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Matt Vogel performing Baby Big Bird.

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Vogel with Big Bird.

Matt Vogel 1970s Muppet puppet toys

A young Vogel (left) and his brother with Rowlf and Kermit toy puppets.

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Vogel and Caroll Spinney.

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At 2014 Sunday Times photo shoot.

Matt Vogel and Jerry Nelson

Vogel and Jerry Nelson.

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Vogel with Floyd.

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Vogel with Uncle Deadly.

Matt Vogel Sesame director

Directing on the set of Sesame Street.

Matt Vogel (b. October 6, 1970) is an accomplished puppeteer who joined the Sesame Street troupe in 1996. He later joined The Muppets family of characters, inheriting several roles while working with Jerry Nelson, and was cast as Kermit the Frog in 2017.

Vogel first auditioned for The Jim Henson Company in his final year of college (c. 1993), but didn't begin performing with the company until a year later when he became John Henson's understudy for the Coca-Cola Polar Bear.[1][2]

On Sesame Street, Vogel started out as most Muppeteers do, right-handing for other characters; in his case, for David Rudman on Baby Bear.[3] He eventually became Caroll Spinney's understudy for Big Bird, performing in the role whenever Spinney was unavailable. Beginning in 2002, he exclusively performed Big Bird for "Journey to Ernie", a regular Sesame Street segment. He also played Big Bird's infant self Baby Big Bird in the Sesame Beginnings DVD series.

Vogel performed Big Bird at various times for over two decades while Caroll Spinney was also continuing the character, making him one of the few Muppeteers to play a character in conjunction with another performer. With Spinney's retirement in 2018, he officially became Big Bird's primary performer. Vogel has also played minor recurring characters on Sesame Street, such as Herb the dinosaur, and Hansel (of Hansel and Gretel), as well as various one-shot Anything Muppets. Vogel became the show's Muppet Captain in Season 44, after several years of serving as Assistant Muppet Captain to Kevin Clash.[4][5] Additionally, he has been a director since Season 39.

Vogel has also assumed some of Jerry Nelson's roles, by the recommendation of Nelson himself.[6] Since 2008, he has been the performer of most of Nelson's main Muppet Show characters, including Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, and perhaps most prominently, Uncle Deadly. For a period on Sesame Street, Vogel puppeteered Count von Count and other characters while Nelson continued to voice them. After Nelson's death in 2012, Vogel fully inherited the Count, now providing both the voice and puppetry. He also performs Mr. Johnson, another character Nelson originated.

His early Muppet credits include assisting or supporting roles on Big Bag, Bear in the Big Blue House, and Sesame English. Work outside the Henson fold include the video series MATHmatazz, Jack's Big Music Show, The Puzzle Place, the HBO drama Oz (as Pecky in the TV clips of Miss Sally's Schoolyard), Oobi, Blue's Room, and Between the Lions, as well as puppeteering Fred in the video project Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map. On the big screen, Vogel has appeared in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted (where he took on the major role of Constantine), the Creature Shop film The Producers (as various pigeons), one of the "Muppet" characters in Old Dogs, and the voice of Wilkins in Alice Through the Looking Glass for director James Bobin.

In theater, Vogel has acted in regional productions of various plays, including The Foreigner and Six Degrees of Sparation, and was involved in the 2003-2004 Broadway run of Little Shop of Horrors, manipulating Audrey II and playing various bums and Skid Row residents (alongside Martin P. Robinson and Anthony Asbury).

In addition to puppeteering, Vogel's interest in music is evident as front man for the The Mighty Weaklings. The band released a CD of songs "for kids--and grown-ups" called You Can't Rock Sittin' Down in June of 2008 after appearing in the video for their song "Rocket Ship" on Jack's Big Music Show. With Joey Mazzarino, Vogel co-owns Pratfall Productions, which produced the film-noir puppet short film Murder, He Squeaked as well as various videos and inserts for Sesame Street, and Nick Jr.'s Curious Buddies.

