‘Otter’ swims at Goodspeed

Adaptation of Muppet musical sets debut

This time it’s not just about the puppets.

“Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas,” the world preem tuner based on the 1979 Jim Henson HBO special, will be Goodspeed Musical’s inaugural holiday show this December.

The show will play Dec. 7-Jan. 4 at the Goodspeed Opera House, marking the first time the theater will have four productions in a season at the East Haddam, Conn., venue.

TV production of “Emmet Otter” was an all-puppet affair, but the stage version will feature 19 actors in the principal roles and an orchestra of eight.

Goodspeed Musicals will self-produce the offering, which features additional new music by the TV show’s original composer Paul Williams. Production will be helmed and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli (choreographer for Broadway’s “South Pacific” and Off Broadway’s “Altar Boyz”).

Book is by Gattelli and Tim McDonald. The Jim Henson Co., under son Brian and daughter Lisa as co-CEOs, is creating the costumes and puppets for the production.

The show, set in Frog Town Hollow at Christmas, centers on two otters down on their luck, according to theater rep Dan McMahon.

The TV tuner was based on the children’s book of the same name by Russell and Lillian Hoban.

In spring, “Happy Days,” the musical based on the TV sitcom, played prior to its national tour. A rare revival of “Half a Sixpence” is now in previews. The fall show will be “Big River.”

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