Michelan Sisti (b. May 27, 1949) is an actor and puppeteer who has performed many full-bodied characters in Jim Henson's Creature Shop productions. Born to army parents in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but raised in the States and abroad, Sisti's height of 5 feet and 2 inches lent itself to unusual roles, such as Michaelangelo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and its sequel. This was followed by Dinosaurs on ABC, performing the body of Charlene Sinclair, the body and voice of Sid Turtlepuss, and appearing on-camera as various cavepeople. For over a decade, Sisti served as Animal's drumming hands with The Electric Mayhem.
Sisti has also served as performance coordinator and animatronic puppeteer on other projects and an assistant/additional puppeteer on various Muppet commercials and appearances. Sisti was originally offered the role of Barkley on Sesame Street in 1993, but chose to stay in Los Angeles, and instead recommended his friend Bruce Connelly, who he'd worked with in "ORKIDSTRA," a mime company.
Prior to working with Henson, Sisti was a musician and theatrical actor for twenty years. Sisti performed in many NY productions on-and-off-Broadway. Broadway credits include the 1981 revival of Fiddler on the Roof (as Motel) and the Joe Raposo-scored Raggedy Ann and Andy (as Panda, opposite Ivy Austin). In 1987, he appeared in the Broadway revival of Cabaret, as Bobby and understudy for star Joel Grey. It was during this production that Grey lost his voice, and for more than thirty performances, Sisti sang and spoke the Emcee role over the sound system, while Grey acted onstage. Later shifting to film and television, Sisti guest starred on Star Trek: The Next Generation, as the Ferengi Tol in the 1994 episode "Bloodlines" and later guest starred on Babylon 5.
Sisti also appeared in fellow Henson puppeteer Julianne Buescher's short film Resculpting Venus as Dr. Moreau, and served as movement supervisor for the motion-capture performers on Sid the Science Kid.
Muppet/Creature Shop Credits
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Michaelangelo (body)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze: Michaelangelo
- Dinosaurs: Sid Turtlepuss (voice and body), body performer for Charlene Sinclair, Officer Bettleheim, Crazy Lou, Folk Singer, General H. Norman Conquest, Hank, Parish, Ted Hardshell, UFO! Host, Wendy Richfield, Zabar
- 1993 Royal Variety Performance: Clodhopper
- Muppets on Wheels
- Things That Fly: Hang Glider
- Muppet Classic Theater
- Aliens in the Family: Spit (body)
- Buddy: Baby Buddy
- The Adventures of Pinocchio: Pinocchio (principal puppeteer)
- George of the Jungle: Gorilla (suit puppeteer)
- Lost in Space: Blawp puppeteer
- The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas
- MuppetFest: Mr. Tinkles, various
- Cats & Dogs: Mr. Tinkles, Peek, Ninja Cat
- The Country Bears: Ted Bedderhead (face), puppeteer coordinator
- Pizza Hut commercials
- The Hollywood Bowl (Summer 2006 appearance by Kermit and Miss Piggy)
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall
- Studio DC: Almost Live
- The Muppets (2011): Food in "Me Party" and "We Built This City"
- "All I Need is Love": Additional Muppet performer
- Lady Gaga & the Muppets' Holiday Spectacular
- Disney Drive-On with The Muppets
- Muppets Most Wanted
- The Muppets (2015)
- Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival
- The Muppets Take the Bowl
- The Muppets Take the O2
Henson Company Non-Muppet Credits
- Late Night Buffet with Augie and Del: Del (assistant)
- The Skrumps: Raisins (motion capture performer)
- Frances: Gloria (motion capture performer)
- Sid the Science Kid: Movement supervisor
- The Hollywood Reporter "Disney's Muppets Problem: Can the Franchise Reckon With Its Boys' Club Culture?" by Seth Abramovitch, November 02, 2020
- Facebook post by Sisti