It’s time for another round of Muppet Casting,where we take a famous production 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, it’s Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton!
The biggest debate LibraryLass and I had was who to cast as the lead, so much so that it was the final role we cast. We felt that both Hamilton and Burr are so nuanced that few Muppets have the range to fully pull them off, and we wanted the two performers to have a strong relationship of their own that would lend itself to the narrative. With that being said…
Rizzo as Alexander Hamilton – When we finally reached this conclusion, it felt far more natural than I had anticipated. Loud and highly endearing, but overly slick and weak of character?
Gonzo as Aaron Burr – Alex and Aaron’s duel can have Gonzo firing himself out of a cannon in a moment of glorious slapstick before the big tragedy. That by itself justifies this choice already, but Gonzo, along with Kermit, has the strongest pathos of the Muppets, and of the two, Gonzo lends more naturally to a heel with pathos, even if it’s a more restrained role than he usually occupies. Plus, Gonzo can continue to do wonderfully as the designated narrator/audience POV Muppet, as in Christmas Carol and Treasure Island.
Kermit the Frog as George Washington – Who else has the authority to sell this role, to get the whole of both Act’s casts to shut up for a second and listen? Who else can make you so tangibly feel the hurt of having disappointed them?
Scooter as John Laurens – Walter was under consideration for a couple roles, including Laurens, but Scooter just fit this dependable, charming, but tragically short-lived role too well.
Pepe the King Prawn as Marquis de Lafayette – Lafayette needs a strong accent, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be a French one.
Rowlf the Dog as Hercules Mulligan – Who else would be quite as satisfying to see suddenly return in a triumphant moment after being overlooked/fading into the background before?
And just think about how hysterical these three in particular will be for all the “We’re reliable with the laaaaadiiiiies!” lines.
Skeeter as Angelica Schuyler – We all know how much LL loves her vision of a full proper felt Skeeter, and I do love it too. This mostly came down to whether Miss Piggy rapping could work or not, and we agreed that no, it really couldn’t.
Miss Piggy as Eliza Schuyler/Hamilton – But Piggy will be great for the show’s other female lead, especially the fury of “Burn”.
Annie Sue as Peggy Schuyler – An extremely well conceived deep cut idea from LL here. Annie Sue was a minor original Muppet Show character, a lady pig, who was forcefully kept out of the spotlight by a jealous Miss Piggy. The one other idea was Janice on the basis that her voice would be very funny for “And Peggy!”
Fozzie Bear as Thomas Jefferson – Fozzie doesn’t get to be a heel enough! He certainly has the right showmanship for Jefferson, if not the confidence.
Statler and Waldorf as James Madison and James Monroe – Not having to do very much, just sit back and hurl insults at our heroes while supporting everything Jefferson does? Pretty perfect for these old boys.
Robin as Philip Hamilton – Pretty self-explanatory.
As King George III, Our Very Special Guest Star Lin-Manuel Miranda! – We knew that 1. we desperately needed a performer of very high energy for ol’ George, 2. we were running low on high energy muppets, and 3. we really wanted a place for Lin that wasn’t just being Alexander, to stretch our creative muscles, and so this came together quickly and wonderfully. We had considered Sam for King George, to continue the running gag from Muppet Christmas Carol and some of Raven’s articles, but did not feel he had the right energy.
Denise as Maria Reynolds – We like incorporating more recent Muppets when we can, and Denise is just too apt as the beautiful, sensitive woman who breaks Eliza-Piggy’s heart without even realizing it.
Lew Zealand as Charles Lee – Almost every Muppet’s voice lends itself well to the humor of delivering “I’m a general, wheeeee!”, but Lew is right to be the guy you knew should never have gotten that generalship. Also, he can use his boomerang fish in his duel.
Uncle Deadly as Mr. Reynolds/Maria’s Husband – I do obviously love when Deadly gets his chances to be on the nicer side, but we wanted this role to lean more creepy than sleazy, and Deadly is the de facto creepy Muppet.
Swedish Chef as Samuel Seabury – We considered the Chef for Lafayette, but realized that his Swedlish lent itself perfectly to Seabury’s repetitive, irritating routine.
Sam the Eagle as George Eacker
Camilla Chicken and Yolanda Rat as Martha Jefferson and Dolly Madison
And that’s our show, everybody! What do you think?