I attribute a large portion of my bad eyesight as an adult to sitting too close to the TV during the Muppet Show as a kid. I watched it constantly, soaking in every joke, every song, every "hidey-ho there," until a very clear goal emerged in my mind: someday, I would be on the Muppet Show. No matter what it took, somehow I was going get that dressing room with the star on it, get the "Fifteen seconds to curtain, Mr. Test!" warning from Scooter, and then wait in the wings for the moment that would mean I had finally arrived at the pinnacle of achievement and show business stardom - the moment when Kermit the Frog, waving his arms above his head as only Kermit can, announced to his audience and the world, "It's the Muppet Show, with tonight's special guest, Scott Test! YYAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!" (An aside to my reader: take a moment, wherever you are, and say that sentence with your name in it. Bonus points if you do an impression of Kermit when you do. If you don't get chills, you're not a human being.)
Sadly, this heart-warming tale of childish ambition takes place in the early 90s, long after the Muppet Show went off the air, so I never got my shot. But this past year, I got a chance to do something that was just as good, or maybe just a little bit better - I got to help create the music for a brand-new puppet show, and I got to voice the main character in a story that's going to make lots of little kids very happy very, very soon. The show is called Monster Intelligence, and it premiered at the Theater at West Shore Station May 10th at 2 PM.
Before I got the call from David Manley, the brains and puppeteering brawn behind the Up In Arms Puppet Company, I had never really given much thought to what goes into creating a puppet show from scratch. The way David does it, the process goes as follows:
I would do another one of these in a heartbeat. It was a great chance to write fun songs with a bunch of really cool guys, and I think the kids at the premier had a really good time. Also, there were cookies at the reception, and I think we can all agree that anything that brings more cookies into the world is a thing worth repeating.
The best part? We're not done yet! The show has two more public performances in the area that you can go see before it goes on tour to schools and community centers around the Hudson Valley - and beyond! For more information, check out the Up In Arms website. And check out this cool gallery of photos from the premiere!