There is a certain magic involved in bringing to life a new character on one of the most iconic children’s television shows. Sesame Street puppeteer, Carmen Osbahr, joins us this week as we talk about how she found her dream career as a puppeteer, her memories of Jim Henson, and her role in creating–and performing–the lovable Rosita.
New Kid on the Street
Carmen Osbahr knows what it’s like to be the new kid on the block and how this can be even harder and scarier when everyone around you is speaking a different language. In her late teens, she discovered puppeteering through a Workshop facilitated by Sesame Street. She was hooked and couldn’t imagine doing anything else for the rest of her life.
Working with Jim Henson and Creating Rosita
Carmen took a risk, leaving the comforts of home and her huge extended family in Mexico City to move to New York City with a dream of working with Jim Henson. Suddenly, she was working with the biggest luminaries in the puppeteering world on what was already then one of the most iconic children’s television shows ever. Carmen had to learn a new language and adapt to the fast-paced environment quickly. She loved every minute of it!
When Jim Henson invited her to join the Sesame Street family only a few months later, he told her, “just be you.” And with that advice, and the help of Sesame Street’s creators, she was given the opportunity to create her own character, Rosita, the bilingual, vivacious, energetic and loveable turquoise monster.
Below the Frame
Carmen takes us behind the scenes and below the frame to help us understand the physical and emotional aspects of how the puppets on Sesame Street actually come to life. She also tells us how surprised and grateful she was to learn that Sesame Street was so much more than a television show.
Through the nonprofit behind Sesame Street– Sesame Workshop– Carmen has had the opportunity to support children, their families and their communities in ways far beyond the reach of the characters on the screen. Through Rosita, she has helped kids and their caregivers navigate some really difficult challenges: from health issues like lead paint and asthma, to helping military families deal with stresses stemming from multiple deployments and injury.
Ultimately, Carmen affirms what we all know about Sesame Street: the show and the nonprofit organization place the highest value on respecting children and helping them have fun while they learn. This is the foundation for all that they do. Being a part of this– beyond the screen– has been an unexpected dream come true for Carmen.
Episode Links and Resources:
Sesame Street: https://www.sesamestreet.org/
Plaza Sesamo: https://plazasesamo.com/?code=US
Sesame Workshop: https://www.sesameworkshop.org/
Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street, https://www.hbo.com/movies/street-gang-how-we-got-to-sesame-street
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