There’s a new Muppet in town.
“Sesame Street Live” returns to The Theater at MSG on Thursday with its show “Make A New Friend,” and a friend of Grover’s is visiting from a faraway land.
“Her name is Chamki and she’s actually coming in from India,” says Rachel Dresner, performance director of the show. “And she’s a real character in the ‘Sesame Street’ show in India called ‘Galli Galli Sim Sim.’ We’re introducing her at our American stage performances and she’s Grover’s friend who’s coming to Sesame Street for just a day.”
With Chamki’s visit, viewers will get an opportunity to experience her culture and language.
amNewYork spoke with Dresner, 26, about the show.
How does the show introduce Indian culture?
It’s our first show that incorporates a cultural aspect to it and the show itself is about inclusion, which is the main message — knowing that somebody may be from another culture or might speak a different language, but everybody can play together whether you’re new or old friends. I think that’s the biggest thing that kind of ties into the melting pot that is New York, knowing that everybody is different, but we can still be friends and get along and play together.
How do children take to that lesson?
It’s really cool being able to see the kids’ perspective, watching the kids see the show. They don’t realize they’re learning these messages. We do teach the typical “Sesame Street” lessons — ABCs, sharing cookies, stuff like that. But they also don’t realize that they’re learning about a different culture, which is really cool. In our show, we have a number where Rosita, who is our Spanish-speaking Muppet, teaches everybody Spanish while Chamki teaches them Hindi.
Kids are pretty easily distracted. How do you deal with short attention spans?
It’s all about the flash value. We are a Broadway-quality production, so we do have a lot of big lighting effects, some surprises through the show, so I think it’s that, along with the song and dance, that keep kids engaged. There’s a lot of songs that kids will know, whether they’re 2 years old or 14 years old. ... What’s also really cool is the older generation, the parents and grandparents, there’s something in the show for them as well. We have the classic “Sesame Street” theme song as well as the characters that they grew up watching.
What do you want people to get out of the show?
With any “Sesame Street” [show], any educational factor is what they’re going for, whether it be they’re teaching how to read, teaching how to share things, in our case, teaching how to include everybody. The thing that we want them to come out with is something that they didn’t come in with when they walk into the show. It’s a very big answer, but there’s so many things that these kids can learn in these 90 minutes. ... The main thing that we want is that the kids learn something.