'Emmet Otter' gets musical update
The Jim Henson Co. has teamed with iTheatrics to develop a stage tuner version of its 1977 TV special “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas.”Composer-lyricist Paul Williams (“The Rainbow Connection”), who wrote the music for the hourlong teletuner, is aboard to contribute additional material for the project. Christopher Gattelli, a current Tony nominee for his choreography of “South Pacific,” will direct as well as co-write the book with iTheatrics topper Tim McDonald. Show is said to be in the early phases of development, with no theater or timeline specifics yet confirmed. Based on a 1971 children’s book by Russell and Lillian Hoban, plot follows an otter and his mother as they enter a talent show — separately and unbeknownst to each other — in hopes of winning prize money to buy each other a Christmas gift. The TV special originally aired on HBO and has since been seen on ABC and Nickelodeon. Live version will use a combo of thesps and puppets.