May 31, 2011

Live from Sesame Street, Part 1: Childhood Icons and Dancing Sheep

Filed under: Feature,Interviews — Tags: , , , — Ryan Roe @ 9:33 am

The cast and crew of the TV showSesame Street (You may have heard of it) recently wrapped their production season after several months of hard work. Tough Pigs had the good fortune to be there for one day of shooting, and we brought a video camera to capture some of the goings-on.

On the day we visited the set, production was under way on an upcoming street story featuring a whole heap of Sesame characters, includingBert and Ernie, Susan and Gordon, Maria and Luis, and Oscar. In other words, it was a pretty darn good day to be there. We managed to slip into the makeup room between takes for a video Q&A with Emilio Delgado (Luis) and Roscoe Orman (Gordon). Everyone reading this probably already knows which actor plays which character, so I don’t really need theparentheticals, eh?Oh well… I’ll leave them in case my dad is reading this. Anyway, I’ll let Messrs. Delgado and Orman tell you a little bit about the plot of the episode, as well as what it’s like acting with Muppets, memories of working with John-John, and more:

By the way, the question of whether they’re taping season 42 or 43 was clarified later, when we learned that during this production period they’ve been working on street stories for both the coming season and the season after that. Either way, that’s a lot of seasons.

The episode was about Bert and Ernie’s apartment getting flooded, requiring them to stay somewhere else while Maria and Luis attempt to fix the pipes, and while Oscar scuba-dives in the basement. When we arrived on the set, they were preparing to shoot a scene in which Ernie and Bert are staying over at Susan and Gordon’s apartment, and naturally, they bring their beds into Susan and Gordon’s bedroom. We didn’t get to see a script, but my best educated guess is that Ernie has trouble sleeping and invites some sheep (likely related to the Boogie-Woogie Sheep) over so he can count them.

When you watch Sesame Street on TV and you see a set like Susan and Gordon’s bedroom, it never occurs to you to think about how much space it takes up, or the logistics of “building up” to allow the puppeteers to work without doing a contortionist act. This set was built up, so before they could start, Roscoe Orman and Loretta Long (Susan) had to climb up a set of stairs to get into the bed. The whole set was built on the same stage as the main set, just a few feet away from 123 Sesame Street.

Here’s a look behind the scenes of one take from this street story:

For those of you keeping score at home, the sheep are performed by Carmen Osbahr, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, and Joey Mazzarino, and Ernie is being right-handed by Matt Vogel. (Ernie and Bert are performed by Steve Whitmire and Eric Jacobson, respectively, as usual.)

We’ll have more cool videos from the set of Sesame Street coming soon, so keep an eye on this here website. Our thanks to the Sesame gang for the hospitality, and a tip of the hat to Steve Swanson!

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Click here to dance with sheep on the Tough Pigs forum!

by Ryan Roe – Ryan@ToughPigs.com



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