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CPA 35th Anniversary: "Muppet Movie Sing Along"!

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by theSHE124, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. theSHE124

    theSHE124 Active Member

    It happened 5 years ago, and it happened again! Today: September 21th, 2013, Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts celebrates its 35th anniversary with The Muppet Movie Sing Along (slightly different from the 30th). And while I too had received the sad news that the atriums will go rotate again :( , this year's screening, hosted by Heather Henson and Davey Rocker, has once again excited and made the party fun, especially when using their live Gonzo balloon again! :concern:

    I'll write my experience as soon as I finish my journaling, but for now, I want to hear from you guys! For anyone who has made to this year, or back in 2008, please like and reply your experience. [I hope you're reading this, Slackbot! I know you'll vouched for me! :)]
     
  2. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Indeed I went to this, and I had an absolute blast.

    Going in, I didn't quite know what I was in for. I thought they'd just play the movie and we'd sing along with the songs. But...audience participation packs and directions on when to use which props? People onstage in front of the movie? People in costume goofing around for the audience? Encouragement to shout back at the screen if something came into our little heads that we must share? This sounds more like Rocky Horror! As a veteran RHPS performer--performed as all characters, with over 600 Frank performances--I was getting very interested!

    Back up a bit. When I saw the weather forecast I wembled about going, as I was taking public transportation, which would involve a lot of walking, and if it was going to be raining a lot, well, blerch. But, what the heck, a chance to see TMM with fellow Muppet fans is something I don't wanna miss. Then I dithered on which puppet to bring. Skeeter was the obvious choice, but her glasses are not terribly sturdy, and I'd hate for them to get mashed in transport. I decided that, as Jim was not precious about the puppets, I wouldn't be either. I'd pack her carefully, and if her glasses were damaged I'd repair them or make new ones.

    Anyhow, I made it there about an hour and a half before the show. When taking MARTA, Atlanta's sad excuse for a public transportation system, you build in a lot of leeway for late buses, skipped trains, single tracking, etc. Well, on the day you have a lot of leeway you'll make all of your connections, bang-bang-bang. I wish I could have been as lucky with the rain, but I got pretty damp. Skeeter was safe from the rain in a garbage bag inside a sturdy canvas case.

    Anyhow, I got there early and took Skeeter out. There was no shortage of kids who wanted to talk with her, and nostalgic adults. The time passed quickly. They had us line up and after a while standing around while aforementioned costumed goofballs (called "whatnots" in the program) horsed around, we went in and sat down. On the way we received audience participation packs. It was a full house. I put Skeeter on and messed around a bit, talking with the kids near me, including one who sat next to me and just couldn't stop talking to Skeeter. I also saw some familiar faces in the audience, including a Fraggle puppet I saw at Dragon*Con 2012, my friends Sketch and Stephanie MacQuinor, and the above theSHE124.

    Enough about that. The show! They started out with an explanation of the props. The items we received were:
    • Glow necklace: serves as a steering wheel and rainbow
    • Maracas: shake to the music
    • Hand clapper: to applaud with
    • Butterfly fan: for the butterflies during The Rainbow Connection
    • Stretch frog: to pull out and yank on in (dis)honor of Doc Hopper
    • Fork: for the road
    • Streamer: You, know, a stick with a long trailing metallic streamer that you loop around in the air? For Can You Picture That mainly, but also for anytime you feel like waving a streamer around.
    • Tiara: Put on when Miss Piggy is crowned Miss Bogen County
    • Ice cream cone: For the ice cream they get at the fair. And since the call shoots off, you can shoot it at the Frog Assassin.
    • Bubbles: For romantic scenes. Hardly needed, as I'll explain later.
    • Flag: Wave when Fozzie sings America the Beautiful.
    • Police badge: For "motorcycle cop."
    • Prune: You eat it. It's a part of the giant four-foor prune. Maybe.
    • Feathers: Blow them into the air to give Miss Tracy an allergy fit.
    And a set of instructions on the use of all these doodads!

    Before the movie they had a little warmup to get us into the mood of active participation. They pulled a bunch of people up to the front, me & Skeeter included. Davey Rocker played a song on a guitar, which included a set of motions that we were supposed to do, and he kept adding to them. (No way could I do them one-handed, and neither could Skeeter, but when you goof up, goof up like ya mean it.) Then they had a costume contest with all of us, and Skeeter & I split third prize with someone dressed as Ma Otter. (I thought she was Miss Mousey at first.) I got a DVD copy of Moonfishing.

    The movie! After some technical difficulties, during which Rocker sang The Happy Sing (AKA The Stalling Song) it began. And it was a truly Rocky Horror experience, except it was G-rated. When a guest star appeared we shouted out the name. We sang along and danced and made wisecracks at the screen. And there were special 3-D effects! During the screening room scene Heather was throwing paper airplanes, stuffed fish, and even a beachball at us, and we caught 'em and kept 'em going. During The Rainbow Connection someone flew a kite above the audience. When Gonzo flew on the balloons, they actually had a Master Replicas Gonzo with some balloons soaring above the audience! During Never Before, Never Again and Can You Picture That? bubbles rained down from above. And at the end, when the rainbow came through the ceiling, they had several whirling things trailing rainbow streamers flying around.

    Afterwards there was a reception where they gave us punch and cupcakes, and I got a photo taken with Skeeter and heather, and did some more goofing around with Skeeter and other audience members, especially kids. Posed for lots of photos, gave out some business cards to those who wanted to see my work online, and talked with the Center for Puppetry Arts staff. Several times I was mistaken for a professional, and told them that no, I only do this occasionally, but thank you for thinking that I could be a pro!

