What... (i.e. camp, dance class, birthday party)
Pick a NYMetroParents Region: All Regions   Manhattan    Brooklyn    Queens    Westchester    Rockland   Fairfield    Nassau    Suffolk  




     Home  >  Articles  > Movies & Entertainment
by Judy Antell


   Most children’s programming comes from magical lands far, far away, but a new show, Johnny and the Sprites, is created in the more prosaic neighborhood of Astoria.  But it has its own imaginative allure; the sprites are a magical trio from an enchanted grotto.

   The star of the show is John Tartaglia, who also created it and serves as the executive producer.  A Tony Award nominee for his starring role in Avenue Q, Tartaglia is a Sesame Street veteran and a self-professed “Disney geek” who explains that creating a half-hour show that will air on Playhouse Disney, starting this month, is a dream come true.  Tartaglia admits to being the kind of aficionado who knows every attraction at Disney World and who watches all the old Disney animated movies.

   Johnny and the Sprites started out as a short accompanying other shows.  This month, it debuts as a 30-minute series on the Disney Channel.  The show introduces musical theater to preschoolers from the finest sources:  the theme song is by Stephen Schwartz (of Pippin, Godspell, and Wicked fame), and show regulars include Broadway stars Natalie Venetia Belcon and Sutton Foster. 

   Tartaglia, who grew up in New Jersey, remembers being captivated by his first Broadway show, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and is now combining his passion for musical theater and puppetry in his new show.

   Sprites mixes live actors with puppets; the sprites, who hail from Grotto’s Grove, include Basil, an ‘Earth Sprite’; Ginger, an ‘Air Sprite’; and Lily, a ‘Water Sprite’.

   Tartaglia, who grew up reading Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, bemoans the loss of fantasy in children’s television.  So many shows are based on real life, he believes, that today’s kids have “few places to get away.”

   Johnny and the Sprites is more whimsical than Sesame Street, and more connected to nature.  There is a subtle message about accepting people’s differences, and getting along.  Each Sprite has a distinct personality; there are also talking animals, and characters The Fuzzies, and Seymour the Schmole.  The entire world is created at Kaufman Astoria Studios; keeping the show local gives its creator convenient access to Broadway talent.

    In the show, Johnny 'lives' in the country house he inherited from a great, great, great, great uncle.  The house has a backyard tunnel leading to the magical Grotto’s Grove.  But, in fact, the entire world is created at Kaufman Astoria Studios; keeping the show local gives its creator convenient access to Broadway talent.

Give yourself a free Holiday Gift

Receive our weekly highlights newsletter · Over 1,000 local activities

More Movies & Entertainment Articles

Exhibits, Movies, and Games to Get Kids Interested in History
Meet the New, Older Dora the Explorer
Family-Friendly Outdoor Movies
What to Watch at the 2014 NY International Children's Film Festival
PBS Kids Premieres 'Curious George Swings into Spring' on Earth Day

Be a good fellow parent and share this with a friend who would be interested
Email Friend

Local Movies & Entertainment Sponsors

Cross County Shopping Center
8000 Mall Walk
Yonkers, NY
Cross County Shopping Center is Westchester County...

New York Lizards
855-NYLizards (695-4927)
The New York Lizards of Major League Lacrosse (MLL...

JCC of Mid-Westchester
999 Wilmot Road
Scarsdale, NY
The Jewish Community Center of Mid-Westchester is ...
See Our Movies & Entertainment Directory

local zones


Nassau cont.


Suffolk cont.


Westchester cont.



Rockland cont.


Queens cont.


Brooklyn cont.


Copyright 2015 NY Metro Parents Magazine Site Design: THE VOICE