John Tartaglia (b. February 16, 1978) is a puppeteer and actor whose career started on Sesame Street, subsequently leading to Broadway stardom and a Tony-award for originating the roles of Princeton and Rod in Avenue Q, off- and on-Broadway, and in the short-lived Las Vegas production.
He began on Sesame Street at the age of 16, performing background characters and assisting. Tartaglia has continued to puppeteer for Sesame Street occasionally after Season 35. Recently, he has performed more major roles such as Brandeis the dog in Episode 4307, Birdie in the resource video Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce, and various characters for "Elmo the Musical." He has also lent his vocals to inserts, such as "Brothers and Sisters" with Stephanie D'Abruzzo (EKA: Episode 4056).
Other stage credits include Pinocchio and the Magic Mirror in Shrek on Broadway and 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.
Tartaglia also had his own Disney Channel TV series, Johnny and the Sprites, where he starred on-camera opposite puppets played by veteran Sesame Muppeteers. He discussed the experience in a TV Guide interview:
|“||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. ||”|
- from sesameworkshop.org:
|“||John Tartaglia has been a Muppeteer with Sesame Street for the past nine seasons, starting at age 16. On Sesame Street, he performs Alfred Duck, and a host of other Muppets ranging from penguins to sheep. Tartaglia is also part of the "Elmo's World" team of computer-graphic puppeteers. Recently, he had the honor of playing the Muppet, Tingo, in Sesame English, which airs internationally. He also played the part of DJ 2 in Animal Jam, a new Jim Henson Company series airing on Discovery Kids! Tartaglia's work can also be seen in The Book of Pooh, Bear in the Big Blue House, Between the Lions, and Dog City. An accomplished musical theater performer, he spent his teenage years dancing as Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch at Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA, and was recently on Broadway in Avenue Q, the acclaimed hit musical, playing the role of Princeton (the lead) and Rod.||”|
- Sesame Street: Alfred Duck, Phoebe, Pipe Organ, Trey, the Martians, Brandeis
- The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: Bird, Delivery Man
- Animal Jam: DJ 2
- Play With Me Sesame: Ernie (season 2 and select part of website)
- Sesame English: Tingo
- Music Works Wonders: Hoots the Owl (puppetry only)
- Peter and the Wolf: Muppet Performer, Cameo as an audience member
- Dog City: Additional Puppeteer
- Bear in the Big Blue House: Additional Puppeteer
- A Is for Asthma: Additional Puppeteer
- Three Bears and a New Baby: Additional Puppeteer
- Elmo's World: Wild Wild West!
- Elmopalooza: Additional Puppeteer
- Elmo's World: Computer Graphic Puppeteer
- Between the Lions: guest Sesame Street puppeteer (Elmo/Bert "Dance with Smartypants" segments)
- Journey to Ernie: Circus Duck (voice)
- Elmo the Musical: Giant Octopus, Fastest-Drawing Fred, Royal Guard, The Man in the Sleeveless Undershirt
- Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce: Birdie
- Fraggle Rock-A-Thon promos: Gobo Fraggle
- According to The MuppetCast episode #41, Tartaglia's biggest inspiration in performing was Richard Hunt.
- 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. 
- An interview with Tartaglia was included as a bonus feature for the Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey DVD.
- "Johnny and the Sprites" on Disney Channel
- Stephanie D'Abruzzo and John Tartaglia Downstage Center interview at American Theatre Wing
- John Tartaglia interview at Mouse Clubhouse
- Internet Broadway Database