He's red, furry and instantly recognizable to kids everywhere, many who've called him by his first name before they were out of diapers.
He's Elmo, the star of the latest installment of the "Sesame Street Live!'' show now touring the country and stopping next week at the Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, Tuesday for two shows.
The show, called "Elmo Makes Music,'' features a company of 28, with a cast of 13 professional dancers who portray the "Sesame Street" characters, said Lauren Nestor, who plays Jenny in the show.
Photographs courtesy of VEE Corporation, provided by Bruce Silcox
Characters in “Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music” are shown on stage. Below, Lauren Nester portrays the character “Jenny” onstage. The show will be at the Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, on Tuesday.
This is the 34th tour for the "Sesame Street Live!'' show, said Nestor, whose character is a music teacher who arrives on "Sesame Street" ahead of her moving van with its instruments.
"Fortunately, Elmo, Cookie Monster and all your favorite 'Sesame Street' friends discover that everyone and everything around us can make music,'' she said. "Using trash can lids, cookie jars and even singing, clapping and stomping your feet, the gang helps celebrate the joy of music and welcomes Jenny to Sesame Street.''
The show is targeted to children ages 2 to 6, but kids of all ages enjoy the lights and music, Nestor said. Adults also often chime in when they hear songs such as "C is for Cookie'' and "Sing'' that they recognize from the TV show, she said.
If you go
What: "Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music"
Where: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park
When: 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Tickets: $17, 800-745-3000
"It is a fun, exciting experience for the whole family to enjoy together,'' Nestor said.
The tour started last October and will conclude this May. The company will travel throughout the United States and Canada, with stops in most major cities along the way.
"I believe 'Sesame Street Live!' is so popular because it is the standard in children's live entertainment,'' Nestor said. "Not only is the show fun for children, it teaches the timeless values of friendship, cooperation, diversity and problem-solving.''
Nestor, who is from Pittsburgh, graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor of fine arts degree in musical theater. After graduation, she performed with Disney Cruise Line for one year, then worked with the Vital Theatre Company in "Angelina Ballerina.''
"With 'Sesame Street Live,' I have found my niche,'' she said. "It is the perfect combination of entertainment and education. I absolutely love being able to perform for children and being a part of their development and growth.''