|DESIGN||Ed Christie designer|
|Rollie Krewson builder|
Abby Cadabby is a fairy-in-training who lives on Sesame Street. She made her debut in 2006, in the first episode of Sesame Street’s 37th season, when she moved into the neighborhood and met some of the Street's residents. After counting to ten with the Count, Abby's magic wand sets off too much lightning and breaks, so Big Bird takes her to the Fix-It Shop so her wand can be repaired.
Her name is a play on the magic word "abracadabra." Abby's magical abilities include popping in and out of thin air, floating when she's happy, and turning things into pumpkins. Although familiar with the world of fairy tales, Abby is astounded by such basic learning skills as drawing letters or counting, prompting her catchphrase "That's so magic(al)!" She frequently uses her wand cell phone to call her mommy. When she's asked to return home, she says that she's "gotta poof" or "disappear." In recent years, she has used the phrase "Zippity-zap!" when casting a spell.
She can speak a language called "Dragonfly" and is teaching Rosita the language while Rosita teaches her Spanish. She also claims to speak "Butterfly" and "Puppydog." Along with Baby Bear, Abby begins attending school in Episode 4110 at the Storybook Community School, where Mrs. Goose is the teacher and other fairy tale characters like Hansel and Gretel are her classmates.
Abby's parents are divorced and she spends part of her time living with her mommy and part of it living with her daddy. By Season 47, Abby's mom got remarried to a monster named Freddy, and Abby also gained a new stepbrother, Rudy, who, for the first three episodes after his introduction, had a habit of borrowing her wand without asking.
Tony Geiss conceptualized Abby as a way to simultaneously introduce a major female character to the show and add someone from a different culture, without "having consciously to introduce somebody from Indonesia or India." Abby's design is an intentional departure from the typical Muppet look because she's not originally from Sesame Street. The implication is that the fairies in her old neighborhood look like her. Carrara's audition with Abby was a 15-minute long improv with Fran Brill as Zoe, about fairy castles.
Abby has starred in her own animated segments on the show; Abby's Flying Fairy School, which debuted in Season 40, and Abby's Amazing Adventures, premiering in Season 49. Abby's likeness has been adapted for a 43-foot balloon which premiered in the 2007 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a full-body costume character for stage appearances and a number of merchandise items.
In 2008, Abby was added to the cast of Plaza Sésamo, the Mexican co-production of Sesame Street, appearing in new segments where she tries to perform magic tricks with various ordinary objects. In 2009, she became the host of 3, 2, 1 Vamos!, a Latin American pre-school programming block, which first aired in English in 2010, on Canadian television.
By Season 46, Abby developed an interest in gardening and maintains a fairy garden where she grows magical plants. The garden features prominently in Episode 4611, in which she and Elmo are coaxed by her kooky friend Jerome the Garden Gnome into playing some games.
Abby's love of gardening inspired a wardrobe change in Season 49. Her original dress was replaced with a blue t-shirt with a flower emblem, and a purple/blue skirt decorated in flower petals. She also now wears a floral bracelet, a firefly necklace (nicknamed "Hope" by builder Sierra Schoening after her younger sister) and ladybug barrettes in her hair. For Season 50, she was given a smaller, simplified skirt.
When Abby was first introduced, she was described in press statements as "a 3-year-old fairy-in-training." By 2018, Abby was aged to four-years-old; which is mentioned as early as the special When You Wish Upon a Pickle, where Abby reveals to Natalie Neptune that because of her young age, she can't read yet. Her age has been noted as three-years-old in all of her press kit character bios through Season 50. (This was corrected by August 2020.)
Preceding the release of Singing Abby Cadabby by Fisher-Price, she was named a "2007 Hot Property" by Variety. Early licensees were Random House, Procter & Gamble, Mattel (Fisher-Price), VEE Corporation (live touring shows), Children's Apparel Network, and Gund.
A June 2007 news item on Playthings.com reported: "This year, the fairy-in-training is also debuting in plush from Fisher-Price (a 2-piece basic Elmo & Abby Best Friends plush set and a talking Abby Cadabby with bonus DVD sampler); a plush assortment from Gund; Abby Cadabby greeting cards from American Greetings; fun shaped balloons from Anagram; pop-up books from Bendon Publishing; storybooks from Dalmatian; board books from Random House; novelty books from Reader's Digest Children's Publishing; books; and CDs from Soundprints; as well as Sesame Street DVDs from Sesame Workshop and Sony Wonder that features Abby."
- August 14, 2006: Abby made her public debut on the Today Show, only hours before her first appearance on Sesame Street.
- August 18, 2006: Abby was featured as "Person of the Week" on ABC World News Tonight. She was the first Muppet to earn the honor, possibly the first non-human.
- November 23, 2006: Abby appeared on the Sesame Street float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
- November 22, 2007: In addition to being honored with a parade balloon likeness, Abby appeared on the Sesame Street float during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
- December 25, 2007: Abby and friends appeared on The Today Show.
