Studebaker Theater is hosting the Chicago premiere of Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas beginning November 16. The holiday run will continue through December 31.
With music and lyrics by Paul Williams, the stage adaptation of the 1977 TV special features a book by Timothy Allen McDonald, who is also lead producing the Chicago run. Christopher Gattelli is back directing and choreographing after staging the musical's 2008 world premiere at Goodspeed Musicals and the 2021 New York premiere Off-Broadway at New Victory Theatre.
The Chicago run features a cast of Broadway notables, led by Andy Mientus (Spring Awakening) in the title role. He's joined by Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone (Hands on a Hard Body) as Ma, Jordan Brownlee as Doc Bullfrog, Nick Cearley as Charlie Muskrat, Kevin Covert as Mayor Fox, Matthew Furtado as Stan Weasel, Sharriese Hamilton as Mrs. Mink, Steven Huynh as Wendell Porcupine, Ben Mathew as Harvey Beaver, Anney Ozar as Old Lady Possum, Emily Rohm as Gretchen Fox, James Silson as Fred Lizard and Jiffy Squirrel, Sawyer Smith as Madame Squirrel, and David Stephens as Yancy Woodchuck. Brownlee, Covert, Furtado, Huynh, Ozar, and Silson are reprising their performances from the New York run, and Covert and Silson have been with the project since its world premiere.
Understudy Adam Fane and swing Leah Morrow round out the company.
Based on the book by Russell and Lillian Hoban and Jim Henson’s popular classic holiday special, the story follows Emmet and Ma Otter as they enter a Christmas Eve talent contest hoping to win prize money to buy each other holiday gifts. The stage adaptation features a mix of costumed performers and puppets from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
As it did Off-Broadway, the Chicago production features scenic design by Anna Louizos, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Jennifer Schriever, sound design by Matt Kraus, music supervision by Larry Pressgrove, and orchestrations by Dan DeLange.