The anticipation had been building in our house as we waited for the big day of "Sesame Street Live: Let's Dance!" at Shea's Performing Arts Center. "Sesame Street" is a favorite of my two little ones. At ages 4 and 1, both girls enjoy the music, characters and fun of one of the most beloved children’s programs ever. But would "Sesame Street Live" keep them as entertained as the television show does?
After a short introduction by the show’s two hosts, the famous monsters performed their theme song, which got the kids moving and singing along. Most kids were up and raring to go. It was a good start. All of the favorites were there, too. Cookie Monster, Elmo, Bert and Ernie, Abby, Grover and Big Bird were surrounded by their iconic "Sesame Street" set. All were trying one new dance after another.
The show is filled with music and dancing. The Styx song “Mr. Roboto” had Elmo and three robots doing – what else - the robot dance. Even the adults seemed to like that one. There were plenty of tunes the kids knew. “Wheels on the Bus” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” were both done rap style. They were upbeat and fun. The kids were moving and grooving.
The first half followed the lovable Bert as he learned how to dance. His monster friends encouraged him all the way. The second part was shorter but had lots of dancing, the "ABC" song, the freeze dance – which the kids really got a kick out of - and some other fun games.
The show runs 90 minutes, which may be just a tiny bit long for preschoolers and toddlers – even when they don’t have to sit still. There is one intermission – which, as usual, seems like a total merchandise push. The Elmo toys that spin or light up ($17 each) were a big hit.
Balloons are big business, too. A double-sided Cookie Monster and Elmo balloon set folks back $10. There were the usual popcorn and cotton candy ($5) snacks available. There always seems to be some pressure for parents to buy something.
“Let’s Dance!” is a big hit. The fast-paced show with its lovable characters does not disappoint. From the side-stepping choreography, to the colorful "Sesame Street" backdrop, to that famous theme song – everything is on point with this show. There is a real sense of energy that was hard to deny.
When the characters came through the aisles to dance, the kids went crazy. They loved it. Those furry monsters up close and personal really amused the little ones. Aisle seats are great for that, by the way. Although all kids are encouraged to make their way to the aisles, those sitting on the ends have a great view.
Many kids were on their feet for the entire show including Jihad Romaine, 3. The little guy loved it and so did his mother, Barbra Dowell. “I love it. It’s nice. The dancing is great. I’m surprised it kept his attention for so long,” said Dowell. Her only complaint was that $17 Elmo toy she bought.
Having the beloved and popular TV show right there is a treat for little ones. Live and in person – it seems – is actually more fun than on the tube. Shea’s Performing Arts Center is always beautiful. The restrooms are conveniently located and clean. We parked in a lot across the street for $10. There were plenty of empty seats, but that can be the case during the weeknight shows.
All in all it was a big hit with my little ones. I kept looking around to see if any kids were getting bored – but didn’t see it happening at all. The target age range is children ages 1 to 6, but there were plenty of older kids there, too. The interactive show is different because the kids are actually encouraged to get up and rock out. And boy did they.
So there you go – I guess I can tell you how to get, how to get to Sesame Street … Just head down to Buffalo’s Theater District Thursday through Sunday.
What: "Sesame Street Live: Let’s Dance!"
Where: Shea’s Performing Arts Center: 646 Main St.
Show times: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 and 26, 10:30 a.m., 2 and 5:30 p.m. Feb 27, and 1 and 4 p.m. Feb. 28.