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It’s Silly, All Right, but Is It ‘Sesame Street’?

TIMES STAFF WRITER

“Silly Dancing,” the newest “Sesame Street Live!” extravaganza filled with flashy lights, roller skating, acrobatics and blasting music, drew tears, smiles, wide eyes, and shrieks of fear and laughter from preschoolers in attendance when it opened at the Anaheim Convention Center.

This just may be the glitziest production yet, and the farthest away from the admirable television show that inspired it.

Consider: You’re a 3-year-old eager to see your “Sesame Street” pals. You’ve arrived after a long car trip, marveled at the huge parking lot, the elevator ride, the walk to the arena.

You’re eased past the concessionaires and the seductive lure of cotton candy, $4 banners and flashlights. You join a surging crowd of strangers and enter the enormous darkened arena itself; inside is a big stage and a long ramp lined with more lights than you’ve ever seen.

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Your parents promise you’ll be seeing Big Bird and Cookie Monster, and, sure enough, with a blast of loud music, out they come. But they’re not small the way you’re used to seeing them. They loom over you, huge and shaggy, with wide gaping mouths and big eyes. You don’t know they’re just adults dressed up in costume.

You, and most of your peers, decide to laugh, and you’re thrilled when Grover gives you a high five, but a few kids are crying their heads off. The sound track is so loud, you can’t make out all the words, but you get the gist: Big Bird persuades all his friends, except Oscar the Grouch, to perform silly dance routines.

Will Oscar admit he doesn’t want to dance because he can’t? Will you understand that the show is saying that we’re all different and there’s no right or wrong about it? Will your mom break down and buy you a sparkly flashlight?

At the Long Beach Arena Wednesday and Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. At the Los Angeles Sports Arena May 17, 7:30 p.m.; May 18, 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; May 19-20, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $9.50-$10.50; (213) 480-3232, (714) 740-2000.


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