Tony-nominated John Tartaglia (b. February 16, 1978) originated the roles of Princeton and Rod in Avenue Q, off- and on-Broadway, and in the short-lived Las Vegas production; he recently played Pinocchio and the Magic Mirror in Shrek on Broadway and previously played Lumiere in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast. He is to originate the role of The Genie in Aladdin, a new stage production of Disney's movie musical, and direct Because of Winn-Dixie, a new production with a real dog on stage.
It is funny because we'd give the humans and celebrities a hard time when they came on [Sesame Street], when they were talking to the puppet and they'd look at the puppeteer and at the monitor that the puppeteers watch to perform. My first two days of shooting were really weird. I kept looking at Leslie [Carrara-Rudolph], who performs Ginger, and I'm like, "What am I doing? I know better than that!" It is challenging at first, but the puppeteers we have on the show are the best of the best, and they always make me believe that they are real. It doesn't take much to believe for a little while that you are talking to these real creatures. 
Tartaglia says Ernie is his favorite Sesame character. "I was really honored to do Ernie for one season of Play with Me Sesame. Jim Henson was my hero, and the reason I am here now. So to actually have his character and to work with it and that voice and to make that relationship happen with Bert, I was just really honored. You feel like you are a part of history."
On November 21, 2006, Tartaglia assumed the role of Lumiere in the Broadway stage version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
Tartaglia's Disney Channel series, Johnny and the Sprites, premieres as a full half-hour show with thirteen episodes on January 13, 2007. Tartaglia states that lately when people chase him down for an autograph on the Strip in Vegas, it's because of his role as "Johnny." 
In 1990, TV series MMC had a contest to meet Jim Henson and the other Muppet*Vision 3D puppeteers while they were filming. Producers say John lost to Joe Apel, due to the fact Apel was close to Los Angeles.