John Weidman is a playwright and president of the Dramatists Guild of America who wrote for Sesame Street from 1986 to 2016. He has also written song lyrics, including several segments of Elmo the Musical.

The son of veteran Broadway "book" author Jerome Weidman, Weidman is a graduate of Yale law school and served as editor of The National Lampoon. In 1976, he wrote the book for the musical Pacific Overtures (1976), netting a Tony Award nomination, and in 1987, he wrote a completely new book for the revival of Anything Goes. Subsequent Broadway credits included books for the musical version of Big, Contact, and Assassins & Bounce (the latter two both with music by Stephen Sondheim).

During a 1999 event at Lincoln Center, Weidman spoke of his work on Sesame Street:

I had a friend who wrote for the show and I called him up and said "how do you do this?" And he said, "well, there's an audition process". So I went through that process, and I became one of the dozen people who write scripts for Sesame Street. And when my kids were small, it was particularly satisfying, because I would take them to the set. And they would meet the was great!

And I have continued to do it, depending on how much time I have. In part because I enjoy it. But also because I feel like it is honest work; it pleases me to do it. A lot of what people who work in the theater do or have to do to support themselves is not so great. You know, I feel like that's something I sort of fell into and I feel like it's honorable work. And I've enjoyed continuing to do it. And it's right across the street. Which helps, too.[1]


  1. A Conversation with John Weidman

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