Jennifer Barnhart

(Zoe)

Jennifer Barnhart first joined Sesame Street in season 32, and she is thrilled to be the new performer for Zoe, created by the legendary Fran Brill. Barnhart is also honored to be part of the multi-cultural team of puppeteers that gives voice and life to Raya, a Sesame international character whose focus is clean water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as empowering girls and encouraging them to be smarter, stronger and kinder.

In addition to her work on Sesame Street, Barnhart has worked on a host of other children’s television programs including Johnny and the Sprites, Bear in the Big Blue House, Oobi, The Book of Pooh, and Lomax: the Hound of Music, and she created the role of “Cleo” on the multiple Emmy Award-winning show, Between the Lions. As a ‘human,’ Barnhart has been on As the World Turns as well as a few turns on Law & Order: SVU (playing a puppeteer in one appearance).

Other Henson-related credits include a stint with the improv show Stuffed & Unstrung at the Union Square Theatre, and a dual human/puppeteer role as Ma Squirrel/Scatfish in the musical Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas at Goodspeed Opera House.

Barnhart was part of the Original Broadway Company (Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Ensemble) of the Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q, and she remained with the show for its entire six-year run on Broadway. She is often called upon to be a puppet consultant/coach for many regional and university productions of the show, and she directed a production of it for Adirondack Theatre Festival.

Some favorite roles in regional theatre include “Lady Macbeth,” “Goneril” in King Lear, “Mistress Quickly” in The Merry Wives of Windsor, “Veronica” in God of Carnage (all at Alabama Shakespeare Festival) and “Officer Randy” in Superior Donuts at The Arden Theatre.

She has also lent her voice to documentaries and many children’s audiobooks and interactive educational apps, including work for Scholastic, Teachley and Success for All.

Barnhart holds a BFA in Acting with a Concentration in Puppet Arts from the University of Connecticut. She was named one of UCONN’s Outstanding 40 Under 40 Alumni, and she is on the board of the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry.