Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™ is – at its core – a CHARACTER and PERFORMANCE company. We create characters! That’s what we love to do. And, then we bring them to life through the art of puppetry using the most talented roster of puppeteers from all around the world.
Imagine what you can do with what we can do!
Brian Henson is Chairman of the Board of The Jim Henson Company and an award-winning director, producer, and writer for film and television. He is also a technological innovator and skilled puppeteer.
In his early years, Brian regularly joined his father Jim Henson on set when he was a child. By the time he was 17, he was working on projects like the marionettes in the complicated bicycle scene in The Great Muppet Caper. Brian quickly became indispensable on the sets of his father’s productions. In May of 1983, Brian joined his dad on the production of The Muppets Take Manhattan. He was assigned to Faz Fazakas, often referred to as an electro-mechanical wizard, to help with special effects. Some of these involved radio-controlled puppets and other animatronic techniques. He was also a performer, working the marionette rig for Scooter’s bicycle ride. Talented in both areas and interested in the work of his father’s Creature Shop, Brian kept an eye out for other opportunities in fantasy film work. In 1984, he moved to London to work on Return to Oz. The film was not a Henson production, and allowed Brian to assemble his own team of animatronic performers that would go on to work with him on several projects, including Jim Henson’s fantasy classic Labyrinth. Brian served as puppet captain for the film while also performing the character Hoggle. Brian’s work both inside and outside the company during the 1980s allowed him to establish relationships on both the technical and performing sides of the business, giving him a strong foundation for his leadership role in the following decade.
Following the death of his father in 1990, Brian moved back to America to become the CEO of The Jim Henson Company. In 2009, he became Chairman of the Board for the Company, and his sister Lisa Henson became sole CEO.
Henson most recently directed the short film Tall Poppy for Australia’s CGU. He also served as executive producer for the critically acclaimed Disney+ original series Earth to Ned. Highlighted credits for television include Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars (which he also directed), Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge (for which he also served as lead judge), and Jim Henson’s Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story (which he co-wrote and directed). He also directed Battleground, an Emmy Award-winning episode of Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King for TNT. Henson’s many television producing credits also include Sid the Science Kid, Bear in the Big Blue House, Gulliver’s Travels, Muppets Tonight, and Dinosaurs. Henson’s prolific film credits include The Great Muppet Caper, Return to Oz, Labyrinth, The Witches, Little Shop of Horrors, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, and The Happytime Murders.
Henson has also led the creative and technological innovations of the Company, overseeing the groundbreaking work at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, one of Hollywood’s pre-eminent character-building, digital and physical visual effects facilities. He was part of the team that first created and utilized the Henson Performance Control System, a powerful custom-based interface for puppeteers, which won an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science Scientific and Engineering Award in 1992. He has also been leading the Shop’s work with its revolutionary puppeteered animation system, the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio. In 2009, he and his team were awarded a Primetime Emmy Award, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development for this proprietary system that allows performers to puppeteer digital characters in real time.
Along with his many talents in performing, directing and technical innovation, Henson is a master at improvisational comedy. In 2005, he created Puppet Up! – Uncensored, a live puppet improvisational show starring the Miskreant puppet troupe, which was named a top ten “Best Stage Show” by Entertainment Weekly and has toured comedy festivals in Aspen, Las Vegas, Edinburgh, New York and Australia and continues to play venues around the country.
Peter Brooke is the Creative Supervisor for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and is responsible for the conception, design and sculpt of each character and creature brought to life at the Shop’s Los Angeles location. His work can be seen in such films as Where the Wild Things Are, The Producers, Cats & Dogs, Dr. Dolittle and The Flintstones. Brooke has also worked on many of The Jim Henson Company’s television projects, most recently Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock on Apple TV+ and the Emmy®-winning Netflix original series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance as well as The Storyteller and Dinosaurs. Brooke works closely with the creative team of each film and television project to guarantee that their vision is realized in the characters he creates. He also liaises with the Shop’s builders and supervises characters on set to ensure that the original concept and design style is maintained throughout the build and performance.
Brooke began his relationship with The Jim Henson Company in 1988 as a sculptor on Jim Henson’s The Storyteller and he relocated to the US when the company began production in Los Angeles on Dinosaurs in 1991.
Brooke’s own fine art sculpture work has received the Gold Medal for Best Sculpture from the California Art Club and the Award of Excellence from the Society of Animal Artists. His work has been featured in several magazines including Southwest Art, Art Talk, Art Revue and Wildlife Art News.
Jason Weber is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in theatrical costume design. He began working with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in 1985 as a freelance fabric painter and dyer. After freelancing with the company and several design jobs with companies such as Dance Theatre of Harlem and Alvin Ailey Dance Co, he was invited to become a member of the staff in 1996. Since then he has worked on numerous projects such as Muppets Tonight, The Muppets Christmas Carol, Muppets Treasure Island, Muppets from Space, Elmo in Grouchland, The Jim Henson Hour, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, and many others.
