Carson School alumna Kraft is head of props for Sesame Street Live

Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film alumna Megan Kraft is the head of props for Sesame Street Live:  Make a New Friend, on tour now.
Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film alumna Megan Kraft is the head of props for Sesame Street Live: Make a New Friend, on tour now.

Carson School alumna Kraft is head of props for Sesame Street Live

calendar icon26 Apr 2016    

Lincoln, Neb.--Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film Alumna Megan Kraft (B.A. 2013) is the head of props for Sesame Street Live. She began her new position in April.

“I have longed to tour ever since I was in school,” she said. “So when I was offered the head of props position for one of the tours of Sesame Street Live, I initially thought, ‘FINALLY, this is my foot in the door!’ I was so excited to start a new adventure that would challenge me.”

Typically a tour will last 10 months, however Kraft is joining Make a New Friend seven months into the tour, so she will be with the troupe until June 19. The tour includes a stop in Lincoln at the Pinnacle Bank Arena on April 26-27.

“I am ecstatic to visit Lincoln,” she said. “My family and a few friends will be visiting and seeing the show. I cannot wait to show off my alma mater city to the rest of the company members.”

As head of props she maintains, transports and assembles all scenic and prop elements of the show. She also acts as part of the props running crew during performances.

“In each venue that we visit, I’m given two locals to assist me in unloading and assembling everything, as well as helping me backstage during shows,” she said. “Otherwise, it’s all up to me. Oh, and I get to puppeteer two chickens.”

Kraft said this Make a New Friend show is Sesame Street Live’s largest show on tour.

“There are over 100 hand props and scenic pieces that, for the most part, come in small pieces that need to be assembled once we are at the venue,” she said. “All of my combined duties were a little overwhelming initially because there is just so much to inventory and to keep an eye on, but once I found my flow, it was much easier for my brain to compartmentalize it all.”

She’s looking forward to the travel.

“What interested me the most about this position was the ability to travel across the country,” she said. “I love to see new places and experience new cities and landscapes more than anything.”

She said she is a fan of the Sesame Street show.

“I loved Sesame Street as much as any 90’s kid,” she said. “I saw a different show with Sesame Street Live when I was pretty little, and to come back to a childhood memory in this way has been pretty nostalgic. I was not anticipating a certain feeling one way or another before I joined the tour, but the first time I saw Big Bird’s costume backstage, I paused to take it in. Now whenever I see the characters backstage, I can’t help but smile.”

The show does include some unique props.

“It’s hard to pick the most interesting prop because most of them seem completely ridiculous,” she said. “There are Muppet-sized iPhones, ‘fabulous birds’ with feather boas, a fairy wand, various trashcans for Oscar the Grouch and alphabet letters that reach over 7’ tall. However, I think that my favorite prop (as well as the most challenging one to assemble) is an ornate Asian elephant that comes in nine pieces and stands at least 10’ tall.”

Kraft, who is originally from Ralston, Neb., said her experience in the Carson School has helped her because they push students to expand their interests in various fields.

“If you’re interested in sound, the faculty encourage you to grow in that direction, but to also try lighting design or to take a scenic painting class,” she said. “I personally did not do much with props while in school, but was heavily involved in Theatrix. The shows that Theatrix put up are completely reliant on the students for design, man power and pure MacGuyver ability.”

Following her graduation in 2013, she worked in repertory theatre and opera before working on a cruise ship.

“I landed a gig with a cruise line and worked as a theatre technician for the production shows onboard,” she said. “The opportunity to travel onboard ships was amazing, but the type of productions I oversaw were not my favorite to work on, so I kept in touch with my Sesame Street contacts and eventually made it out on the road.”

She loves her new job and joins two other Carson School alumni on the tour. Justin Gamerl began as head of props, but moved to head carpenter and crew chief. Lucas Sevedge is an assistant electronician and work with the lights of the production.

“I love working with props because I’m on my feet, working with my hands and am challenged to creatively problem solve,” she said. “This is also the first position I’ve held as a department head, and I love the independence that comes with it. The team and cast are stellar as well. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by positive people who love what they do.”

Her ultimate career goals keep changing.

“My career goals seem to change every year with every new experience that I have,” she said. “But the desire to remain in theatre and to keep exploring and traveling are constant. If I can see the world while working on a production that has substance, and changes the people who see it, I will have accomplished my longest held dream.”