Goblin King Players to showcase ‘Labyrinth’ with movie showing, masquerade ball – Press and Guide

Goblin King Players to showcase ‘Labyrinth’ with movie showing, masquerade ball

See the costumes at The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of Kristina Lakey. 

David Bowie impersonator Dan Gerics will portray Jareth the Goblin King, Bowie's character in 1986's "Labyrinth," at the  “‘Labyrinth’ Celebration by the Goblin King Players” at the Redford Theatre in Detroit Aug. 13-14.
Photo courtesy of Kristina Lakey. David Bowie impersonator Dan Gerics will portray Jareth the Goblin King, Bowie’s character in 1986’s “Labyrinth,” at the “‘Labyrinth’ Celebration by the Goblin King Players” at the Redford Theatre in Detroit Aug. 13-14.

Initially, Gates McFadden – best known for playing Dr. Beverly Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” – turned down the offer to be the director of choreography and puppet movement in 1986’s “Labyrinth.”

“I was cast in (1986’s) ‘Hannah and Her Sisters.’ I already had my costume fittings. I was shooting a 2-month job on TV. I had a play. I was really feeling great. Then I had an accident while cross-country skiing and had to have major surgery… It took me two months to recover. I lost all three jobs. It was tough. I was like, ‘Oh, man, what am I gonna do? I need the money,’” said McFadden.

Fortunately, “Labyrinth” director Jim Henson, who created the Muppets, offered McFadden the position again and she accepted this time. McFadden – who currently hosts the podcast “Gates McFadden InvestiGates” – had previously collaborated with Henson on 1984’s “The Muppets Take Manhattan” and 1985’s “Dreamchild.”

“I said okay. I knew it was gonna be in England and gonna be nine months of my life. That’s how that happened,” recalled McFadden. “I remember walking into the studio and there was nothing there… Everything was empty. There were these vast rooms. By the time that film was done, there was so much stuff jammed in and so many people working on puppets – it was incredible.”

“Labyrinth” was a collaboration between Henson and “Star Wars” creator/auteur George Lucas. The movie starred a 14-year-old Jennifer Connelly (who would later win the Oscar for 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind”) and the late rocker David Bowie, whom Rolling Stone declared the “Greatest Rock Star Ever,” following his death in 2016.

“Labyrinth” will play Friday, Aug. 13, and Saturday, Aug. 14, at the Redford Theater in Detroit as part of its “‘Labyrinth’ Celebration by the Goblin King Players.” Guests are encouraged to attend in formal celebration attire or as their favorite “Labyrinth” character (costumes must be family-friendly) for the masquerade party. There will be a costume contest with various prizes. Guests can also get their photos taken with the Jareth the Goblin King (Bowie impersonator Dan Gerics). Serious Moonlight, a Bowie tribute band, will provide live music.

  • Jareth the Goblin King (David Bowie) and Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) in a scene from 1986's "Labyrinth."

  • Gates McFadden (left) of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" fame and future Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly on the set on "Labyrinth" circa 1986. McFadden was the movie's director of choreography and puppet movement, whereas Connelly (who was 14 at the time of filming) played the female lead.

  • Photo courtesy of Kristina Lakey. David Bowie impersonator Dan Gerics will portray Jareth the Goblin King, Bowie's character in 1986's "Labyrinth," at the “‘Labyrinth’ Celebration by the Goblin King Players” at the Redford Theatre in Detroit Aug. 13-14.

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“We’ve been planning the ‘Labyrinth’ Celebration since February 2019. This is our love letter to Jim Henson and the incredible legacy of ‘Labyrinth,’” said Kristina Lakey, director/producer for the Goblin King Players/event organizer.

In “Labyrinth,” the plot revolves around teenager Sarah Williams (Connelly), who reluctantly babysits her infant half-brother Toby (Toby Froud, who’d grow up to become a puppeteer on 2019’s “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,” based on another Henson creation). Frustrated by Toby’s constant crying, Sarah wishes the goblins appearing in “The Labyrinth,” the book she’s reading, would take Toby away. Jareth the Goblin King (Bowie) magically appears and kidnaps him, granting her wish. Sarah recants her wish, however, and Jareth gives her 13 hours to find Toby before he’s turned into a goblin forever. On her quest to rescue Toby, Sarah befriends many fairy tale creatures who aid her.

The costumes Connelly and Bowie wore in “Labyrinth,” as well as various props, are currently on display in “The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, which is running through Labor Day.

“I’ve heard glowing comments from people of all ages who have found things they love there – either related to personal memories or just because Jim Henson’s Muppets have a kind of power over people – the power to make people kinder, happier, nicer to one another. One person said we all need this exhibit right now. I don’t know that anyone can come out of that exhibit without being impressed both by what Henson accomplished during his lifetime, and the impact he and his work still have on us today,” said Donna Braden, The Henry Ford curator of public life.

Stacey Buchanan, of Saline, and her family attended the Henson Exhibit.

“The details in the masquerade costumers were especially impressive when we got close up – like we’ve seen with other movie costumes, such as the recent Marvel exhibit (at The Henry Ford),” she said. “You can’t always appreciate the skill and art that goes into that work when it’s on the big screen.”

“Labyrinth” received mixed reviews (mostly positive) and didn’t perform well at the box office. It was also the last movie directed by Henson, who died in 1990. However, it was nominated for two Saturn Awards and the British Academy Film Awards. It also did well on home media and has since gained a large cult following. There have been talks of a sequel, but nothing has emerged. In a 1997 interview, Connelly stated: “I still get recognized for ‘Labyrinth’ by little girls in the weirdest places. I can’t believe they still recognize me from that movie.”

McFadden called working on “Labyrinth” a “pretty extraordinary experience.”

“Jennifer was so young and obviously stunningly beautiful then. She’s become such a fantastic actress – it’s wonderful to see that happen. I worked with her on a few things, and she was wonderfully receptive. I’m so happy for her that she’s gone on to such a wonderful career,” said McFadden. “I didn’t have that much of a chance to be a fangirl (around Bowie) because I had so much responsibility; there was always something I had to do, and I was always working on things. It wasn’t like we were hanging out, but there were moments that were really, really fun. He really was an extraordinary artist; I admire his work as an artist so much. He was so down-to-earth and just normal. He’d chat with people; he wasn’t at all pretentious – it was lovely.”

“The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited”

“The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” is running now until Labor Day – Tuesday, Sept. 6 – from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Henry Ford, located at 20900 Oakwood Blvd. in Dearborn. The cost to attend is as follows:

$25 general admission
$22.50 (ages 62 and up)
$18.75 (ages 5-11)
Free to all members and to children ages 4 and younger.
Visit https://www.thehenryford.org/current-events/calendar/the-jim-henson-exhibition-imagination-unlimited.

‘Labyrinth: Celebration by the Goblin King Players”

The “‘Labyrinth: Celebration by the Goblin King Players” will be at the Redford Theatre, located at 17360 Lahser Road in Detroit, on the following dates:

Friday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 14, at 7 p.m.
Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased online at (https://ci.ovationtix.com/36213/production/1043878). Parking is free. Concessions are available for purchase and are cash only. Although doors open at 7 p.m. for the masquerade party and the movie will play at 8:30 p.m. (which includes a sing-along), people are expected to line up one hour in advance. For questions or more information, contact the Redford at 313-537-2560 or Tickets@redfordtheatre.com.