On July 10, 2017, it was announced that Vogel had been cast as the new performer of Kermit the Frog, following Steve Whitmire's departure from The Muppets. Vogel's first public performance as Kermit was a Muppet Thought of the Week video; originally planned to debut on YouTube during the week of July 17, 2017,[7] but was delayed until August 28, 2017.

Credits

Sesame Street

Characters: Big Bird (1997-present), Count von Count (assistant and puppeteer only, through 2012; 2013-present), Mr. Johnson, Anderson Cucumber, Ant (4147), Ape (4225), Biff (Season 50), The Big Bad Wolf (4318, 4402), Blue Jay, Book (The Word of the Day: Author), Boy in "Spanish Me, English Me", Burt, Cookie Monster's Mommy (Letter of the Day: B, "Try a Little Kindness"), The Crumb, David Letterguy, Delivery Man, Duck Clark, Football (4705), Gardener, Gassy (Dwarf #3), guinea pig (Pre-School Musical), Hansel, Harvey Kneeslapper (4209), Herb, Howie Eatswell, Hubert the Human Cannonball, Humpty Dumpty (2011-2012, puppetry only), Justin Bieber Muppet (puppetry only), Len Goodman Muppet, Letter of the Day Announcer, Little Jack Horner (4098, 4523), M (Law and Order: Special Letters Unit), Maurice, Megan (Are You Smarter Than an Egg Layer?), Mercedes Muppet (puppetry only), Murray impostor, Pino, Professor Gary Gill, Rapunzel's Prince (4128), Robb Stark Muppet, Tiger, Turkey ("Do the Turkey Gobble Wobble"), Violin (4151), Wyoming Walt, X (Baby Talk), Mr. Yak, Yellow Ball (3714)

The Muppets

Characters: Camilla, Crazy Harry, Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand (2008 - present); Robin the Frog (2008 - 2017); Dr. Julius Strangepork, Sweetums (2009 - present); Pops, Uncle Deadly (2011 - present); '80s Robot, Constantine; Kermit the Frog (2017 - present)

Other

Directing credits

Notes

  • When Matt Vogel was introduced to Spinney at his first audition for the part of Big Bird, the latter remarked, "Vogel is German for Bird. That's a good sign." The word "vogel" is Dutch for bird as well.
  • The protective slippers Vogel wears over Big Bird's feet when he's not on set are labeled, respectively, "Vogel" and "Füsse," meaning "bird" and "feet," or read together "bird's feet."
  • Vogel is left-handed, but puppeteers with his right hand.[11]

See also

Sources

  1. Matt Vogel on Facebook September 10, 2015
  2. Tough Pigs "Interview: Sesame Street's Matt Vogel" by Ryan Roe, August 8, 2008
  3. Matt Vogel on Twitter Sept 20, 2018
  4. Matt Vogel's puppeteer bio — Season 44 press kit
  5. The Muppet Mindset "Another Interview with Muppet Performer Matt Vogel" by Lucas Ervin, September 2, 2011
  6. Tough Pigs "A Chat with Jerry Nelson" by Joe Hennes, December 8, 2009
  7. ToughPigs "Steve Whitmire No Longer with the Muppets" by Joe Hennes, July 10, 2017
  8. 8.0 8.1 Matt Vogel's official site — Director credits
  9. Ryan Dillon on Instagram
  10. Jake Bazel's resume
  11. @welcomemattv on Twitter July 29, 2016

External links

Start a Discussion Discussions about Matt Vogel

  • Matt Vogel no longer Robin's performer?

    8 messages
    • Is it safe to say that he is now the performer for Robin, Statler, Lips and Link Hogthrob? This is what it says in his twitter profi...
    • Wikipedia is usually unreliable and a lot of unsourced information gets through, which is why we don't use it as a source. So for the latt...
  • Jerry Nelson as Floyd in Studio DC?

    9 messages
    • Kind of. I'm even more surprised that Jerry still worked with the Muppets then, because I thought he retired somewhere in the early 2000's.
    • Yeah I thought he did too.
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