Review: The Muppets Take The Bowl and Bring Back Iconic Magic, Mayhem and “Mahna Mahna”

"Rainbow Connection" featured Paul Williams with the Muppets during The Muppets Take the Bowl. 
(Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging)

"Rainbow Connection" featured Paul Williams with the Muppets during The Muppets Take the Bowl.
(Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging)

Imagine instead of sitting in front of a television watching the beloved “The Muppet Show,” you were actually sitting in the audience, and that’s The Muppets Take The Bowl. No, seriously I can’t stress that enough. It’s an experience like no other in the history of the Bowl and pop culture-related shows we’ve attended.

It’s part live concert composed of a collection of their greatest hits and part variety show with new takes on classic sketches mixed in some with contemporary parodies. We see Pigs in Space, Swedish Chef slapstick, Sweets walking around in person with Kermit and company right before our eyes in a cleverly assembled live show. If you would have told me that I would get to be in a crowd watching Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem live, I would have laughed, but it actually happened at the Bowl.

The event created for the Hollywood Bowl was hosted by comedian and “SNL” vet Bobby Moynihan, who complimented the Muppet ensemble and bounced off them with earnest whimsy and wit. He was a fan being on stage, going along with the antics of the Henson icons. He can join the company and hit the road with them because that’s where this show should go: everywhere. This is what the reboot should be, sincere and classic Muppet magic with some nods to evolving pop culture but not straying from their roots. This show truly had everything that made the show special and the Muppets so dear to the hearts of generations.

Kermit was, of course, running the show, as a gag opened that he believed the show to be half an hour like the TV program but then was told they had the full night. And a full night it was indeed with a medley of close to 40 songs and skits. There were show-stopping numbers like Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem rocking the Bowl, Miss Piggy’s “best for last” number that shows why she’s the diva of divas and Kermit the Frog bringing everyone to tears with “The Rainbow Connection” (with special guest, co-writer Paul Williams).

And there were fireworks to Muppets music, too!

It’s honestly the best show I’ve ever seen at the Bowl and an event that every Muppet fan should seek out to experience. The timeless themes of the shows and legendary movies lived on through the Henson legacy onstage. Truly a night that will never be forgotten that celebrates an inclusive world, love for all, the power of friendship, infectious laughter and the happiness of the family the Muppets have always been to us.

The Hollywood Bowl should give them an annual weekend residence. We can’t wait to see the show again. If you can, buy tickets for Sunday’s finale show. It’s worth it.

Sabina Ibarra is a Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter: @Wicked_Phoenix

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