It’s time for another round of Muppet Casting, where we take a famous movie and ask, if Jim Henson’s Muppets made their own version of it (in the vein of The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island), which Muppets would you cast in the lead roles?
This week, we return to the works of William Shakespeare to Muppet Cast his most famous play. It’s Romeo and Juliet!
Miss Piggy as Romeo – There could be no question that Kermit & Piggy should be Romeo & Juliet. But, if you put aside the issue of gender, Piggy makes for a far better Romeo than Kermit would. Romeo is the more aggressive and prone to action of the two lovers, and at one point loses his temper and engages Tybalt in a lethal sword fight. That just makes so much more sense coming from Piggy than from Kermit.
Kermit the Frog as Juliet – That leaves us Kermit as Juliet, and I think he could do pretty well with the part. Like Kermit, Juliet is initially eager to please and accede to her father’s wishes, but later on can explode in frustration as circumstances become more miserable. And Juliet’s balcony pining for Romeo is the sort of sad wistfulness Kermit can do so well.
Gonzo the Great as Mercutio – Sadly, if Kermit’s not Romeo, then Fozzie can’t be Mercutio, as it’d be a shame to split that duo up. However, as perfect as Fozzie would seem for Mercutio on the surface, both being best friends of the leading men and both making jokes all the time, Mercutio is supposed to be genuinely funny most of the time in a way Fozzie rarely ever is on purpose. Gonzo could do pretty great work in the part in his stead; the Queen Mab speech in particular seems fitting as a manic tangent he goes off on.
Fozzie Bear as The Nurse – But don’t worry, we’re not leaving Fozzie out! As I said, it’d be a shame to split up the duo of him and Kermit. So since Kermit’s Juliet in this version, Fozzie will play Juliet’s constant friend and confidante. And given how the Nurse is also used for lots of comic relief, but comic relief not always appreciated by the other characters, Fozzie might fit this role better than he would Mercutio!
Animal as Tybalt – Tybalt is a hot-head whose sole purpose in the play is to instigate needless violence. Animal could do it in his sleep.
Rowlf the Dog as Lord Capulet – The head of House Capulet is a decent enough guy, not really big into the whole feuding families thing, but also not quite sharp enough to see what’s really going on with his daughter. Seems like a part Rowlf could do a good job with.
Rizzo the Rat as Friar Lawrence – There’s always been something a bit shifty about the Friar. Not only is he all too comfortable with aiding and abetting all this sneaking around, but he just happens to have a potion that can put a woman into a state like death? I think, if you put Rizzo in the role, you can really emphasize him as the sort of seedy, quasi-charlatan man of the cloth that two desperate, lovesick fools would turn to. Heck, have Rizzo go full Vegas minister when he arranges Romeo and Juliet’s quickie wedding.
Count von Count as Count Paris – Did I choose this just because they’re both Counts? Yes, yes I did.
and, as Prince Escalus
Our Very Special Guest, Ms. Whoopi Goldberg! – The Prince stands apart from all the squabbling going on between the Montagues and Capulets, so I felt he should be played by a human guest star, who can clearly stand apart from the Muppets and their hijinks. As for why Whoopi Goldberg? Well, when the Prince chastises both families at the end, declaring, “All are punished. All are punished!” . . . maybe it’s just me, but hearing such a harsh rebuke coming from Whoopi feels like it would really sting, more so than if it was delivered by almost anyone else.
Those are my picks for a Muppet rendition of Romeo and Juliet. What are yours?