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Muppeteer Fran Brill's official retirement

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by cahuenga, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    Didn't Matt Vogel perform Big Bird in the Journey to Ernie segments?
  2. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    I never said Fran retiring is bad news, I wish her the best and totally "get it". I just attended a puppetry class with Marty Robinson a few weeks ago at the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts, and while he made no mention of Fran's retirement, he did say that the long standing performers are always training for who will take over next, and that performers move on for a variety of reasons. I think the reason that some of these performers have lasted as long as they have on the show is amazing, and quite a legacy in any profession, so I don't think it's upsetting at all. Just sad to see such a talent not with the show anymore.
  3. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I wasn't going to say anything, but since Drtooth did, I agree, I think people are taking the news of Fran's retirement a little too hard; like Drtooth said, these things happen, but we've yet to hit a false note with both ends of the Muppet spectrum. Yes, it took time to get used to Steve as Kermit and Ernie since Jim's passing; yes it took time to get used to Eric as Bert, Grover, Fozzie, Piggy, Animal, and now Sam and David as Cookie Monster since Frank's retirement; yes it's taking time to get used to David as Scooter and Janice since they've been revived; yes it's taking time to get used to Bill as Rowlf and Dr. Teeth since they've been revived as well; yes it's taking time to get used to Matt as Floyd, Uncle Deadly, and Count since Jerry's passing; yes it's taking to get used to Ryan as Elmo since Kevin's resignation... but keep in mind, the performers take things like this into consideration, and do their best to try replacements or understudies to take on the characters to make the transitions as easy and seamless as possible. It's just gotten ridiculous lately. Steve was under a lot of mental and emotional pressure when it came time to take on Kermit and make it his character since Kermit was so much a part of Jim, but he's done a very good job at keeping Kermit and Ernie alive, that I think even Jim himself would be proud of what Steve's done with them. But more importantly, we gave Steve a chance. Yes, we were sad to lose Jim, and no Steve isn't Jim, but we still gave Steve a chance. We were also accepting of Eric taking on Frank's characters and now Matt taking on Jerry's characters, but anymore it seems anytime a performer leaves us for one reason or another, much of the forum was in an uproar over it. Artie? Everybody was like, "Dood! Dat ain't Steve! Who is this guy? He sux! Bring back Steve!" When Kevin resigned, people immediately ignored the news that Kevin's resignation was permanent and were all, "Kevin will come back soon, I hear rumors that he's going to, so yay, Elmo will be back to normal!" (There was one member in particular who kept doing this, but I won't name names.)

    Yes, it's disorienting when a character changes performers, but when you have characters who survive for this long, you have to expect. it The characters may last forever, but the performers don't. That said, yes, losing Fran is significant, since she was one of the last of the original performers, but like Drtooth said, it's not the end of the world. If she chooses to retire, she has a right to do so: she's been performering for decades, and she's at an age now where she can retire if she wants to, and maybe she'd like to take it easy now that's able to, and just enjoy life while she can. We shouldn't dwell on her no longer being a part of the Muppet family, we should respcet her decision and think fondly on all the joy her charactefd have broguth us overthe lyhears.
    dwayne1115 likes this.
  4. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    That speech was brought to you today by the letters S and the Number 6. :wisdom:
  5. fozzieisfunny

    fozzieisfunny Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry.. Were you having keyboard problems?

    Anyways, I didn't really see what the big whoop was, either. I mean, it's obvious her characters will be recasted.
  6. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    Is it that obvious I mean they are not exactly large characters, Zoe probably will be, but Prarie is a mixed bag.
  7. fozzieisfunny

    fozzieisfunny Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but I feel like Abby is kind of invading Zoe. ZOE was the one who played with Elmo, not ABBY! I feel like at one time or another, her characters will be recast but not at the moment or any time soon.
  8. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    Again, I do not watch SS anymore, but by reading Prarie Dawn's muppet wiki page, and how it has a part that says she spoke her first words in nearly a decade in one of the more recent seasons, then she is probably not likely to be recast anytime soon, and I think Zoe will probably be as well, but I do not know at all.
  9. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    No, not keyboard problems, forum problems; ever since the upgrade, I have to keep reminding myself to switch to BB Code Editor for posting, because for some reason, the default Rich Text Editor can't seem to register my posts as fast as I type them in the message box (sometimes up to a minute or two for the sentence to finish typing on screen after I've already typed it).
  10. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Ahem... "AROUND" as long as Carol. The key word is around, meaning almost as much but not quite.

    There are a couple posts I've read that had "this is terrible news" (or something to that effect) as the first reaction. I find that a little odd, since the news is just she's just leaving the show instead of something bad happened to her. I'll agree the news is weird to come out of the blue like that, though. It probably would have thrown me off more if Zoe's appearances on the show weren't getting a little thin. Though I still chalk that up to forcing Abby and Elmo together.

    Really seems that they've taken that into account a lot better recently, Sesame Street especially. Steve as Kermit is one thing. But it took years for solid recasts of Jim's other characters. Remember when we all applauded Rowlf's grunt and Dr. Teeth's "Shalom" in MFS? For the most parts, his characters all have speaking roles in the last few projects. Not quite the level they were back when Jim was around, but much more so since. Recasting Frank's Sesame Street roles actually took the show back from Elmo. Who's the Muppet that Sesame Workshop actually brings to appearances and promotions the most now? Cookie Monster. Heck, I'd say Cookie's starting to take over the show from Elmo now. Not bad at all.

