Megan Piphus Peace has become the first Black woman puppeteer in Sesame Street history. A Vanderbilt University profile revealed Peace snagged the role in September 2021 and plays the 6-year-old Black Muppet, Gabrielle.
The VU alumnus submitted an audition tape for the show in 2017 and 2018, before connecting with Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, known for playing Abby Cadabby. Then, in March 2020, Peace received an email from Matt Vogel, Sesame Street‘s puppet captain. Vogel asked if Megan would be interested in “muppet-style puppetry,” to which the woman agreed and then later completed.
The acclaimed muppet show was working on The Power of We, a racial justice workshop that featured the Gabrielle character. Vogel expressed that Peace “was their choice from the beginning.”
Megan admitted she didn’t know she was making history as the first Black woman to become a Sesame Street puppeteer.
“I would have cried like a baby on the 123 steps if they had told me beforehand,” Peace expressed to Vanderbilt University’s MyVU News. “The sets of Sesame Street are like walking into a fantasy. To be there is really something.”
Vogel spoke about Sesame Street‘s hiring process, explaining how meticulous it is.
“It takes time to go through video submissions, but once we do, we earmark people that we’d like to invite to a workshop where we see their skills as a puppeteer and actor in person,” Vogel, who acts as Big Bird and Kermit the Frog, detailed. “Zoom is not an ideal way to conduct a workshop, but we made the best of it, and Megan was game to learn.”
Watch Megan Piphus Peace describe her ventriloquist passion below.