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Posted: Wednesday September 28, 2011, 2:21 PM
By JENNIFER V. HUGHES; SPECIAL TO THE RECORD

WHAT: Sesame Street Live: "Elmo Makes Music"

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m., 2 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Theater at Izod Center, East Rutherford; 800-745-3000 or ticket master.com

HOW MUCH: $15, $25, $30 and $40

FOR MORE INFORMATION: sesamestreetlive.com

When your kid does all that pot-pounding, spoon-slamming and block-banging, she's doing more than making noise. She just might turn out to be the next Mozart.

Making music with the things you find every day is the theme of Sesame Street Live's production, "Elmo Makes Music," which comes to the Theater at Izod Center this weekend.

In the show, Jenny, a new music teacher, arrives on Sesame Street to teach a class, but the truck with all her instruments is late, said Jeffrey Johnson, the show's performance director.

"Elmo comes up with this idea that even if Jenny's truck does not arrive, they can still practice music because they will make their own instruments," he said.

All the usual Sesame Street characters — Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Oscar, Cookie Monster and Big Bird — use ordinary items, such as spoons and cans of coins, to make instruments. The show features traditional Sesame Street songs, such as "C Is for Cookie," but also rock-and-roll favorites like "The Hustle" and "Rockin' Robin."

Johnson, who works as a combination stage manager, dance captain and vocal coach for the show, said his favorite part is when the curtain first reveals all the characters.

"The moment you see Sesame Street for the first time it's always magical for me," said Johnson, who confided that his favorite Muppet as a kid was Big Bird.

On the TV show, the Sesame Street Muppets are usually seen only from the chest up, so Johnson said he helps actors to work their whole body to bring the characters to life.

"It's great because the kids are there seeing all their friends live onstage," he said. "It's great for the parents or grandparents, too, to have this experience with their kids because I'm sure they have their own memories of Sesame Street."

Performer Elyse Blunt, who plays Abby Cadabby, said she enjoys portraying the spunky fairy-in-training.

"She's such a girly girl, and there is a lot we have in common," said Blunt, a 21-year-old native of Virginia. "She's so inquisitive, she loves learning, and I love learning."

Blunt said it's not too hard to wear the wings of the newest Muppet in the neighborhood. She has played Abby in two other Sesame Street Live tours.

"I'm a child at heart myself, so I don't find it too hard to get into the mind of a 3-year-old," she said. Blunt said the audience response is her favorite part of the job — and it's the thing that keeps her going strong in the puffy pink suit and purple pigtails through about 340 shows in 60 cities in 10 months.

"The kids are so excited to see all these Sesame Street characters, and that helps keep us going," she said. "When you go out there and see all those kids excited to see you, it's the best feeling in the world."

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