Nitya Vidyasagar: A Sesame Street Star's Teen Broadway Role

Nitya Vidyasagar has the lead role in the off-Broadway show Monetizing Emma, about a shy 15-year old who deals with bullies at school, a pushy mom and a fantasy life inspired by Jane Austen. When investment bank Thackeray Walsh starts arranging the first-ever securitization of smart teenagers, Emma's forced to trade her teenage reality for something scarier -- and far more adult. "I wanted to do the play because the character seemed like a challenge," says Nitya. "Emma is extremely shy and a little self deprecating. She's hopeful but has no reason to expect things to go well. She's smart but totally naïve -- lots of delicate contradictions that are hard to juggle. And I love a challenge."

Sounds like a great show! Did we mention that Nitya also stars on Sesame Street as Leela, the show's first major Indian-American character? She's super cool. So we had to ask her about what she hearts, and she answered all smartly:

Books: "I love Roald Dahl, Milan Kundera and Shakespeare. Plus I'm a huge Tolkien geek. Seriously, I read the histories..."

Fashion: "Jeans and kurtas, hightops or boots. I'm not really a skirt and heels kind of girl... right now I’m loving this black sweatshirt/jacket I got at Lululemon." [We had to look up kurtas too -- they're those traditional Indian loose shirts. Comfy!]

Beauty: "Burt's Bees lip balm, Bumble and Bumble cream for curly hair and anything from Carol's Daughter."

Favorite thing about Sesame Street: “We laugh a lot, improvise, basically just have a ball. I think my favorite part of the show is having scene partners that aren't human -- it's so different from what most actors are used to."

Check out Nitya’s Muppet Wiki! Nitya, can you hook me up with Grover?

Find out more about Monetizing Emma or get tickets here (the show runs June 17-26 in NYC).