The Muppets Take the Bowl was a live stage show starring the Muppets performed at the Hollywood Bowl on September 8-10, 2017. The concert was hosted by Bobby Moynihan and featured conductor Thomas Wilkins with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. The program was billed as "Fireworks Finale: The Muppets Take the Bowl."
The program featured live performances by the entire Muppet cast, including specific solos by Miss Piggy and Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Special celebrity guests included Paul Williams, Danny Trejo, Jimmy Kimmel and Guillermo Rodriguez. The program also featured appearances by "some Muppets who have not been seen since their appearances on The Muppet Show over 35 years ago." The program featured new, live "Pigs in Space," "Muppet Labs" and "Veterinarian's Hospital" sketches, and concluded with a finale of fireworks (initiated by Crazy Harry).
The event was produced by Soapbox Films and co-written by Kirk Thatcher, Jim Lewis, Andrew Williams and Matthew Barnette. In a unique departure from previous live events, the Muppet performers were hidden "in black suits, black leotards, black ninja costumes essentially, so your mind can kind of turn them off if you want to maintain the illusion and just watch the big television screens and peek over at the stage once in a while."
The show was followed up in July 2018 with The Muppets Take the O2, reprising many of the same acts.
“The Muppets Take the Bowl is more than just a concert... more than just a performance... more than just a play on an iconic movie title. It’s the Muppets starring in a unique mix of inspired, chaotic entertainment as never seen before, live and in-person, on stage at the legendary Hollywood Bowl. Overflowing with music, laughter, parody, dancing, classic and new sketches, a fireworks finale – and who knows what else?
The Muppets Take the Bowl will take you on a sensational, inspirational, celebrational journey from impossible, humble beginnings to improbable, amazing Hollywood stardom. Join Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo, Animal, Sam Eagle, Pepé the King Prawn and the entire Muppet cast – some of who have not been seen in over 35 years – along with Thomas Wilkins, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and special surprise celebrity guests, for a once-in-a-lifetime event you’ll never forget. The Muppets Take the Bowl – a variety spectacular... funnier, flashier and more Muppetationally entertaining than humanly possible!”
|Sam the Eagle and Scooter introduce Tom Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, who perform "The Star-Spangled Banner."|
|Kermit appears on the projected logo, introducing the show. The Muppets appear and perform a variation of "The Muppet Show Theme." Some arches are re-created on stage, while other rows are shown on the screen. Other Muppets appear projected along the shell. Statler and Waldorf sing the bridge from a table in the audience, commenting at various points throughout the show (in pre-taped material played on the monitors). As the song comes to a close, Gonzo plays attempts the finale note on his horn, which emits the sound of a car alarm.|
|Kermit begins the show, under the misconception that they're performing for a half hour. Scooter informs him that they have the venue booked for a whole two hours and must stretch for time as much as possible. While mentioning the show will "raise the bar," Gonzo appears, ready to pole vault.|
|Suddenly, "Piggy's Fantasy" begins to play as Miss Piggy is carried out by some dancers, with Bobby in a white tuxedo tossing flower petals. Piggy expects to be performing her musical number now, but Kermit convinces her to wait until later in the program.|
|The Muppets launch into their first number of the evening, a medley of traveling songs. Kermit and Fozzie ride a prop car across the stage, singing "Movin' Right Along." Rowlf is then seen at his piano, singing "I've Been Everywhere," altering the lyrics to mention various California cities. Finally, Bobby and Walter portray hitchhikers, singing "On the Road Again" with Kermit, Fozzie, Rowlf, a bunny and four cacti.|
