The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Right-hand Man—Puppeteers from Sesame Street® Discuss the Teamwork Involved in Two-handed Puppeteering

Spoiler alert: If you don’t want your children to know that the Sesame Street®    
characters are hand puppets, please do not show them this video. :-)

With that said, this fascinating behind-the-scenes video shows what goes into working the right hand of a puppet. While some of the Muppets are hand-and-rod puppets like Elmo and Bert—meaning that the puppeteer puts his or her right hand in the puppet to work the mouth while the left hand controls both of the puppet's arms—others are called live-hand puppets, which means that the puppeteer's right hand controls the mouth and the left controls the puppet's left hand, which leaves the puppet's right hand to be controlled by a second puppeteer.

Puppeteer Peter Linz explained, “A lot of times, especially when I’m assisting Matt [Vogel] with the Count, I’m watching what his left hand’s doing, and I know if he’s gonna go, ‘One,’ I’m not gonna go, ‘One,’ with him.”

Matt Vogel, who puppeteers Count von Count and Big Bird, added, “Last night, we hadn’t even really spoken about this—we gesture to Richard Elliott for the bow, and it’s best, just visually, if the right hand does it, and I didn’t say a word to Peter. I just held my hand back and kinda did this,” he said, looking in the direction where Elliott would take his bow, “and he did the gesture—it was beautiful.”

The concert was filmed over four days last December and featured not only the Muppets® from Sesame Street® but Frozen’s Santino Fontana.

Watch the video above for a behind-the-scenes look at the puppeteers from Sesame Street®. Pick up your copy of Keep Christmas With You on DVD on our shop page