If you’ve been following the site the last week, you’ll know that there’s a super exciting new exhibit dedicated to Jim Henson and the Muppets now open at The Museum of Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, NY! In case you missed it, be sure to check out our coverage of the new exhibit here, which is an absolute must-visit for any Muppet fan. In the midst of all this excitement, we hardly had the chance to share another incredibly exciting thing to come out of the opening ceremonies, and it’s a big one, so hold onto your comedian bear hats: Fozzie Bear, Red Fraggle, and Abby Cadabby all made appearances to help kick off the celebrations at the Museum’s ribbon-cutting ceremony!
At the event was yours truly, now donning my officially licensed Muppet journalist badge (in its small travel-sized version. The real one is bigger). However, instead of simply sharing my own experience at the event with you, which is what we planned in the case that no photos or video would be allowed, I’m happy to be able to share photos and video, courtesy of the NYC Mayor’s Office, who recorded the entire ceremony. In addition, we’ve been given official photos by the Museum, so we’re glad to be able to share that with all of you as well.
At the start of the morning, all of the media attending the event met in one of the Museum’s small screening areas, directly across from the new Jim Henson Exhibition, now donning a red ribbon across its entrance. While special guests were setting up, including New York’s First Lady, Chirlane McCray, New York City Council Majority Leader, what everyone was really waiting for, were the teased appearances of Red, Abby and Fozzie. Muppet fans will also be excited to hear that Cheryl Henson, Jim’s daughter, also appeared to celebrate the opening. By the time I entered the press conference until it actually began was a solid forty-five minutes, which meant the poor character performers had to kneel down behind the podium for nearly an hour and a half, which added a brilliant sense of realism when the characters did finally appear. We need to take a moment to give credit to Karen Prell, Leslie-Carra Rudolph and Eric Jacobson for a brilliant improvisational performance. It’s always fun to see The Muppets ad-lib things off-script, and these three hit it out of the park in the short time they were up on stage. Obviously, these three didn’t appear together, because Disney/Henson/Sesame’s legal department would have to work overtime otherwise.
Photo credit: Donna Ward
After the event, the guests were invited to look inside The Jim Henson Exhibition, which we were lucky enough to have done two days earlier in a special preview. But what was great about seeing it this time was that I was also experiencing it with many people who worked with The Muppets. Seeing so many people who were connected to the Muppets experiencing this exhibit was incredible, and it was amazing to see their work showcased so beautifully. Also to the museum curators and designers who can finally sleep in on the weekends because this thing is finally finished, and we can’t thank them enough for their work.
Witnessing this all first hand was a truly exciting treat, especially sitting in a room full of over-exhausted press, you could feel the level of enthusiasm every time one of the Muppets would jump out from behind the podium. Each one had the guests in stitches, especially Fozzie’s disappointment in learning the name of the Museum isn’t called ‘The Museum of Moving Fromage”. It was a truly exciting experience and I’m so glad that Sesame Workshop, The Walt Disney Company, and The Jim Henson Company were able to allow these characters to be a part of this ceremony. The Museum has created something truly spectacular, and I’m so glad that The Muppets were able to be a part of that in such a perfect, brilliant fashion.
We also need to thank the Museum of Moving Image for their assistance and for hosting a wonderful event. We’re proud to be able to share the experience of this great exhibit with you, and we couldn’t have done all of this without their help.