    Anyhow, it was a complete freakin' blast, and if there was more than one screening I'd be coming back.

    Side note: the song I'm Going to Go Back There Some Day makes me weepy. People sang along, and I sniffled quietly. After the song finished people applauded with the clappers in the participation packs for about a minute. The sound it made was like a field full of crickets, perfect for the night scene.
     
  3. theSHE124

    theSHE124 Active Member

    Now that you mentioned it, my friend did a college report for that whole Rocky Horror thingy. But he said it's hardly like TMM. I'll explain about him later, as I need to finish journaling... :busy:
     
  4. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    What's that, you say? Photos or it didn't happen?

    [​IMG]
     
    theSHE124 likes this.
  5. theSHE124

    theSHE124 Active Member

    Okay, I finished journaling, so here's how it went for me:

    When I first heard that TMM Sing Along was returning to the Center for the 35th anniversary, that wowed me, especially the fact that I was 17 yrs. old back when they first did it. Remembering from last year that a birthday from a friend of mine happens in September, I decided to join in the special 2nd screening of this while bringing my friend as a surprise birthday present, even if it's 5 days off. His name is Jordan...

    Anyway, my Dad joined us to drive down to Atlanta. You're right, Slackbot, it was pouring outside! But that didn't stop us to give Jordan his birthday surprise! Though because of the rain, Dad drove outside the freeways, unintentionally throwing Jordan's trail off. With his camera, Jordan explored the landmarks of Metro Atlanta, only to soon find a sign that said 'The Muppet Movie Sing Along with Heather Henson' near the Center for Puppetry Arts! My oh my how he was surprised! The Jewish Memorial Museum next door was generously lending their parking lot for the humongous event. However, there was no way around the flooded street we had to cross! My right sock got wet!

    *****

    Once inside, we got in line & soon entered the Mainstage Theater with the fun props in the bag! But I don't remember most of these items we got. There was prune snack where there should be a Chinese yo-yo, and butterfly fans instead of butterfly finger puppets.

    Anyhow, in the theater, guitar player Davey Rocker warmed-up the audience with his acoustic songs, like this one (You guys try singing it):

    When I know
    When I'm in it
    Chop-Chop, Wocka-Wocka, Drive-Drive, Bawk-Bawk, HIYA!
    Whoaaaaaaaa
    I have Kermit to help me
    Chop, Wocka, Drive, Bawk, HIYA!

    There was also a costume contest. Not sure why I didn't hear about it. It might've been slightly unofficial, as Dad did get word of it. I was cheering for you, Slackbot+Skeeter!

    And yes, there was actually technical difficulties with the movie set, something that didn't happen 5 yrs. back! Rocker sang another song for us to stall some time. I'm sure Ms. Heather would've loved to sing along, but her voice this time was weak that day! (My throat was hurting like crazy after this event! How do you get it before the singing???) Still, that's what I like about non-profit orderly places: they never complain even when unexpected things happens!

    *****

    The Muppet Movie started and that's where the REAL party began! Woot-Woot! There was more of the Center's special effects than before, as Slackbot had described, such as the toy fireplace the deserted night scene. Yet they also did le piece d'resistance: the model Gonzo dangling on balloons! I can't believe it took me until AFTER the visit to remember that this was the same surprise they did last time! You'd think you wouldn't forget it!? Still, I now believe that it was good that I forgot at the time, or else I would've been concerned about that surprise for Jordan.

    Ah, Jordan...he was definitely having the most fun time of his life--I knew he would! So much fun, in fact, that Dad started to worry about this wild jirations! This be the same concern my parents had with me, so I had to make sure the lucky birthday boy stayed--

    :halo: IN CONTROL...

    --For some long time now, he's been trying his best to sound like Gonzo. It's not quite the same tone as Dave's, but I think he's getting better. So he took my dare (with pleasure) to sing like Gonzo for the song, I'm Going to Go Back There Someday.

    My Dad likes the film because he loves the line: "Drinks on the house!"

    :o Gets them every time!

    With Sing-Along movies, 'no talking' can be widely ignored! Funny! But towards the end of the movie, there was this one moment where everyone in the audience was quiet. That weirded me out to say, "Awkward..." which broke out some laughter there! This was my time, and now I shall allow such future events for others to have their chance...

    *****

    The crew there were obviously better prepared than last time, because after the movie, cupcakes & drinks were served at the Love Family Atrium as we waited in line for the photo op. The Ma Otter lady was behind us, bringing out a pink ukulele for Ms. Heather to sign. That reminded me of a silly song I heard in a VeggieTales CD game:

    Ukulele, ukulele,
    How do sound to me?
    Something kinda like a
    Laughing baby
    You sing me softly to sleep

    Ukulele,
    Ukulele,
    I love my ukulele!

    And then Jordan got his take ready for a special appearance on his camera! I was really surprised that Heather still remembers me, truly reading the e-mails I send from time to time, all these five years!! I personally announced to her my plans for...whatever it's called. She knows what's going on, but I don't think the two of us really know what it's supposed to be called! And yes, Jordan did his best Gonzo voice for her, and we both got our pics taken with her!

    Whataday this had been! The rain had stopped as we were coming out and stopping at Jordan's house. He treated us to some cookie-cake from his birthday as Dad sent photos to his family. Dad and I then came home finding our three pet dogs hungry without dinner since Mom was away from the house. As for me, I became the one who started this thread here for such a wonderful day.

    *****

    And that's it all happened, pretty much. Should I also explain how I saw this sing-along for the first time?
     


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