Sesame Street Live: When Elmo Grows Up

I know Saffy will tease me for it, but when I heard that Sesame Street Live was happening in Singapore in September, I rushed right to Sistic to buy tickets.  I knew E would be almost 2, and considering her deep and abiding love of Sesame Street, I figured it would make for a positive first theatrical experience for her.  Going to the theater is something I love, and one of the many things I can’t wait to share with Ella as she grows.  I figure in another year or two, I can take her to the Nutcracker, and soon after things like Lion King (of course depending on her personality).

We got seats in the second row from the stage, which included a meet n greet before the show.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the big smile on Ellie face when we walked in the room and saw “EM–mo, Er-NEE, Coo-KEE, and BUT”said that a photo op was perfect in her book.  Although I expected her to be entranced by the idea of sitting in Elmo’s lap, she leaned over to give Ernie a bunch of high fives.

I should have expected the facility to have booster seats, especially for a kid’s show like Sesame Street, but I brought her portable high chair just in case.  The booster seats had no way of restraining the kids, and I was concerned about E wanting to run around, so the portable high chair was great for that, and considering her small size, putting the high chair on top of the booster seat ensured her ability to see over the 5 year old in front of her.

The show was about what I expected.  The premise is that Prairie Dawn wanted to have a pageant highlighting what everyone wants to be when they grow up.  Predictably Elmo wants to be everything, and Big Bird isn’t sure what he wants to be.  Ravi was suprised that the voices were pre-recorded, but it makes sense-after all, who could pull off imitating Elmo’s voice PLUS dance around in a giant costume where you (I’m guessing) can’t really see anything? (Ditto everyone else).

When the lights came up and the characters entered the stage singing “Sunny Days,” Elanor’s mouth fell open, a huge grin spread across her face and she began to clap.  Up until that point, she’d been pretty dubious about us being in this huge room with other parents and kids.

We spent some of the pre-show time walking to the one (really, ONE?) merchandising table WAY at the top of seating…we got her a program, a few DVD’s, and a spinny Elmo light up thing.  As a side note-I was really underwhelmed-it was almost like they sent whatever didn’t sell in the US to Singapore.  There were no t-shirts, no magnets, no other plushes besides Zoe (Zoe dolls?  Really?  You focus-grouped that muppet into existence and no matter that no one likes her, you’re just going to keep forcing her down our throats?).

She was entranced by the show.

To be honest, I spent most of the first act watching E’s reactions rather than the show itself.  It wasn’t like we were at Wicked or Phantom of the Opera, where I’m invested in the show.  I became a Sesame Street fan when I was 2/3 and watched religiously for several years.  Since E has become a fan, I’ve become re-acquainted with plenty of old friends (Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Maria, etc) and seen what passes for new characters (while she sounds like Carol Channing, I will admit that I’m quite fond of Abby Cadabby, but I find Chris and Zoe just meh).  But for E, it’s still AMAZING that Oscar comes up out of the trash can, and seeing Elmo up close and in person is just the shit.

Being so close to the stage, we got to enjoy when the characters came out and danced on the floor in front of the stage, giving kids in the front (and sometimes in the second, like E) high fives and waves.  I didn’t get a great picture because they were moving so quick, but you’ll get the idea from the next image.

There was a 15 minute intermission and then the second act opened with something I should have expected….

Oh Elmo’s World, you are an inescapable part of my life.

They did a reasonable job of recreating the Elmo’s World Experience.  The random question of the day, asking Dorothy’s opinion (with no response, of course), a computer running around away from Elmo shrieking “Elmo has mail, Elmo has mail” which morphed into the next musical number and the rest of the show.

And Mr. Noodle…of COURSE there was Mr. Noodle…

At some point in the second act, E got a little antsy, and I pulled her into my lap.  She spent the rest of the show in my arms, sitting in my lap, but she made it through the entire show.

The one thing I found kind of shocking was after they had made a point about staying in your seats to help the performers, there was a swarm of parents from the second tier seating who came down and literally swarmed Elmo, etc when they danced down the stairs.  Or the parents who let their toddlers run up and dance on the floor with the actors.  Here’s the thing, common sense would tell you that whoever was in the costume couldn’t see very well.  I have no clue what they were thinking when they swarmed/let their children run loose….a kid (or a performer) could have easily gotten injured.  I was also puzzled why security thought giving them dirty looks was going to be effective.

Overall, in my opinion, it was a rousing success.  Elanor had fun, she made it through the show, and Ravi and I didn’t feel the need to stab ourselves in the ears multiple times (unlike if it had been a Barney show…which has also recently been through town). She spent the rest of the day talking about and carrying around her Sesame Street figurines and loves the pictures from our day at Sesame Street.

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