The name Heather Henson may sound familiar. The puppeteer is following in the footsteps of her legendary father, Jim Henson.
"I grew up in a puppet family. It was the natural thing to do," Heather Henson said.
Jim Henson was the creative force behind the Muppets, Fraggle Rock and, of course, the residents of Sesame Street. He died in 1990. Heather Henson created her own production company, IBEX, 10 years later.
"I think it took a big shift when I started applying my own ideas to the puppet medium. I grew up kind of observing it and then embraced it as my own storytelling," she said.
Her production company is staging a show at the The New Victory Theatre in Times Square, "Ajijaak on Turtle Island." It features more than 50 puppets crafted by the visual effects company her dad created, Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The production focuses on a cause important to Henson: the environment.
"I'm constantly examining and looking at environmental situations and trying to figure out if we can tell stories that will help people to know how to live in harmony with the earth," she said.
It follows a whooping crane on her first migration south. Throughout her travels, she meets various animals in their habitats.
The journey highlights environmental problems from deforestation to climate change.
"I'm a big lover of education and how to make a show, but then also have it educate people," Henson said.
Schools are sending students to the performances. Educators are being sent to their schools to discuss the themes in the production. There's an interactive experience for the children at the theater, too.
"The kids, really, they can come see the show, but they can actually gain all of the stories and the knowledge and the teachings that we are trying to put into the show," she said.
Henson hopes to continue to inspire other people to focus on the environment while supporting their passions.
The show will run through Sunday, March 10.