John Tartaglia is an American singer, actor, dancer, and "Muppeteer." John was born on February 16, 1978 in Maple Shade, New Jersey, USA. He joined Sesame Street's puppetry team at the age of 16 part-time, performing as a right hand and many minor characters, including Phoebe and being the backup for Kevin Clash's Elmo. He performed Ernie for the second season of Play with Me Sesame and Oscar the Grouch for Sesame Street 4D. He became a full time part of Sesame Street at the age of 18.
John created and puppeteered the roles of Princeton (the recent college grad) and Rod (the closeted Republican-investment banker) in the Broadway musical Avenue Q, for which he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical in 2004. He lost that award to Hugh Jackman (for his performance in The Boy from Oz), but Avenue Q won three Tonys that night, including Best Musical. He ended his run on Broadway on January 30, 2005. He has since been replaced by actors Barrett Foa and, currently, Howie Michael Smith.
John appeared in 2004 at the 14th annual Broadway Bares, which was a great success raising $525,000 to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. He reprised his roles as Princeton and Rod in the Las Vegas sit-down production of Avenue Q, until December 11, 2005. He then appeared in the musical Newsical 2006: The Next Edition, back in New York City.
John is now working on his own television show for Playhouse Disney entitled Johnny and the Sprites as creator, executive producer, and star. While the episodes began as only 5 minute interstitials, the show began a full 30-minute series January 13, 2007.