It's loud--the amplification of sibilants on the prerecorded soundtrack nears wince level. It's modest but glitzy--the lights onstage could probably illuminate a small town. And, out in the lobby, Elmo flashlights, Big Bird pennants, T-shirts, posters, buttons and more are raking in the bucks.
But at the elegant Pasadena Civic Auditorium, one of four local stops for the latest "Sesame Street Live!" musical for children, the gentle, more altruistic spirit of the TV show shines through as Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, Cookie Monster et al. put on a "When I Grow Up" pageant about Muppet career aspirations. The show opens tonight at The Pond of Anaheim.
Charming song-and-dance numbers range from "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" to "Teddy Bear's Picnic."
The show has an affirming message, naturally. Elmo wants to be everything, and that's OK. Big Bird, the show's Everykid, can't come up with anything to be, and that's OK too.
Whatever you think about watching adults in Muppet guise cavort on stage, there's no denying the thrill for children who greet the entrance of each character with roars of delighted recognition.