Back when Sesame Street debuted in 1968, shows geared toward children were the anomaly. Much has changed nearly a half-century later. Programs and live shows marketed to tykes are now ubiquitous.
However, “Sesame Street Live” remains one of the top touring kiddie shows. “Children and parents know what to expect from ‘Sesame Street Live,’” SSL performance director Joy Carlson said. “We’ve set a certain standard.”
It’s not hyperbole. “Sesame Street Live” boasts a tremendous production value. “It’s simply Broadway quality,” Carlson said. “We put a lot of time and effort into the lighting and set design. We work on making this as visually appealing as possible.”
And then there is the message delivered by warm, fuzzy characters such as Big Bird and Cookie Monster. “It’s always something positive and something you can learn with,” Carlson said. “There is so much joy and positivity in each show.”
“Make a New Friend” is the theme of the show slated for Friday through Sunday at Intrust Bank Arena. Familiar characters such as Grover, Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby welcome Chamki, who is from India. They sing, dance and learn about each other’s cultures.
“It’s about finding out about each other,” Carlson said. “It’s good for children, who are moving into a new area. It’s for kids to just learn how to get along and play together and have fun with each other. It’s a good learning tool. These shows are about positive messages. They’re about developing healthy eating habits and learning how to make music from nothing. It’s all done in a fun manner.”
There’s always new wrinkles in “Sesame Street Live” shows. Elmo does a parody of Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold,” and Bert and Ernie alter the lyrics to Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger.”
“The audience, well the parents especially, love ‘Moves Like Bert,’” Carlson said.
Unlike most other kiddie shows, parents can relate to “Sesame Street,” since they grew up watching the award-winning show.
“Moms and dads experienced not only the same characters when they were kids but they also came of age listening to the same songs in our shows,” said Carlson, who was a dancer in “Sesame Street Live” before her promotion. “The parents seem to have as much fun as the kids. I watch them digging all of the music and just connecting with their children.”
For those who want to get up close and personal with the characters, there is the new “Sunny Seats” option. Fans who purchase this package receive a front row seat and a meet and greet with the characters after the show. “It’s something both children and their parents enjoy,” Carlson said. “You can’t beat being able to see the characters up close and everyone wants to meet Elmo. There’s nobody like him.”