Muppet Babies Live tour, today through Sunday at the Bayfront Center with show times 7:30 tonight, 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Also March 8-11 at the Sun Dome. Ticket prices are $9.50 and $8.50 with a $1.50 discount for children 2-12. For information, call (St. Petersburg) 892-5767 at the Bayfront and (Tampa) 974-3002 at the Sun Dome.Dancer Elizabeth Figgles doesn't mind the fact that no one can see her when she's on stage.
As part of the "Muppet Babies Live" tour, she's wrapped in a big pink pig suit. This professionally trained dancer appears as Baby Piggy, the preschool version of Muppet Miss Piggy.
It's something Figgles has been doing for almost three years now, and after all that time, you'd expect to hear a few gripes from her on the subject. Not so. "The hardest part is carrying my luggage around," she said, laughing, in a recent interview from Orlando.
Figgles, 26, does a lot of traveling, to be sure. This show is on the road nine months out of the year, and the 30-plus crew of dancers, technicians and concessions people sees a lot of hotel rooms.
"We have to travel, eat and do everything together," Figgles said. "We've become a big family."
There's another family on this tour _ that of the Muppet Babies, younger versions of such famous faces as Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear. It's one of the most successful spin-offs from Jim Henson's original characters. These Muppet Babies have their own cartoon show, and children can see them in person today through Sunday at the Bayfront Center and at the Sun Dome from March 8-11.
As the show opens, according to Figgles, the babies are playing hide and seek in a big nursery. One of the babies hides so well that they end up lost. The show concerns the search for the missing Muppet, complete with songs, dancing and comedy aimed at the younger set.
"Children are very responsive to the show," said Figgles, pointing out there's a lot of audience participation. "We go right into the audience and play with the children."
Figgles takes pride in entertaining these younger crowds. "I like performing for children," said this dancer who was trained at institutes such as the School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theater.
Figgles currently makes her home in New York and has pulled duty on several other road shows, including the popular Dirty Dancing tour across America. And she likes traveling so much that she wants to get on board another road show when this one concludes in June.
There's no telling what that show will be, just as there's no guarantee she'll be as visible as she was on the Dirty Dancing tour. Figgles doesn't seem to mind; she's certain she'll enjoy whatever part she's offered. And who knows, someday she might even grow into the role of Miss Piggy.