Kermit the Frog pops out of a hollow “O” on the title board onstage and announces the day’s special guest star. The board is lifted, Fozzie Bear trots into the scene and is promptly tomatoed away by Statler and Waldorf. No, it’s not yet another TV rerun of The Muppet Show but it could be a live reenactment taking place in Lance Cardinal’s stunning Muppet Theater Playset.
Lance is a freelance set designer, producer, performer and director from Canada – not to mention a hardcore Muppets fan. Over the years he amassed an impressive collection of the Muppet Show character figures and playsets manufactured by toy company Palisades. The firm went bankrupt in 2006 and Lance’s collection -like many others’- was left incomplete. He decided to get down to work and build the piece he would miss the most from scratch. The final result of his endeavors is this amazing theater playset that looks ready to come to life of its own accord at any given minute.
The playset manages to capture the charm of the original theater as seen on the show and it also stays true to the Palisades brand, as Lance intended it. Placed within the Palisades Muppet Toy Line it would certainly not seem out of place.
Muppet enthusiasts will ooh and aah over all the thoughtful little details which help create a sense of tremendous authenticity: The maplewood stage boards, the baroque flourishes on the panels, the row of oyster shell light bulbs, the real trapdoor on the floor.
The drapes can be pulled all the way back, adjusted at different heights or altogether removed thanks to fly rails, ropes and a series of strategically placed hooks. The side panel provides easy access to these.
Moreover, it allows to insert sets and switch between a classic black backdrop or a white cyclorama wall.
Lance’s meticulousness, however, is perhaps best illustrated when the playset is on “Production Mode”. The amount of props on display here is mind boggling. The brick back wall was handmade from concrete mix and hanging from it there are Muppet Movie posters.
The powerbox handle moves up and down, the extinguisher box can be opened and closed and the stencils used to mark the fire exit were hand cut. Sandbags, light switchs, a ladder and a peg rope system are some of the tiny features that complete the grand picture.
Overall, the most important quality of the Muppet Theater Playset is not how precise it is but rather how much love was evidently pored into the making of it. J.P. Grosse would be floored to find out what a wonderful sight his old vaudeville house makes when envisioned by Lance.
Via: Lance Cardinal