It was a Thursday evening, and puppeteer Stacey Gordon was hard at work in her Phoenix, Arizona studio when she received the call of a lifetime.
Matt Vogel, Sesame Street‘s Muppet Captain and Big Bird understudy, called to let Gordon know that the show’s producers picked her to play Julia, the first-ever autistic Muppet and a new addition to the broadcast. The call left her stunned — so much so, she almost couldn’t absorb the news.
“I thought he said a different name,” Gordon says, laughing. “And then I was like, ‘Wait. That was my name.'”
Now, as both a puppeteer and mom of a 13-year-old autistic boy, she’s “thrilled and indescribably honored” to operate a Muppet who will bring more awareness and compassion around autism into millions of children’s homes. …