Sesame Street Live — ‘Elmo Makes Music’ at Rialto
By Randall G. Mielke For Sun-Times Media May 9, 2013 7:48AM
Bert and Ernie rock the house during Sesame Street Live — “Elmo Makes Music.” | Rialto Square Theatre photo
Sesame Street Live — ‘Elmo Makes Music'
♦ 7 p.m. May 14 and 10:30 a.m. and
7 p.m. May 15
♦ Rialto Square Theatre,
102 N. Chicago St., Joliet
♦ Tickets, $13-$55
♦ (815) 726-6600; rialtosquare.com
Updated: June 11, 2013 6:15AM
Actress Denise Pajak, who appears as the character Bert in the touring production of Sesame Street Live — “Elmo Makes Music,” knows that when she and her cast mates perform it may be the first time that many youngsters see a stage production, and that is part of the show’s appeal.
“Children do not see live stage shows that often,” Pajak said. “So there are the lights, the sets, the characters, and their minds are so fresh that it is so new and exciting to them.”
VEE Corp. presents Sesame Street Live — “Elmo Makes Music” May 14 and 15 at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.
In the show Jenny, a new music teacher, arrives on Sesame Street and finds that her instruments are missing.
Jenny’s new friends quickly come to the rescue and discover “instruments” that they never knew existed. These instruments include rubber ducks, trash can lids and cookie jars. Elmo and friends teach children that everyone can make and enjoy beautiful music together.
“She teaches them to find music with pots and pans and even make sounds with their hands,” Pajak said.
All of the characters in the stage show are based on television’s “Sesame Street” characters. VEE Corp., out of Minneapolis, makes sure that what the audience sees on TV is what they see in the stage production.
Thirteen professional actors mostly perform in full-bodied costumes. Each stage show is prerecorded with the original voices from the TV show.
“Elmo Makes Music” features songs including “C Is for Cookie” and “The Alphabet Song” as well as some tunes that adults will recognize like “The Hustle” and “Rockin’ Robin.”
“To a lot of these children we are rock stars,” Pajak said. “Depending on the venue, sometimes the characters go into the audience and hug the kids.”
Pajak, who is in her second year with the show and her seventh year with VEE Corp., sometimes finds the costumes to be a bit of a challenge.
“The Bert and Ernie costumes are the heaviest,” she said. “We have wool sweaters on and actual shoes, not fur. When we rehearse we add the costume bit by bit. We do not throw it on and just go out there. Piece by piece we add on until we get used to it.”
Pajak was a “Sesame Street” fan herself and is a bit in awe of participating in the show. “I grew up watching ‘Sesame Street.’ I did not know that I would someday be a part of it. It amazes me that I am doing it.”