    Jerry was savvy enough to know he wasn't going to perform forever and trained Matt to perform his characters while he voiced them. We did not even lose The Count for more than inbetween seasons. Ditto Kevin, Ryan and Elmo. Elmo has a slightly decreased role, but more along the lines of those Frank characters I mentioned. Now we also have another performer for Ernie because Steve is a busy guy. Better to have these people work with understudies now than to have a huge gap in the cast for a while. We've actually started to lose new characters as far as The Muppets are concerned. Going back to Muppets Tonight where the show was mainly new characters with a rare classic one in the background, that was unthinkable then.

    That said, I wonder if they knew Fran was going to retire and had someone in mind taking over Zoe or Prairie. Zoe may have had a slightly diminished role as of late, but Prairie only pops up once every so often.
  11. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Fran is still considered one of the originals, even if she hadn't been with the Muppets or even SST from the very beginning, but she's been a part of the Muppet family since before what's considered the "Second Generation" of performers (Steve, Marty, Kevin, David, et al.) Like Richard, he's considered one of the originals, and he likewise didn't join until the same time as Fran; Dave's also considered an original and he didn't join till the early-to-mid 70s.

    But anyway, as I said before, whatever route SW decides to take in recasting Fran's characters, I honestly believe this would be a great opportunity to really get Stephanie back into the game; physically, she's a stellar performer, and vocally, she's got an incredibly wide range. Fran's voice has a unique sardonic quality to it that I think Stephanie can tap into rather well, and again, it'd give us a variety of female characters again. Don't get me wrong, I love Leslie, she's a great performer, but she's been performing practically every female Muppet for the last few years now, and after a while, all of her voices start to sound the same.
    cahuenga likes this.
  12. fozzieisfunny

    fozzieisfunny Well-Known Member

    Yeesh.. I thought that " AROUND" meant going in a sort of slight turn, as :super: once told me. :p
  13. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    Is Steve really a second generation performer, I mean he performed for half of TMS, and in all the muppet movies, I think he is in between first and second, because his only original characters are Rizzo, and to a lesser extent Lips, Kevin is also more in between considering he started performing before Jim's death, I consider the ones who did not perform with the muppets when Jim was around more of the second group.
    cahuenga likes this.
  14. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Believe it or not, "Second Generation" refers to performers that Jim started hiring from the late 70s through the 80s, when his projects were growing in numbers and he was in need of even more performers outside his already-established core group of himself, Frank, Jerry, Richard, and Dave; this includes Steve, Marty, Kevin, David, and others.

    It makes sense when you think about it. 20-25 years is usually what's considered a generation, Jim started theMuppets in 1955, but it really wasn't until the mid-to-late 70s that the Muppets really started to explode in pop culture, requiring Jim to devote time to more projects in need of more performers. In between 1955 and the late 70s, the more notable performers Jim hired were Jane, Jerry Juhl (initially before writing became his forte), Frank, Jerry Nelson, Caroll, Fran, Richard, and Dave (who was originally exclusively a designer/builder).
  15. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    That would be neat, but I notice Eric is still available to perform Bert and Grover on SS, so if this news were true a new Muppet project probably wouldn't feature Fozzie, Piggy or Animal or if it did than they would need to be recast. I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine.
    Muppet Master likes this.
  16. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    Well, said Snowth, you really summed up everything in a nutshell and that's presumably the most likely reason for using an alternate Kermit on America's Got Talent a few years back. Puppeteers can't be around forever or available all the time. Sometimes it's best to accept the things. I know we were saddened by the absence of characters like Rowlf and Scooter after Henson's and Hunt's respective deaths. It's best to have Muppets continue no matter who's performing them rather than have the characters be retired altogether. :):o:concern:: Rather than have the characters be retired!
  17. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

    It is pretty sad. No more Zoe or Prairie Dawn...
    I also remember Fran Brill narrating this as well (she also voiced Maria, renamed as "Dolores")...
  18. Collgoff

    Collgoff Well-Known Member

    I wonder if Keving Clash heard any of this!?
    MikaelaMuppet likes this.
  19. JonnyBMuppetMan

    JonnyBMuppetMan Well-Known Member

    Like I said on another thread, I'd suspect that it may just be for this season (an isolated thing like John T. performing Ernie for one season of PWMS), and considering that nothing official has been said on the level of Fran's retirement, I wouldn't jump the gun and say Steve's retired too.

    Anyway, I was rather shocked to first hear about Fran's retirement through Tumblr. At the same time, I'm kind of happy for her coming to the decision to bow out. It's bittersweet to say the least, and obviously, her distinctive vocal talent will be missed.
  20. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    I gotcha. Sort of like how in one interview Jim Cummings said he's been voicing Winnie-the-Pooh since 1987 and has voiced Tigger for about the same amount of time when in reality, Paul Winchell voiced Tigger in the first two seasons of "New Adventures" except for one episode, so it's still a legitimate estimate. Sorry to get off topic here, but I just thought I'd illustrate that point.

    Well, that's possible, but if that were true, I don't think they would have removed his name from the credits. But you never know. We'll just wait and see what happens next season.
    cahuenga and MikaelaMuppet like this.

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