News Column

Take note of Elmo's spell

June 6, 2013

YellowBrix

June 06--Sesame Street is bringing its fun, furry friends back to Stockton Arena for three performances of a new show featuring nonstop singing and dancing.

What happens when Elmo gets his fingers on Abby Cadabby's magic wand?

He casts a spell, that's what.

"The spell is that everyone sings nonstop," Erik Jimenez, aka Grover, said from Los Angeles, where the show was onstage before heading north. "The show involves Elmo and Abby. She misplaces her wand and Elmo finds it, but first he accidentally causes a spell where we sing nonstop -- high, low, fast, slow."

That's right.

When Elmo gets the wand, there's something in the air -- and Sesame Street becomes a nonstop, all-singing, all-dancing musical montage. Grover and Baby Bear sing their highs and lows, Cookie Monster sings fast and slow, Bert and Ernie converse in song and Murray makes mouth music for all to sing along.

Jimenez, who worked at Disneyland in Anaheim and coached a competitive high school dance team, said Sesame Street is his first professional stage gig, and he loves it.

Did he imagine that one day he would grow up to play a character he knew and loved from television?

"I did not. But, it's really funny, because when friends and family come to see the show, they say that I am a perfect Grover," he said.

"They tell me that Grover is so fitting for me and is exactly who I need to be portraying."

Even more gratifying, though, is the response he gets from the audience.

"Children are the most gracious audience," he said. "It's amazing. And even the parents. They will just grab you and thank you. Sesame Street is the first place that a lot of kids learn their ABCs and their 123s, so I think people just associate it with something special."

And, he said, it's a show that engages adults and kids.

"Even my mom was jumping up and down and singing when she came to the show," he said.

Maybe she was just one proud mama?

"Well, yeah," he admitted. "But the audience really gets into it."

Before the show, there is a Play Zone included in the price of admission, where kids can meet their favorite Sesame Street characters and goof around.

But more than that, it's a chance for children to spark what could become a lifelong love for the magic of live theater.

"You never know; this may be someone's only chance to see a live show. It's a kid's first experience with theater.

"It gives them a chance to appreciate the arts. It's a great way for families to get out and experience a live show that is something someone of all ages can enjoy."

Contact reporter Jo Ann Kirby at (209) 546-8256 or jkirby@recordnet.com.

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(c)2013 The Record (Stockton, Calif.)

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