- October 6, 2008: Appearing with Elmo, Grover, and Cookie Monster, Abby joins Martha Stewart for a tea party on Martha.
- October 13, 2008: Elmo and Abby take over hosting The Bonnie Hunt Show.
Quotes about Abby
- Although never explicitly mentioned on the show, a 2006 New York Times article notes that Abby's family moved from Fairyside Gardens, an elves' and fairies' housing community in Queens. This fact is reiterated in Abby's character bio for several Sesame Workshop press kits, referring to the location as simply "Fairyside, Queens."
- Abby was originally going to be named Daisy.
- Abby nicknames her wand "Wanda."
- In Episode 5026, Abby's mother addresses her with her full name Abigail.
- When Jennifer Barnhart learned of the character description for Abby, ahead of a casting call, she immediately thought of Carrara-Rudolph. Notably, some of the actresses brought in for the call had no prior experience with puppeteering.
- "I Love Words"
- "Kids with Wings"
- "Because We're Friends"
- "Guess the Seasons Song"
- "Hurray-Hurrah for Broccoli"
- Abby Cadabby's Rhyme Time (2007)
- Abby's First Day of School! (2007)
- All About Me! (2007)
- Big Bird in the City (2007)
- C is for Cooking: Recipes from the Street (2007)
- Elmo & Friends Picture Stories (2007)
- Elmo Visits the Dentist (2007)
- Elmo's Busy Day (2007)
- Elmo's Favorite Places (2007)
- Elmo's Piano (2007)
- Elmo's World: Teachers! (2007)
- Friendly, Frosty Monsters (2007)
- Guess Who, Abby! (2007)
- I'm a Helper (2007)
- Let's Match (2007)
- Music Player Storybook (2007)
- My First Trip to the Farm (2007)
- Rosita's Easter on Sesame Street (2007)
- Sesame Street Super Sticker Book (2007)
- We're All Superheroes! (2007)
- What Makes You Giggle? (2007)
- Abby Cadabby's Nursery Rhymes (2008)
- Abby's First Book of Shapes (2008)
- Big Bird's Tree-Trimming Party (2008)
- Color Carnival (2008)
- Elmo's Christmas Countdown (2008)
- Everybody Dance! (2008)
- Grover's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (2008)
- Let's Go! with Elmo and Friends (2008)
- Let's Help the Earth (2008)
- Our Kind of Bird (2008)
- Storybook ABCs (2008)
- What Do You Hear, Dear? (2008)
- What Makes Elmo Happy? (2008)
- What's the Word on the Street? (2008)
- Abby Mix & Match Nursery Rhymes (2009)
- Bert and Ernie's Christmas Snowman (2009)
- Count to 10 (2009)
- Elmo's Christmas Countdown (2009)
- In Elmo's Easter Parade (2009)
- My Big Book of Firsts (2009)
- Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood? (2009)
- Busy Friends (2010)
- Murray's First Book of Words (2010)
- Plant a Tree for Me! (2010)
- Abby's Pink Party (2011)
- Elmo and Abby's Wacky Weather Day (2011)
- Elmo is Red, Cookie is Blue! (2011)
- Elmo's Merry Christmas (2011)
- Imagine with Elmo (2011)
- Potty Time for Monsters (2011)
- Brand New Readers (2012)
- Circle of Friends (2012)
- Elmo and Ernie's Joke Book (2012)
- Elmo's Rockin' Rhyme Time! (2012)
- Grouchy Hugs (2012)
- Is My Face Red! (2012)
- Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends: Water and Earth (2012)
- NPR: Abby Cadabby Moves to 'Sesame Street'
- Studio 10 interview, June 2018
- Susan Dominus, "A Girly-Girl Joins the 'Sesame' Boys", The New York Times, 6 August 2006.
- Under the Puppet episode 11, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph
- NOSTALGIA TALK: Episode #26 (Featuring LESLIE CARRARA-RUDOLPH) (01:16:49)
- Season 49 Press Kit - Muppet Bios: Abby Cadabby (accessed 2/23/09)
- Sesame Street's Facebook - Happy Birthday, Abby Cadabby! (2014-10-21)
- Natasha Emmons, "2007 Hot Property: Abby Cadabby", Variety, June 18, 2007
- "Buzz Report: Licensing Show Preview A to Z", Playthings.com. June 19, 2007.
- Leslie Carrara: Sesame Street
- ABC News Person of the Week: Abby Cadabby
- ABC.com: The View - Wednesday, October 4th 2006
- Tony Geiss papers at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University
- First referenced in The Magical Wand Chase and continuing through several season 50 episodes
- "EP#4: Jennifer Barnhart/"Bold Characters"/...Not Puppets (Tyler Bunch)", Below the Frame with Matt Vogel, August 19, 2020.