May 20, 2018
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‘Sesame Street’ cast wows children in ‘Elmo Grows Up’

By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist

BANGOR, Maine — “Walk. Do not run. Walk, walk, walk,” chanted Grover as little feet stamped in the bleachers at Bangor Auditorium on Wednesday evening. “Walk. Do not run — across Sesame Street!”

The lovable Muppet sported the cap and diagonal belt of a police officer to show children what he wanted to be during the third performance of Sesame Street Live’s “Elmo Grows Up” show.

Thousands of children and their grownups turned out for the Bangor shows on Tuesday and Wednesday to see old friends from “Sesame Street” and to make a new one.

“I liked the girl that ‘appeared,’” said 5-year-old Lexis Perry of China. That would be Abby Cadabby.

“Abby Cadabby is a new character on the Street,” says Chris Urban, who travels with Sesame Street Live and brings Cookie Monster to life on tour. “She is being introduced, and she has little wings and little pigtails. She wants to grow up to be a fairy godmother, just like her mother.”

Kids who come to the show always enjoy Abby, Urban said. “They adore her little magic tricks.”

The youngsters were delighted with Abby Cadabby, and patient as she explained she was still learning how to use her training wand.

Determined to turn a hat into a bouquet of flowers, Abby produced a pumpkin instead. But she did manage to “disappear” after a few tries.

It makes sense that Abby wants to be a fairy godmother, but what’s with Cookie Monster?

“He’s an avid fan of being a firefighter,” Urban said in an interview before the troupe arrived in Bangor. “He wants to be a firefighter to help out people on the Street.”

That’s not all that’s new with Cookie Monster.

“Cookie Monster still loves cookies,” he said, “but now he’s on a healthier diet. He also switches it up with fruits and vegetables.”

This is Urban’s third tour with Sesame Street Live. Next year he expects to be on a tour that goes to Canada, and down the road, he’d like to join a Sesame Street Live tour to Europe.

A native of Philadelphia who studied dance and choreography in college, Urban was making his second trip to Bangor with the tour.

The new show, which performs an average of seven to nine times a week, is lots of fun, he said, and it finishes with “a big celebration of what we want to be when we grow up.”

Urban made for a very nimble Cookie Monster, with Telly Monster equally fleet of foot.

Telly told the crowd he wanted to be a cowboy when he grows up, one of the liveliest parts of the program. Even the cactus plants danced.

Children in the audience particularly enjoyed songs they knew, with even the littlest ones pretending to go up the water spout on “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

Elmo made for a charming “weather monster,” and Oscar the Grouch left no doubt about his aspirations with a few rounds of “I Love Trash.”

It was a colorful evening with old friends like Big Bird, and new ones such as Abby Cadabby.

Two-year-old Andrew Perry summed it up as the Muppets left the stage: “Mama, I want to do it again!”

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