Things were wild and woolly from the start as "The Muppet Show on Tour" opened a five-day run at the Patriot Center in Fairfax on Thursday. Kermit the Frog, doubling as featured performer and emcee, seemed as bedeviled by his life-size companions here as he has been for so many years on television and in the movies. Here's some of what he had to cope with:
The Great Gonzo wheeling down the runway on a skateboard and coming close to landing in the laps of orchestra-level spectators.
Miss Piggy, accompanied by four mustachioed, gaping-mouth gigolos, reminiscing in song and confirming her terpsichorean talents with a tap dance routine and a high-kicking cancan.
Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem Band living up to their name with a raucous rock 'n' roll revue that segued from "You Ain't Nothin' but a Hound Dog" to '60s rock to a state-of-the-art production number replete with sequined costumes and a haze of smoke.
Up in the right stage balcony, those two senior citizens, nodding to one another and kibitzing the performers below, while dog-sized rats dumped trash on a hapless janitor from the left stage balcony.
Kermit handled it all, as he always has, with naive grace and good humor. The 90-minute family program, filled with familiar characters and fueled by an engaging lunacy, incorporated elements of television and Tinseltown, but also bowed to music hall and vaudeville traditions.
There was even a show within the show, cast as a rehearsal for the troupe's "Salute to America" finale, complete with crises provoked by an exploding computer and a sprung hydraulic lift. Other story lines had Miss Piggy tied to the railroad tracks and Gonzo thwarting a nocturnal burglary.
"The Muppet Show on Tour," a song and dance that's not routine, continues with morning shows and matinees through Monday.