John Tartaglia

John Tartaglia
Born John Nicholas Tartaglia
(1978-02-16) February 16, 1978
Maple Shade Township, New Jersey, U.S.
Other names John Nicholas Tartaglia
Jonathan Nicholas Tartaglia
Occupation Puppeteer, actor, singer, dancer, voice artist, comedian
Years active 1994–present

John Nicholas Tartaglia (born February 16, 1978)[1] is an American puppeteer, actor, singer, dancer, voice artist, and comedian.

Early life

Tartaglia joined Sesame Street's puppetry team at the age of 16 part-time, performing as a right hand and many minor characters, including Phoebe and being the understudy for Kevin Clash's Elmo. He performed Ernie for the second season of Play with Me Sesame and Oscar the Grouch for Sesame Street 4D. He became a full-time part of Sesame Street at the age of 16. Tartaglia is a graduate of Upper Dublin High School in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.[2]


Tartaglia created and puppeteered the roles of Princeton (the recent college grad) and Rod (the closeted Republican investment banker) in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Avenue Q, which opened July 31, 2003.[3] For the roles, he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical in 2004. He left the cast on January 30, 2005.[4][5]

Tartaglia appeared in 2004 at the 14th annual Broadway Bares, which was a great success raising $525,000 to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.[6]

Tartaglia reprised his roles as Princeton and Rod in the Las Vegas sit-down production of Avenue Q, starting in August 2005[7] until December 11, 2005. He then appeared in the musical Newsical 2006: The Next Edition in New York City, in a limited engagement in December 2005.[8]

Tartaglia joined the cast of Beauty and the Beast as Lumière on November 21, 2006 until early June 2007. [4][9][10]

He appeared in his own television series for Playhouse Disney called Johnny and the Sprites as creator, executive producer, and star. While the episodes began as only 5-minute interstitials, the show began a full 30-minute series on January 13, 2007. [11] The show began filming Season 2 during mid-2007.[10]

In 2007, Tartaglia provided the voice for Mr. Bluelight in the Kmart commercials.

He played the roles of Pinocchio and the Magic Mirror in Shrek the Musical.[12] [4] After a try-out in Seattle the show opened on Broadway at The Broadway Theatre beginning December 14, 2008. He performed in the show until August 16, 2009 and was replaced by Robb Sapp. He returned on December 14, 2009 where he stayed until its closure on January 3, 2010.[4]

Tartaglia created and wrote John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean which was produced Off-Broadway at New World Stages, running from in March 31, 2010 to September 4, 2011.[13] The show has music and lyrics by William Wade, with puppets designed and built by The Puppet Kitchen and the set design by Robert Kovach.[14][15] This is a puppet show meant for audiences between the ages of 2 and 8 about fish. They glow in the dark while the actors are in black, giving the effect that the puppets are floating. The show was nominated for the 2010 Drama Desk Award, Unique Theatrical Experience.[13]

He performed in Los Angeles at The Blank Theatre Company production of The Temperamentals, running from April 9-May 22, 2011 at the 2nd Stage Theatre. [16][17]

He played the role of Genie in the production of Aladdin in St. Louis at the Muny from July 5–13, 2012.[18]

In 2011, Tartaglia was named a "Givenik Ambassador" from the Broadway / charity site Givenik.

Tartaglia hosts a radio show on Sirius XM On Broadway called Sunday Funday with John Tartaglia.[19]

In 2016, he created the series Splash and Bubbles for PBS Kids, where he voices Splash and other recurring characters.


  1. Heller, Karen. "From 'Sesame Street' to Broadway John Tartaglia, raised in Maple Shade and Ambler, has had a hand in presenting Elmo on PBS. Now his animated face is on view as he stars in a surprising new stage hit, Avenue Q.", The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 21, 2003. Accessed February 3, 2013. "Young John, who grew up in Maple Shade and then Ambler, wrote Jim Henson a fan letter."
  2. Heller, Karen. "From 'Sesame Street' to Broadway John Tartaglia...", September 21, 2003
  3. Gans, Andrew. "Avenue Q to Close in September",, June 29, 2009
  4. 1 2 3 4 "John Tartaglia Broadway", accessed January 4, 2016
  5. Gans, Andrew and Hernandez, Ernio. "Tartaglia to Depart 'Avenue Q' Jan. 30", December 27, 2004
  6. Lenzi, Linda (2004-06-24). "Photo Coverage: Broadway Bares 14: Now Showing". Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  7. Hernandez, Ernio. "Double Down: 'Avenue Q' Opens New Second Run at Wynn Las Vegas, Sept. 8", September 8, 2005
  8. hernandez, Ernio. "John Tartaglia Comes Back to New York for 'Newsical 2006: The Next Edition'", November 16, 2005
  9. Gans, Andrew. "Tartaglia and Freeman to Join Broadway’s 'Beauty and the Beast'", November 13, 2006
  10. 1 2 "John Tartaglia, Jonathan Freeman to Join Beauty and the Beast". 2006-11-13. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
  11. Gold, Matea. "'The Sprites' thrives in Broadway's ecosystem" Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2007
  12. "Brian d'Arcy James to play Shrek". USA Today. 2008-03-20. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  13. 1 2 "'John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean' Off-Broadway", accessed January 5, 2016
  14. Gans, Andrew. "John Tartaglia's Imaginocean to Play New World Stages", February 9, 2010
  15. Thielman, Sam. "Review: 'John Tartaglia’s Imaginocean'" Variety, April 6, 2010
  16. "Review: 'The Temperamentals' at The Blank Theatre Company" Los Angeles Magazine, June 1, 2011
  17. Gans, Andrew. "John Tartaglia, Erich Bergen, Patrick Scott Lewis Set for Blank Theatre Company's 'Temperamentals'", March 3, 2011
  18. Gans, Andrew. "'Aladdin', with Robin de Jesus, John Tartaglia, Curtis Holbrook, Francis Jue, Plays the Muny Starting July 5", July 5, 2012
  19. "Weekly Schedule", accessed January 4, 2016
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