in an effort to boost her career. The original direct-to-DVD feature will showcase the vocal talents of an all-star cast - including Brooke Shields, Tom Arnold and Jamie Lynn Spears. The DVD will include a deluxe widescreen presentation of the film along with a collection of exclusive bonus features.
So be sure to pick up your copies of "3 Pigs and a Baby" and "Tortoise vs. Hare" and be sure to check out "The Goldilocks and the 3 Bears Show" when it hits stores this holiday season. I will be sure to keep you updated as more information on future installments in the "Unstable Fables" series become available.
Posted at 10:04 PM