The Muppets are mine and my Dads’ love language. And it’s weird, because I’m not even sure how much my Dad really likes The Muppets. If you mention Sesame Street, he’ll just start going on about Roosevelt Franklin, which, to be fair, is a slightly deeper cut than Bert or Ernie. Maybe my Dad’s dorkier than he lets on.
Whatever my Dad’s Muppet fan cred might or might not be, he really acknowledges mine. I loooooooooove The Muppets. And Sesame Street. And Fraggle Rock. And Labyrinth. And and and. But I’m a hardcore nerd for a lot of things that my Dad has never understood. The man has only seen a single Star Wars film, and that was Attack of the Clones.
But there’s something about The Muppets and how they effect me that he just gets. He bought me a Jim Henson biography for Christmas a few years ago. And a few years before that, when I was really, really depressed and no one knew what to do, he bought me my own membership to the Center for Puppetry Arts here in Atlanta. For a year, all I had to do was get myself there, and then I could sit and be with Kermit when I was too sad to do anything else.
If I ever get married, I’m confident that Dad and I will dance to “The Rainbow Connection.”
So, when Dad texted me a few weeks ago to ask if I’d like to go to something called Sesame Street Live, I was ALL IN.
We got to the Cobb Energy Centre last night, and were comfortably the oldest father-daughter duo in attendance. We hung out in a lobby full to bursting with excited children and Sesame Street merchandise. We bought a gigantic bag of popcorn and a 32 oz. souvenir cup of Coke, and settled in for the show.
Sesame Street Live is BANANAS. First of all, the Sesame Street characters are full body puppets, and it took me a while to really adjust to a human sized Elmo. It’s been almost 24 hours, and I’m still not positive that I’m there. Sesame Street Live is also the kind of “Ooh, what’s cool to the kids these days?” work of art that results in a REMIX OF THE SESAME STREET THEME SONG. I almost got up and left right then.
The particular Sesame Street Live that we saw is subtitled Make Your Magic. Here’s the description from SSL’s website: “When magician extraordinaire Justin visits Sesame Street to put on a magic show for the whole neighborhood, Elmo wants to be a part of the big event. But there’s one problem… Elmo can’t do magic!”
From there, the show followed Justin, Elmo, and (still-new-to-me, an Old) Abby Cadabby as they visited all of their favorite Sesame Street pals, trying to get Elmo ready to perform a trick in Justin’s show. Each time a new character was introduced, a musical number surely followed.
“Dani, what were the songs and dances at Sesame Street Live like?”
Well, you guys. I saw Elmo dab. That’s a thing that happened.
The show was a whirlwind of songs, dances, and lessons. Everything can be magic! (Unless it’s science, as Justin informed us, regarding baking and the life cycles of butterflies.) We learned that learning is the most magical thing, and that you can do anything you set your mind to, so long as you keep trying. We heard a whole song about the magic of BFFs: Best Friends Forever.
As I sit here, eating day old, overpriced popcorn, I reflect on the value of a show like Sesame Street Live. As a theatre artist, I got to look out into that ocean of psyched little kids, and see them all getting to experience a live show for possibly the very first time. They got to experience that beautiful sequence of events that leads to something really incredible happening– at a specific time, they heard tickets being scanned, they smelled popcorn and cotton candy, and then they met an usher who helped them find their very own seats. And then they sat back and were rewarded for their efforts by being in the very same room as Elmo and Abby.
I got to be in the same room as Big Bird for an hour and a half. That’s AMAZING.
Sesame Street Live is a goofy, goofy thing, but I just can’t let myself get very cynical about it. I think I might have actually loved it? I mean, yeah, okay, I sat through a Cookie Monster parody of “The Cupid Shuffle.” That happened to me.
Sometimes I need all the same lessons that three-year-old children do. Be patient. Learning is magical. IT’S OKAY IF YOU’RE NOT GOOD AT SOMETHING THE FIRST TIME, DANI.
And it was extra special to be reminded of those lessons alongside one of my very first BFFs.
Get out there and make your magic, nerds!