Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Muppets take on heritage conservation

The plot of the next Muppet movie, set for release in November 2011, takes on heritage conservation !

Muppet Theatre is slated for demolition. No, not by 'Crazy Harry' or the equally dangerous 'building owner who lets their property fall to pieces out of neglect'. Instead, it's oil speculators who want to purchase and demolish it in order to drill for a newly found oil deposit in downtown L.A.. (No word if Scooter's uncle is still the owner of the theatre).

The troupe must rally to fundraise the $10m necessary to save it from the wreckers ball.

A look at Muppet Theatre ...

The theatre in question is the circa 1911 Los Angeles Theatre. It was the most expensive theatre on a per-seat basis built in the city at the time. The almost palatial interior put it in the top tier of Hollywood venues for a number of decades.

As L.A.'s downtown began to decline in the 1960s so did the fortunes of the Los Angeles Theatre. It fell into disrepair and eventually closed (of course, that's when The Muppets began using it).

The house has been well maintained. It retains many of the original features such as loges (well, at least one) and orchestra pit. Decorative touches such as velvet curtains and the original plaster work give a sense of the luxury that it was famous for.

Despite the lavish productions put on by The Muppets over the years, the footprint of the stage is surprisingly small. This is likely due to the size of the performers and the stagehands - some of whom are rats - that must work it. The scale, though, gives the audience an intimate setting rare in a theatre.

Back stage the signs of age can be seen.

The original wood interior shows sign of wear and aging infrastructure such as electrical (see over Miss Piggy's shoulder) is in evidence.

The Muppets need to raise $10m for the purchase of the theatre.

Photos are from numerous sources including
Muppet Wiki and fanpop Muppets.

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