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Alumna Stage Star to Teach Muppets 101

November 1, 2005 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Muppet performer, actor and 1993 Northwestern graduate Stephanie D’Abruzzo  -- now starring as Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut in the Tony Award-winning musical “Avenue Q” -- returns to Northwestern University’s Evanston campus Nov. 7 to 11.

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, D’Abruzzo  (who is celebrating her 13th season on “Sesame Street”) will appear with her longtime colleague, fellow Northwestern alum and husband Craig Shemin in “Muppets 101.” Free and open to the public, the 7 p.m. event will combine discussion, puppetry, video and Q&A. It will take place at the McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive.

As the boyfriend-seeking Kate Monster and boyfriend-stealing Lucy the Slut in Broadway’s “Avenue Q,” D’Abruzzo won a 2004 Theatre World Award and 2004 Tony Award and 2003 Drama Desk Award nominations for outstanding actress in a musical. 

While studying at the School of Communication, she won a student Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for a video of puppet skits. That award led to an audition with the Muppets and a lifelong career in puppetry and acting.

D’Abruzzo has done puppetry and voice work on “Oobi,” “Sheep in the Big City,” “The Book of Pooh” and “The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss,” among other TV work. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Pops orchestra in Skitch Henderson’s “New Faces of 2004,” and has performed in two star-studded concerts honoring Broadway genius Stephen Sondheim.

Shemin, a freelance writer-producer with Cartoon Network to Disney Channel credits, was on staff with Jim Henson Company for 14 years. He assisted Miss Piggy with her cookbook and has scripted material for Muppet guest appearances with Rosie O’Donnell and Conan O’Brien and on “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show,” the 1998 Winter Olympics and other TV shows. His work on “The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seusss” earned Shemin a Writers Guild of America Award nomination for outstanding children’s script.

While visiting Northwestern, the two former Wildcats will guest lecture and perform in School of Communication classes, conduct “fireside” chats at the Communications Residential College (where they once both resided), and show screen clips of their student and professional work. The visit is made possible by a grant from the Alumnae of Northwestern University.

For further information, call (847) 491-2069.

Topics: People