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Jennifer Barnhart


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Jennifer B

Barnhart with her Avenue Q character, Mrs. Thistletwat.

Jennifer Barnhart is a veteran puppeteer who took over the roles of Gladys the Cow and Mama Bear on Sesame Street. She has also taken over performing Zoe starting with season 46, following Fran Brill's retirement, and performs the international Sesame character, Raya, for the "Cleaner, Healthier, Happier" campaign. Barnhart has also recorded vocals for a number of songs, including "Healthy Food Songs" for season 36 and "Bugs Song" (First: Episode 4175).

Barnhart, who received her BFA in puppetry from The University of Connecticut's Puppet Arts Program, began her puppetry career working on the Animal Planet series "Once Upon a Tree" and subsequently played Cleo the Lion on Between the Lions, before joining the cast of Sesame Street. She also performed on John Tartaglia's Johnny and the Sprites.

Barnhart was the longest running member of the original Broadway cast of Avenue Q, portraying her original roles of Mrs. Thistletwat and all-purpose assistant, and understudying the roles of Kate Monster and Lucy T. Slut, for the show's entire six year run. She briefly returned to her former roles in an Off-Broadway production of Avenue Q in 2013,[1] and has consulted for regional productions of the show.

For the 2009/2010 Goodspeed production of Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, Barnhart assumed the role of Madame Squirrel.


Non Henson Credits

  • Between the Lions: Cleo Lion, Female Monkeys, Animated Voices
  • Lomax, the Hound of Music: Delta


  1. Broadway Buzz article, November 11, 2013

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