|Muppet News Flash: The Newsman reports that somebody plans on stealing the show. The camera cuts to the supposed suspects - a section of the audience.|
|A live edition of Pigs in Space, entitled "The Suits Awaken." The crew of the Swinetrek face the consequences of making too many references to famous science-fiction movies. When Bobby shows up as an alien copyright lawyer, the crew raises their parody shields and sets sail for the public domain.|
|A group of wigs sing the titular song from Hair. Beauregard rushes in with a giant pair of scissors, as the wigs flee the stage. Scooter notes that "Hair has been cut."|
|With time to fill, Scooter resorts to "plan B." Sweetums, dressed as a flower, chases Bobby around the stage as the orchestra plays the "Flight of the Bumblebee."|
|The screens play a segment narrated by Uncle Deadly, describing all of Miss Piggy's positive attributes. The camera gets tighter and tighter until Piggy ends up smooshed against the lens.|
|Gonzo informs the audience of his upcoming act and makes sure they are comfortable with lava, cannons and baloney spiders. Bobby tells him how much of a fan he is, citing that he made him feel being a "weirdo" was okay. "Bobby," Gonzo says, "it is not okay to be a weirdo... it's amazing!" Gonzo then asks Bobby if he would be in his act. Bobby happily obliges at first, until he remembers that he's part of the P.E.T.B.S. (The People for the Ethical Treatment of Baloney Spiders).|
|Kermit hops up on top of a piano and starts to perform "Happy Feet." He encourages Bobby to join, who claims he can't dance. A pair of Kermit legs are attached him, which dance along.|
|Conductor Thomas Wilkins leaves the stage, hearing an announcement that his car (with the vanity plate "I CONDUCT") is being towed. It turns out to be Pepe the King Prawn, who uses the opportunity to conduct the orchestra himself, with each of his four hands holding a baton. He conducts the orchestra to play a spicy version of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5," when Wilkins returns and the two have a musical duel.|
|Sam the Eagle tries to counterbalance the nonsense seen so far with a song from Wayne and Wanda. The duo sing "Send in the Clowns," when they reach the end of the verse and a group of monsters dressed as clowns chase them off the stage.|
|To demonstrate Hollywood nepotism, Kermit brings on his nephew Robin and some of his frog cousins to perform. Their group, called "Croak-a-Pella," attempts an a capella version of "Hooray for Hollywood," but forget most of the lyrics due to nervousness (substituting them for "ribbit" mostly).|
|Kermit points out the abundance of Hollywood producers in the crowd and shows off some projects they've been working on, hoping to be greenlit. A series of "Mupfronts" are shown on the screens, presented as Netflix viewing options. First is an edition of "Veterinarian's Hospital," featuring guest patient Danny Trejo. Next, Pepe stars in "Keeping Up with the Crustaceans." Finally, the Swedish Chef battles moldy bread in "The Walking Bread."|
|Bobby introduces Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, who perform a mini-set of "Can You Picture That?," "Home" and "Suffragette City."|
|The Muppets open Act II with a variation of their 2009 version of "Bohemian Rhapsody." Animal, Pepe, Beaker, Dr. Teeth, Bobby, Sweetums and a choir. Miss Piggy appears as an angel after the number.|
|Muppet News Flash: Backstage, the Newsman reports on the number of trap doors in the Hollywood Bowl facilities, falling in one himself. Beauregard attempts to make the sign more visible, but falls in as well.|
|Scooter informs Kermit of a few "filler" segments he's added to the rundown (all of which happen in succession) - first, Bobby rushes onstage in a panic and faints, then a parade of "overlooked Muppet characters marches by for all the super fans out there," and finally, Miss Piggy gets angry and karate chops somebody. After Bobby faints and the overlooked Muppets (consisting of Nigel, the "Thingy-Thing," Beautiful Day Monster, the Flying Zucchini Brothers, Old Tom, Pops and Chip) pass through, Piggy complains about not getting a featured act yet. Kermit's response warrants a chop, which ends up hitting Bobby instead.|
