Megaplex 2012: Turning Back the Gears

Guest of Honor

Noel MacNealNoel MacNeal launched his career performing on PBS’s award-winning Sesame Street, where he honed his craft with puppetry legends Jim Henson and Frank Oz. He’s been a performer on Sesame Street for over twenty years, training puppeteers in Japan, Mexico, South Africa, and, most recently, Jordan, Palesitne, and India for the Sesame Workshop co-productions of Sesame Street. Noel is also a regular performer with the classic Muppets of The Muppet Show.

For the past decade, Noel has been the spirit and voice of the gentle and lovable star of the Daytime Emmy Award-winning series Disney’s Bear in the Big Blue House and the Disney Channel morning series Breakfast With Bear. In 2003, Noel received a Daytime Emmy Nomination as Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series.

His repertoire of characters also includes Kako on the Noggin series Oobi and Blue on Nick Jr.’s Blue’s Room. He’s also played Magellan on the Ace Award-winning series Eureeka’s Castle on Nick Jr. He played Madame Chairbird in the film Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird, Rabbit for Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning series The Book of Pooh, Leon on PBS’s The Puzzle Place, and Knock-Knock on The Great Space Coaster. In addition, he’s performed with and/or for Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Whoopi Goldberg, Jerry Lewis, Mickey Rooney, Emma Thompson, Wayne Brady, Dave Chappelle, Donny and Marie Osmond, Gilbert Godfrey, Tom Bergeron, Regis and Kelly, and Matt Lauer and Katie Couric. (But not all at once.)

Noel is also a television writer. His scripts have been featured on PBS Kids Sprout’s The Goodnight Show, PBS’s Cyberchase, Disney Channel’s Bear in the Big Blue House, PBS’s The Puzzle Place, and Nickelodeon’s Eureeka’s Castle, The Magic Schoolbus, Gullah Gullah Island, and Nat the Great. He is also a script adviser and consultant for the international versions of Sesame Street in Jordan, Palesitne, and India. And now he’s added the credit of television director, having directed episodes of Bear in the Big Blue House and PBS Kids Sprout’s The Good Night Show.

If that didn’t make him enough of a Renaissance man, he’s an author as well, with his puppet-making book 10-Minute Puppets with Noel MacNeal available now from Amazon and your local bookseller.

Noel lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Susan, and five-year-old son, Matthew, a budding puppeteer whose favorite characters to perform are “Tiny Hand,” “Little Bird,” and “Tiny Spider.”

Follow Noel on Twitter and see 10-Minute Puppets on Facebook!

Learn even more about Noel in this January 2011 Interview with Noel on The Muppet Mindset.