John Weidman is a playwright and president of the Dramatists Guild of America who has been a writer for Sesame Street since 1986. He has also written song lyrics, including several segments of Elmo the Musical.
The son of veteran Broadway "book" author Jerome Weidman, Weidman is a graduate of Yale law school and served as editor of The National Lampoon. In 1976, he wrote the book for the musical Pacific Overtures (1976), netting a Tony Award nomination, and in 1987, he wrote a completely new book for the revival of Anything Goes. Subsequent Broadway credits included books for the musical version of Big, Contact, and Assassins & Bounce (the latter two both with music by Stephen Sondheim).
During a 1999 event at Lincoln Center, Weidman spoke of his work on Sesame Street:
|“|| I had a friend who wrote for the show and I called him up and said "how do you do this?" And he said, "well, there's an audition process". So I went through that process, and I became one of the dozen people who write scripts for Sesame Street. And when my kids were small, it was particularly satisfying, because I would take them to the set. And they would meet the puppets...it was great!|
And I have continued to do it, depending on how much time I have. In part because I enjoy it. But also because I feel like it is honest work; it pleases me to do it. A lot of what people who work in the theater do or have to do to support themselves is not so great. You know, I feel like that's something I sort of fell into and I feel like it's honorable work. And I've enjoyed continuing to do it. And it's right across the street. Which helps, too.