As always, today’s Weekly Muppeteer Wednesday was written by Tom Stroud.
Abby Cadabby, Spamela Hamderson, Prairie Dawn’s Mom, various Anything Muppets and monsters
WHO IS LESLIE CARRARA-RUDOLPH?
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph grew up as a Muppet fan, and, like many other Muppeteers, made puppets when she was young. She started out in small theater companies, playing roles such as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors and Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. One day a friend of hers recommended Leslie to Kirk Thatcher, her boyfriend at the time. She was invited to an audition, which was incredibly crowded, and took two days. Bill Barretta was judging her audition, where for her monologue she did The Wizard of Oz in two minutes, a trick of hers. Before she could sing, Barretta stopped her, and told her she didn’t need to sing, and asked her about herself instead. She made it down to the last two people at the audition, after which she was hired.
Her first role was on Muppets Tonight, playing “Bay of Pigswatch” character Spamela Hamderson, who soon expanded beyond the sketch, being used as a “bimbo” pig character whose seemingly only value was her attractiveness. It was on the set of Muppets Tonight where she met her future husband, Assistant Musical Director and friend of The Muppet Mindset, Paul Rudolph. She later worked on the second season of The Wubbulous World of Dr. Suess, where she played roles such as Little Cat A and Morton the Elephant Bird, as well as Animal Jam, where she played Edi the Zebra.
She first heard about the character of Abby Cadabby from Kevin Clash, who convinced her to audition for the fairy character that they were developing for Sesame Street. She went to an audition, and had to perform a puppet that looked like Kermit with braids wearing a dress. This is where she first used Abby’s voice and personality. That night, Kevin called her to tell her she got the part, and she was, of course, overjoyed to hear it. She has been performing Abby since season 37 of Sesame Street, and little girls everywhere have falen in love with the character, who has also earned her own weekly segment on the show, “Abby’s Flying Fairy School.”
Leslie continues to work on Sesame Street, both as a main performer with Abby Cadabby and a background performer of various Anything Muppets, monsters, and animals. She also continues her work with her original puppet character Lolly, who she designed and originated herself.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org