Watch Kermit the Frog Make a Surprise Appearance at Newport Folk Festival

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Kermit the Frog is a pretty talented, um, frog. The beloved Muppet been shown to have a variety of careers over the years including that of show producer, stage manager, and even roving reporter for Sesame Street’s News Flash before the segments were dropped entirely in 2004. But he’s also a musician, his rendition of “Rainbow Connection” from the 1979 film The Muppet Movie among one of film’s more iconic musical performances and it’s that song that Kermit surprised fans with at Newport Folk Festival on Sunday.

The legendary Muppet stunned fans with his appearance, singing famous song and playing his banjo while supported by former Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss on drums. But Kermit’s performance wasn’t the only surprise. My Morning Jacket front man Jim James came out on stage about halfway through the song to perform with Kermit in a rather touching duet. You can check out video of the performance here.

Kermit’s surprise appearance and performance at Newport Folk Festival is one with good timing. The Muppet Movie is back in theaters on July 30 to celebrate its 40th anniversary, meaning that fans can enjoy Kermit’s movie performance of the classic song on the big screen once again. Showings for The Muppet Movie take place at 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on July 30. The film also screened at the same times last week on July 25.

The Muppet Movie is a cinematic treasure, a delightful film that may have been made 40 years ago but is truly timeless, thanks both to its iconic characters and to its always-stirring theme of following your dreams and believing in your own abilities,” Tom Lucas, Fathom Events Vice President of Studio Relations said in a statement back in June. “This film’s return to the big screen is very well deserved and we are happy to work with The Jim Henson Company and Universal Pictures to give it a proper nationwide re-release.”

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The Muppet Movie sees Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, his chicken Camilla, Scooter, and Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem head out on a road trip to Hollywood to chase their dreams of fame and fortune. However, this is a Muppets adventure so you can be sure that there will be plenty of hijinks and shenanigans in the process as well as Kermit’s iconic rendition of the film’s theme song, “The Rainbow Connection”.

Originally released in 1979 The Muppet Movie, like the television series The Muppet Show before it, was a huge success. The film, which featured appearances by numerous stars including Charles Durning, Dom DeLuise, James Coburn, Madeline Kahn, Carol Kane, Elliot Gould, Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Cloris Leachman, and Orson Welles, eve received an Oscar nomination for Best Song with “The Rainbow Connection”. The Muppet Movie was followed by The Great Muppet Caper in 1981, The Muppets Take Manhattan in 1984, The Muppet Christmas Carol in 1992, Muppet Treasure Island in 1996, Muppets from Space in 1999, The Muppets in 2011, and Muppets Most Wanted in 2014 in addition to several television and direct-to-video film offerings.

While there don’t appear to be any movie offerings planned for The Muppets currently, that doesn’t mean that we won’t be getting to see more of the beloved characters — other than this 40th anniversary release — soon. A report back in February noted that a Muppets reboot series from actor Josh Gad along with Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis was in development for Disney+, though the project has yet to be confirmed.

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What do you think about Kermit’s Newport Folk Festival performance? Let us know in the comments below.


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