'Sesame Street Live' star: 'You know you made that child's day'
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"Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music"
By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
The audience at Sesame Street Live won't be the only ones watching the show intently. So will the young woman in the fuzzy orange mask.
Performer Crystal Meyer has spent the past three years wearing the yellow-orange fur suit of Zoe, the rambunctious wannabe ballerina in Elmo Makes Music, which returns to Amarillo for performances at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Auditorium, 401 S. Buchanan St. Tickets are $17 to $62, plus fees.
But Zoe isn't Meyer's sole responsibility: She's an understudy for six other characters — Abby Cadabby, Ernie, Baby Bear, Grover, Rosita and the star of the show himself, Elmo.
Meyer has had to do a quick change in the wings in the middle of the show when other performers have to step out of the high-energy show.
"They get me into a character, and I go on without missing a beat," Meyer said.
It's not as simple as that makes it sound, though.
"I do a lot of studying. I have a lot of it all written out; I have a whole book of all the formations, the numbers, entrances and exits," she said. "By the time you do it multiple times, you have it memorized. It becomes a natural thing for me.
"But I'm still studying and always watching from the wings or watching on stage."
As Meyer knows and Amarillo audiences soon will, Elmo Makes Music finds the titular red monster and his friends welcoming a new music teacher to the street. But after she arrives, her instruments all go missing.
"So they try to discover new instruments so she can teach them music," Meyer said. "They learn you can make music with spoons, with trash cans, even a rubber duckie."
The show incorporates plenty of audience interaction, and the atmosphere is like a rock concert for the barely-walking set.
"It's amazing," Meyer said of the atmosphere. "The kids come up and give a high five, their face lights up and they run back to their parents. ... You have little girls running down the aisle screaming 'Zoe! Zoe!,' and when you're giving her a hug, you know you made that child's day."
Meyer, who grew up watching Sesame Street, trained in ballet before moving to New York and auditioning for the Sesame Workshop tours. She's still a fan of the show, which airs at 9:30 a.m. and noon Mondays through Fridays an 6 a.m. Sundays on Panhandle PBS, as well as at 1:30, 2, 9:30 and 10 p.m. daily on our new PBS Kids 24/7 channel.
"It's educational. It's entertaining," Meyer said. "I still watch Sesame Street to make sure I get her mannerisms down."
But don't ask her to name a favorite denizen of the street.
"Oh my gosh, I love playing them all," she said. "The (roles) are all so different and unique, so it's always fun. I always find a new way to play them ... (and) it keeps it fresh for me. There's never a dull moment."
(NOTE: Head to our Facebook page by 4 p.m. Friday to enter a chance to win a family four-pack to the show.)