Kids can perch in Big Bird's nest, crouch in Oscar the Grouch's garbage can, sit on the steps of the iconic Sesame Street brownstone and hug show characters during an hourlong Play Zone event before this weekend's Sesame Street Live's "Can't Stop Singing" performances at Nassau Coliseum.
That's all before they even sit down to watch the 90-minute show.
Play Zone is included in the price of every ticket. "The idea was to give our patrons something new -- a new added bonus to their show tickets," says Jane O'Hara, director of marketing for the VEE Corp., which produces Sesame Street Live. This is the first time Play Zone comes to Long Island. "For fans of the show, this is the closest they might come to stepping right onto Sesame Street."
One hour before each of the seven performances, the character Murray will launch the Play Zone event. For the first 30 minutes, he will host as other "Sesame Street" characters join him in hugging and taking photos with kids and parents. "You can really have time with the characters," O'Hara says.
For the second 30 minutes, the characters leave to get ready for the stage show, but ticket holders can continue to enjoy the experience that O'Hara likens to being at interactive exhibits in a children's museum.
For instance, kids can climb into Big Bird's nest. If they push a red button on a cutout character of Big Bird, he'll talk to them. Oscar pokes out of his trash can, and two empty cans on either side of him let kids join him in the garbage.
Hooper's Store lets kids shop in the fruit and vegetables bin. Elmo's exhibit is specific to the "Can't Stop Singing" show -- it has a musical theme. Kids can play a piano; some of its keys sound notes and others make surprise sounds.
Finally, everyone can sit on the stoop of the 123 Sesame Street brownstone.
"By accident, he casts a spell on the 'Sesame Street' characters and they can't stop singing," says Carlos Martinez, who plays the Dracula-like Count Von Count in the show.
After Elmo realizes what he's done, the characters try to figure out how to undo the spell so everyone can talk again.
Three novel happenings occur in this show, says Jane O'Hara, director of marketing for the VEE Corp., which produces the show: Murray, who has only appeared on televised "Sesame Street" programs as host of "The Word on the Street," makes his stage debut. Hoots the Owl, an old-time "Sesame Street" character who plays the saxophone and sings like Louis Armstrong, rejoins the gang. And the show goes on without any human characters at all.
WHEN|WHERE Shows begin at 10:30 a.m. and 7p.m. Friday, Sept. 21; 10:30 a.m., 2 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22; 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23 -- with Play Zone starting one hour before each show -- at Nassau Coliseum.
INFO Opening night, all regular seats are $15; other performances: $15, $25 and $42; a limited number of $58 Gold Circle seats and $100 Sunny Seats are available to all shows; a facility fee of $2 is added to all ticket prices; Sunny Seats include preshow Meet & Greet with Elmo and another Sesame Street Live character; Play Zone included in ticket price; for information, call 516-794-9300 or go to sesamestreetlive.com; tickets at 800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.