Skip to Content
- Prev Article Puppeteer, original ‘Avenue Q’ cast member - Next Article

Day/date/time: Tuesday, Sept. 27, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Location: Main Hall theater

Join us for a conversation with puppeteer Jennifer Barnhart, who ran the “puppet camp” for Wagner College Theatre’s “Avenue Q” and was in the original Broadway cast for the show.

Jennifer Barnhart has been a professional performer for 20 years as an actor, puppeteer and voiceover artist. The majority of her career has been as a puppeteer on children’s television shows, including “Between the Lions,” “Bear in the Big Blue House,” “Johnny & the Sprites,” “Oobi” and “The Book of Pooh,” among others. She has been a Muppeteer on “Sesame Street” for 13 seasons, playing such characters as Mama Bear, Gladys the Cow and Grandma Snuffleupagus — and, as of last year, she is the new performer for Zoe. Jennifer is also thrilled to have just finished shooting the first season of “Julie’s Greenroom” for Netflix, in which she plays Riley, a soft-spoken redhead who loves the technical aspect of theatre.

As a “human,” some of Jennifer’s favorite regional theater work includes shows at Goodspeed Opera House (“Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas”), the Arden Theatre (“Superior Donuts”), and Alabama Shakespeare, where she has played such wonderful roles as Lady Macbeth, Goneril in “King Lear,” Mistress Quickly in “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” Veronica in “God of Carnage” and Mrs. Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol.” She can also be seen on a couple of episodes of “Law & Order: SVU” — once playing a puppeteer!

Jennifer created the roles of Mrs T./Bear in “Avenue Q,” both in its original Off-Broadway home at the Vineyard Theatre and for its Tony Award-winning run at the Golden Theatre on Broadway. She is proud to have been part of the award-winning original Broadway cast (Outer Critics Circle for Best Ensemble), and she remained with the show for its entire 6-year run on Broadway. She even occasionally fills in at its current home at New World Stages.

Jennifer directed a production of “Avenue Q” for the Adirondack Theatre Festival in Glens Falls, N.Y. She has also served as puppet coach for many regional and community theater productions of “Avenue Q” over the past several years. She finds working with students in educational settings to be particularly rewarding, and she has been a coach, guest artist and lecturer at several institutions, including the University of Utah, the University of South Dakota, Gateway Center for Performing Arts in St. Louis, and the New England Theatre Conference.

Jennifer holds a BFA in acting with a concentration in puppet arts from the University of Connecticut, where she was named one of the university’s “Outstanding 40 Under-40 Alumni” in 2008. She sits on the board of the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry in Storrs, Conn.

Back top