|The "Boo Danube" appears, a set of skulls and ghosts, who sing "boo" to the tune of "The Blue Danube." Afterwards, Kermit presents, in lieu of a TED Talk, Muppet Labs.|
|Dr. Bunsen Honeydew has created ways to keep Beaker from being so involved in his smart devices. First, he employs an electric shock to turn Beaker's attention away, then sends him into "The Cloud," a deviceless nirvana where Beaker has access to all his files. He runs into some unsavory, Muppet monsters, who also track him via his location. Beaker is then "downloaded" back to the stage, unfortunately bringing the monsters back with him.|
|Miss Piggy does an interview with The Daily Scandal, describing her upcoming performance. Uncle Deadly interrupts, reminding her that she needs to be at rehearsal, which she is ducking to do the interview (and to get herself pampered).|
|Kermit sets up Fozzie Bear, who will attempt to break the record for most jokes told in a two minute period. With Bobby on timer, the screen shows Fozzie's backstage attempts to get onstage, running into the women's dressing room and the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live. By the time he reaches the stage, he's lost all the time. He and Bobby then perform his classic "Good Grief, the Comedian's a Bear" routine.|
|Kermit tries to introduce the next act, when a group of elegantly dressed penguins and chickens traipse onstage. Scooter informs Kermit that they're season ticket holders of the "pool section." Kermit invites them backstage, a great place to watch the next act, the Swedish Chef.|
|The Swedish Chef and Bobby prepare some salsa, though the Chef adds more peppers than necessary. Upon tasting, Bobby begins to smoke profusely. The Chef douses the heat with some chips.|
|Sam introduces another song by Wayne and Wanda, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay." The two don't make it far into the song before a shark swims through and eats them.|
|Muppet News Flash: The Newsman reports that a tour bus has just been hijacked by some penguins, but due to traffic, they won't be reaching the Bowl anytime soon. He is then trampled by the penguins, who made it on foot.|
|Gonzo (dressed as Doctor Strange) hovers above the stage, using the power of his mind. For his magic act, he requests a volunteer and Bobby is naturally opposed. Kermit ends up in the act, floating with Gonzo, who will attempt to swap places (underscored by "The Final Countdown"). Behind his magic shrouds, he only succeeds in swapping their heads. Kermit begs Wilkins to play a classic song while they try to fix the situation.|
|Mahna Mahna and the Snowths perform "Mah Na Mah Na." Toward the end, he rushes off stage and the monitors show him exiting the Bowl and riding in a Starline tour bus (with Matt Vogel and Julianne Buescher appearing as tourists). Observing the various sights of Hollywood (including the El Capitan Theatre and Charlie Chaplin Studios), they finally arrive at Pink's Hot Dogs. Mahna Mahna swipes Vogel's cell phone and calls Wilkins, providing one last "Mahna Mahna!"|
|Uncle Deadly recites a dramatic introduction for Miss Piggy's big number. Piggy sings Adele's "Hello," starting off melancholy and turning into a lavish, uptempo number. However, due to skipping rehearsals, she becomes unprepared as the dancers toss her about the stage.|
|Scooter attempts to fill time by beatboxing, while Bobo interrupts with inane questions. He then finds the plug for the stage's power supply and pulls it, causing a blackout.|
|Kermit requests a spotlight among the darkness. Sitting in a swamp set, he begins to sing "Rainbow Connection." Paul Williams appears to sing the second verse, as Bobby and the rest of the Muppets join in on the chorus. They all then sing "The Magic Store," when Crazy Harry sets off the fireworks.|
