|SESAME STREET: THE MUSICAL|
Now playing at Theatre Row, “Sesame Street The Musical” is proving to be the first real crowd-pleaser of the fall season, which is not entirely surprising given that the crowd is the under-10 set and their contented parents (who are probably happy just to be out of the house). Still, one can’t argue with the sight of excited kiddies jumping in and out of their seats, dancing in the aisles, and uttering squeals of excitement each time another beloved character from the now 52-year-old TV show takes the stage.
Essentially a 70-minute musical revue, writer-director Jonathan Rockefeller’s quick-moving production shines its spotlight on Bert, Ernie, The Count, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Elmo and Cookie Monster, letting them perform either classic songs from the show, such as “Rubber Ducky” or “C Is for Cookie,” or cheery new tunes penned by Tom Kitt, Helen Park and Nate Edmonson. As expected, they’re all wonderful company, but my favorite character turned out to be the occasionally exasperated sheep/stage manager (who never gets his own song.)
What little plot exists (and I mean little) is whether the gang can transform a lost audience member (played at my performance by the adorable Stephen Fala, who has performed on Disney cruises and in regional theater) into a singing-and-dancing “guest star” for the show’s feel-good finale. Not even the youngest audience member is likely to be surprised by the outcome.
I would “caution” parents to come prepared to spend more than they might have imagined; there’s a ton of merch to be bought, a special post-show photo-op that costs extra, and a souvenir program that has to be purchased. (There is literally no other program.) At the end of the night, Sesame Street may well be paved with gold.
By Brian Scott Lipton
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