In 2002, Weber stepped into his position as Creative Supervisor for the Creature Shop’s work on the internationally renowned Sesame Street. He continues to serve in this position today, overseeing all Sesame Street projects and acting as art director and a designer for the series’ domestic production, international co-productions, home video, PR appearances, and photo shoots. He has been awarded ten Emmys for his work on the Sesame Street team.
Since 2010, Weber has been part of the leadership of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, serving as Creative Supervisor for all New York-based projects.
As the Manager of Digital Production for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, Penny Penniston manages the pipeline and projects for the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio. This patented technology, integrated into a virtual production pipeline, allows spontaneous real-time puppeteering of CG characters including body, facial animation and lip sync. Her overall expertise includes but is not limited to production workflows, script breakdowns, asset tracking, mocap stage logistics, team management, and project scheduling/resourcing.
Prior to joining The Jim Henson Company, Penny worked at Reel FX where she wrangled the virtual production process for Super Giant Robot Brothers. This was the job that brought her to Los Angeles from Chicago, where she shoveled snow, studied VFX in grad school, and worked as a writer/producer of advertising, corporate videos, and short films. Penny is a skilled writer and communicator, a realtime pipeline evangelist, and a Shotgrid wizard.
Amy Smith joined Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in 2012. She has been a part of the team for stage productions like Deadmau5, Dinosaur Train Live and Sid the Science Kid Live. She was the production coordinator for the Shop’s work on the LendingTree commercial campaign and served as the Shop’s coordinator for the new Syfy series Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge. Previously, Smith designed children’s craft kits for retailers such as Michael’s, JoAnn’s and Target and studied puppetry and puppet-making with former Sesame Street puppeteer Michael Earl. Her TV credits include Felicity, The Guardian and the popular puppet-themed episode of Community.
John Criswell oversees all the design, engineering and building for the technical and mechanical components of all projects at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. An established builder with his own character shop for ten years before joining the company in 1991, Criswell’s previous credits include Spaced Invaders, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, and Critters. His TV work at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop has included Dinosaurs, Pushing Daisies and Sid the Science Kid. Feature credits include The Hangover, Where the Wild Things Are, George of the Jungle and Cats and Dogs.
Danny Ortega joined the company in 2008 and, as CG Supervisor, he is responsible for all computer generated development from modeling, rigging to animation. It is essential that all animated characters are believable and entertaining to all audiences and Ortega brings characters to life by showing their internal thoughts and emotions through physical motions. He works with modelers to produce cg models that accurately translate the character design while meeting any technical requirements needed to make it an efficient, reliable model to rig and animate. He then works with riggers and technical directors to assure the character is properly rigged with all necessary controls needed to give a full range of motion and an easy to use rig. As well as properly rigging and exporting a character to be used in the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio. Ortega’s credits include Good Morning Today for Fusion, the theme park attraction Hershey’s Great Chocolate Factory Mystery, the PBS series Sid the Science Kid and Wilson and Ditch and the wildly popular Google landing page “doodle” celebrating Jim Henson’s 75th birthday.
Ortega is a graduate of the Art Institute of California – Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s degree in Media Arts & Animation.
Joe Roddy has served as liaison for the Creature Shop’s extensive roster of world-class puppeteers since joining the company in 2000. In his role coordinating performers and auditions, he has worked on projects including Sesame Street, Coca Cola polar bears, Stuffed and Unstrung (Puppet Up! – Uncensored), the live stage show of Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas, and The Muppets Wizard of Oz. Prior to joining the Shop, Roddy was a post-production assistant on season three of Sex and the City and a production assistant on Law & Order SVU. Roddy received a BA in Media Arts from The University of South Carolina and recently completed writing his first novel.
As Fabrication Supervisor at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, Scott Johnson oversees the design and construction of creatures and puppets for a variety of film, television and live event projects. Johnson has worked on multiple projects for The Jim Henson Company including Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock for Apple TV+, the Emmy®-winning The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance for Netflix and Me and My Monsters. Other television credits include puppet fabrication for episodes of Friends, Community, That 70’s Show, Dharma and Greg, and Angel. His work can also be seen in feature films like The Happytime Murders, Where the Wild Things Are and The Country Bears.
Johnson’s work with the iconic Muppets began in 1996 and includes the feature films Muppets from Space, The Muppets Wizard of Oz, The Muppets, and The Muppets Most Wanted. He also worked on the television series The Muppets and Muppets Tonight, both for ABC.
Before joining Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, Johnson worked at Disney Imagineering for several years, created character costumes for Disney on Ice, and worked as puppet supervisor on several Nickelodeon shows, including Cousin Skeeter and Yo Gabba Gabba where his work received two Daytime Emmy nominations.
Johnson received an MFA in costume design from Cal Arts.
Robert Bennett designs and fabricates creatures for the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. A multi-talented concept designer, sculptor, painter, and fabricator, Bennett won the first season of the Syfy competition series Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge in 2014, earning him a staff position at the Shop. His blossoming career includes work experience as a Walt Disney Imagineer, suit performer, scenic artist, sculptor for Universal Studios (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter), and costume designer for SeaWorld. Recent credits include Oscar’s Hotel, Turkey Hollow, and various commercial campaigns. Bennett attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.