Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas is a children's storybook by Russell Hoban that was first published in 1971.
Russell Hoban storybook
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Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas was written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by his then-wife, Lillian Hoban, in 1969. The book was published in 1971 by Parents' Magazine Press. The story tells of Emmet Otter and his Ma, a widow who scrapes by on the small amount of money she gets from doing laundry and that Emmet gets from doing odd jobs around their home in the town of Frogtown Hollow despite both of them often being cheated. Some of the people who cheated them are Old Lady Possum and Gretchen Fox (the wife of Mayor Harrison Fox). As Christmas approaches, they hear of a talent contest in the nearby town of Waterville, and separately decide to enter to buy nice presents for each other—a nice guitar for Emmet, or a piano for Ma. However, in a twist on The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, they must sacrifice each other's livelihood for the talent contest. Ma hocks Emmet's tools for dress fabric while Emmet turns Ma's washtub into a washtub bass for a jug band. Emmet assembles Wendell Badger, Harvey Beaver, and Charlie Muskrat as the Frogtown Hollow Jubilee Jug Band.
Emmet and Ma each do an excellent job (despite Emmet's jug band having to frantically change songs after another contestant performs their song, Bar-b-que), only to be defeated at the last minute by a rock and roll band called The Riverbottom Nightmare Band (most likely due to the nasty Gretchen Fox on the judging committee with James Badger and Doc Bullfrog), which comprises a hoodlum gang from the fairly distant town of River Bottom made up of Chuck Stoat, Fred Lizard, Howard Snake, "Pop-Eyed" Catfish, and Stanley Weasel. However, as the Frogtown Hollow Jubilee Jug Band sing a song together on the way home (more accurately, both of their talent show songs together after Ma realized they fit together), they are overheard by Doc Bullfrog (owner of a local restaurant called the Riverside Rest) who hires them to sing for his customers. This grants them the bigger prize.
Jim Henson television special
Jim Henson musical stage adaptation
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In 2008, the Jim Henson Company partnered with "iTheatrics" to develop a musical stage adaptation of the 1977 special. The musical featured a mix of stage actors, puppet characters and songs. Paul Williams wrote new songs specifically for the stage show. Tim A. McDonald and Christopher Gattelli adapted the story for the stage, and Gattelli directed the production. It premiered in a limited-run engagement on December 7, 2008 at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut, and closed on January 4, 2009. The cast featured Daniel Reichard (Emmet Otter), Cass Morgan (Ma Otter), Alan Campbell (Pa Otter), Kate Wetherhead (Jane), Lisa Howard (Mrs. Gretchen Fox), and Jeff Hiller (Will Possum). The musical returned on December 5, 2009 and ran through January 3, 2010
- "Emmet Otter" Stage Show Takes Shape, May 27, 2008
- Jones, Kenneth."Emmet Otter Musical, with Reichard, Morgan, Campbell, Opens in CT", playbill.com, December 17, 2008