|Fireworks blast above the bandshell, as the orchestra plays a medley of Muppet songs, including "The Muppet Show Theme," "Hey a Movie!," "Happiness Hotel," "Sailing for Adventure," "We're Doing a Sequel," "Life's a Happy Song," "I Hope That Somethin' Better Comes Along," and "Together Again."|
|The Electric Mayhem, the Muppets, the guest stars, the dancers and the choir perform an encore of "With a Little Help from My Friends." Kermit signs off and the Muppet performers are given a formal curtain call. As the orchestra plays a final selection, brief clips are shown on-screen, including Jimmy Kimmel reading from Fozzie's discarded joke book and Kermit and Animal giving a goodbye to the crowd.|
- Bobby Moynihan, host
- Paul Williams, guest
- Danny Trejo (video cameo)
- Jimmy Kimmel and Guillermo Rodriguez (video cameo)
- Thomas Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
- Fred Martin and the Levite Camp Choir
- Dave Goelz: The Great Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Waldorf, Beauregard
- Bill Barretta: Pepe the King Prawn, Rowlf, The Swedish Chef, Dr. Teeth, Bobo, Mahna Mahna
- Eric Jacobson: Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Sam Eagle, Newsman
- Matt Vogel: Kermit the Frog, Uncle Deadly, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, Camilla, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Snowth, Sweetums
- David Rudman: Scooter, Janice, Beaker, Wayne
- Peter Linz: Walter, Robin, Statler, Link Hogthrob, Lips, Snowth
Additional Muppet Performers
- Dave Barclay, Julianne Buescher (Yolanda, Wanda, Hair, Bunny, Chloe the Clam, Siri Voice, Ghost, Green Frackle), Tim Blaney, Kevin Carlson, Ryan Dillon, Alice Dinnean, John Kennedy, Tim Lagasse, Bruce Lanoil, Noel MacNeal, Drew Massey, James Murray, Paul McGinnis, Michael Oosterom, Carmen Osbahr, Karen Prell, Mike Quinn, Michelan Sisti, Allan Trautman
- Angel Marie, Animal, Bananas, The Barbershop Cactus Quartet, Beaker, Beauregard, Beautiful Day Monster, Big Mean Carl, Behemoth, Bobo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Camilla the Chicken, Chickens, Chip, Chloe the Clam, Crazy Harry, Cue Card Monster, Cynthia Rose, Doglion, Dr. Teeth, Flowers, Floyd Pepper, The Flying Zucchini Brothers, Fozzie Bear, Frogs, Ghosts, Gonzo, Green Frackle, Happy Yellow Creature, J.G., Janice, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Kermit the Frog, Lew Zealand, Link Hogthrob, Lips, Luncheon Counter Monster, Mahna Mahna, Marvin Suggs, Maxine, Miss Piggy, Mo Frackle, The Mutations, Nigel, The Newsman, Old Tom, Penguins, Pepe the King Prawn, Pokey, Pops, Rizzo the Rat, Robin the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Sam the Eagle, Scooter, Shark, Skulls, The Snowths, Statler and Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, Sweetums, Uncle Deadly, Walter, Wayne and Wanda, Yolanda Rat, Zoot
- Directors: Kirk Thatcher and Andrew Williams
- Written by: Jim Lewis, Andrew Williams, Kirk Thatcher and Matthew Barnette
- The Muppets Studio: Debbie McClellan (producer), Tracy Gilbert, Andrea McCallin, Michael Steinbach, and Katherine Lewis.
- Soapbox Films: Jessica Stewart (producer), Chelsea DeVincent (Associate Producer), Jamie Cernich (Project Coordinator), and Kaley Lankenau (Post Producer)
- Music Producer: Ed Mitchell
- Music Arranger/Orchestrator: Steve Morell
- Sound Engineer: Rick Ruggieri
- Choreography: Michael Rooney
- The Muppet Workshop Supervisor: Jane Gootnick
- Puppet Wranglers: Greg Ballora, Gretchen Crookes, Andrea Detwiler, and Peter MacKennan
- Production Designer: Andy Walmsley
- Propmaster: Deron Wright
The Muppets posted a number of videos to social media in the days leading up to the concerts.
- Hollywood Bowl program page
- Tough Pigs: "REPORT: The Muppets Take the Bowl
- Los Angels Times: "A new Kermit goes Hollywood as 'The Muppets Take the Bowl'"
- Variety: "Concert Review: ‘Muppets Take the Bowl’ Is Timeless and Clever for All Ages"
- MXDWN.com: "The Muppets with Dr. Teeth and Electric Mayhem Wow With Five-Star Hollywood Bowl Performance"