Answers from Daniel Marando
1) Who are your three favourite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
Miss Piggy, Sweetums and Kermit. The Pig is certainly one that is and will always be a favourite of mine, not just because of her visual/physical appeal but she is such a layered character and strives for whatever her desires are regardless of anything/one else! Sweetums is scary, adorable and just the epitome of a Muppet Monster – I love that. Last but not least, Kermit. The every frog, the face of the franchise, and certainly archetypal of what I believe makes people human – but he’s a frog!
2) Who are your three favourite characters from Sesame Street and why?
Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Snuffy. Big Bird as he is probably one of the most frequent Sesame characters that visit the Muppet Universe (The Muppet Show, The Muppet Movie, various television specials), PLUS his voice is so darn cute. Cookie Monster cause… COOKIES are Awesome! And Snuffy has gorgeous eyelashes – MaxFactor eat your heart out!
3) Who are your three favourite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
Firstly I love Red Fraggle because I was always fascinated with her hair as a kid, what a great design. Wembely is a close second because he is just so likable. And last but not least, Junior Gorg because although he was scary to me, I always enjoyed episodes that included him and the other Gorgs.
4) What is your favourite television program starring any of Jim Henson’s creations (e.g. The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Dinosaurs, etc.) and why?
The Muppet Show is by far my favourite Henson program. It was my first insight into comedy, dance, song, celebrity, variety – it covered so many bases for me. And now as a music theatre performer I do believe that The Muppet Show inspired me to follow these aspirations.
5) What is your favourite Muppet movie and why?
The Muppet Movie. The ultimate road trip film! What better way to drive across the USA than meeting a hoard of talking, singing, dancing animals that all share the same dream of stardom? Great songs, well-rounded characters, chase scenes and an appropriate villain — it has everything!
6) What is your favourite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
Just ONE? Wow – I suppose if I had to choose one it would have to “The Rainbow Connection.” This song epitomizes ‘the dream’ that all The Muppets share and its message is all encompassing of everyone’s desire to strive for the seemingly unattainable. Honourable mentions include: “The Muppet Show Theme,” “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday,” “Piggy’s Fantasy” (I love grandiose), “Together Again,” “Bless Us All,” just to name a few — What a cruel question!
7) If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
I’d really love to speak with Frank Oz. Although he’d scare me to death, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to discuss all things Muppet with the closest living collaborator of Jim. With his directing expertise and me being an actor, it would further induce conversation on character, story, script, etc.
8) If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
Thank you for being an inspiration to me, and the many millions of people that are in awe of you, not only as a creator but also as a person.
9) If the President called you and asked to discuss Muppet projects, what would you tell him was the “Greatest Muppet Moment of All Time”?
Wow! The President is calling an Australian to answer this question? Well, I guess I’d have to say, “Mr (or Mrs) President, to me I believe the greatest Muppet moment of all time is the when The Muppets celebrated their big screen debut in the television special, The Muppets Go Hollywood. The special includes stars galore, musical numbers, grand entrances (Piggy) and in the end after the party has ended, The Muppets themselves are left to clean the venue — True Muppet Hilarity!
10) What’s the name of that song?
Wont you tell me what’s ‘A Nice Girl Like Me’, doing in a place that never closes?!
12) In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
This would definitely have to be The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz, which is so hilarious to me because out of my THREE favourite films of all time, The Muppet Movie and The Wizard of Oz are TWO of them. I suppose if you’re going to make any sort of Wizard remake it has to have an edge (nothing could ever compete with the original 1939 film), but they really missed the mark on this abomination.
13) Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
Based off the guests they had on The Muppet Show, I’d have to say Kristin Chenoweth. I know she was Miss Noodle on Elmo’s World but I think she’d fit into the Muppet World perfectly – She’s cute, funny, talented and SHORT! I could see some hilarious diva off moments between her and the pig!
14) If you could take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose?
Miss Piggy would be a top photo op, posing in classic ‘Muppet-Face’ poses OR Sweetums bear hugging me off the ground.
15) What is your favourite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)
It’s hard to choose just one piece. But I love my Master Replicas, Muppet Busts and Palisades collections. Sadly I live in an apartment and a lot of my collection is boxed up in storage until the day I get my own place and create a ‘Muppet Room’ for it all to be displayed. So at the moment I have an IKEA cabinet housing some of my knick-knack Muppet items. My favourite part of the collection is probably my Muppet Film Sheet Music Songbooks.