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August 8, 2018

A Major Passion for Puppetry

by Amanda Hayman '17

At Adelphi, you might get a chance to meet Brooklyn bad boy Gino Vino, the hyper Fad and the optimistic Joey Pepper. You can’t miss them. They’re made of foam and fleece with cotton-ball eyes, and Kevin is a big red monster with horns.

They all spring from the imagination of junior Sebastiano Ricci. That’s not all Ricci’s imagined; he created his own unique major in puppetry.

His interest in puppetry started early. He was drawn to children’s programs like Barney & Friends and Sesame Street, but what fascinated him most was how iconic puppets like Elmo and Big Bird were brought to life. “I watched a lot of kids’ television, and I was always fascinated by how it worked,” Ricci said. “I wanted to know how these characters were talking and how they were moving. I knew that they weren’t real, but I wanted to know the mechanics behind it.”

Ricci has been performing on his YouTube channel for the past seven years while taking workshops in New York City, including a voice class run by the Brooklyn Puppet Conspiracy and at Puppet Kitchen International Inc., where he learns the ins and outs of monitor work and how to manipulate his voice to create the perfect character.

A Program to Build a Dream On

When the former communications major found out he could create his own major in interdisciplinary studies, Ricci thought it was “a fantastic opportunity for me to finally follow my dream of becoming a professional puppeteer,'” he said. “I talked to my adviser, John Drew, and he was totally down for the idea.”

Starting in the fall of 2018, Ricci will take classes of his own design within the communications department, the art department and the Department of Theatre. Classes will consist of filmmaking and monitor work for working with puppets, puppet building and sculpture, and acting, with an emphasis on voice.

“I wasn’t sure if I definitely wanted to do it, because it’s a very niche field,” Ricci explained, “but I decided I’m going to go for it, and everyone in the communications department has had my back. They think it’s a fantastic idea.”

Ricci’s on track to make his dream a reality. He’s received considerable media attention—he made the cover of Newsday‘s Sunday LI Life section and was featured by News 12, Fox 5 and Fios1. So stay tuned!

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About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves almost 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online. 

More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
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