Muppet Babies Play Date is a digital short form series that premiered on the Disney Junior YouTube channel in 2019. The series, which ran weekly from May 17 to August 1, featured the characters from Disney Junior's Muppet Babies reboot reimagined as puppets interacting with live children.
The shorts were specially created to be released between seasons 1 and 2 of the Muppet Babies series. Executive producer Tom Warburton explained its creation in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“Well, there’s always a little gap in between seasons and I thought, “How can we do something fun with the Muppets, with the Muppet Babies in between seasons while kids are waiting for the new episodes?” And I thought, “What if we…” Of course, I’ve always wanted have real Muppets with these characters, so I came up with this idea of them interacting with real kids and I talked to Matt Danner, my co-producer and supervising director, and he’s also the voice of Kermit. I said, “What if we did this?” And he has an adult Kermit puppet sitting on his shelf. So we got the five-year-old niece of one of the production assistant and we went to the park and just shot on my iPhone a little skit of going like, “Hey, I saw you go down the slide. I really looks fun, but I’m scared. Can you show me how?” And the girl goes down the slide and then Kermit goes down the slide. It’s down and dirty. We shot it in half an hour, and then I went to Disney and showed it to them and they were like, “This is great. We have to do this.” Then we had to go through the process of budgeting and scheduling and, on top of all the production we’re already making. And we did it. It was a 3-day shoot and every day my heart was just exploding with how cool it was to see the Muppeteers work with our characters. This has been a dream come true.”
The Muppet performers (including Matt Vogel, Eric Jacobson, Alice Dinnean, and Drew Massey) puppeteered the characters to the voices of the regular cast; including Danner (Kermit), Eric Bauza (Fozzie), Melanie Harrison (Piggy), Ben Diskin (Gonzo), Dee Bradley Baker (Animal), and Jessica DiCicco (Summer).
- Entertainment Weekly "They're not just animated anymore! See the new Muppet Babies as actual Muppets" by Patrick Gomez, May 17, 2019
- Facebook post by Eric Bauza "One of those “Pinch me I’m dreaming” moments... We had the chance to work w/ Matt Vogel, Eric Jacobson & the rest of the Muppeteers on these special live-action shorts premiering today thru Aug 1st on @disneyjunior ‘s YouTube page!!"
- The Muppet Mindset: We Interviewed Muppet Babies’ Matt Danner & Tom Warburton! by Jarrod Fairclough, August 9, 2019
- Personal communication with Alice Dinnean by Anthony T