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Audra McDonald Set for SESAME STREETS 'Elmo the Musical'

The New York Times reports that viewers of SESAME STREET will get their first look at 'Elmo the Musical,' a brand new segment on the long-running children's educational program. The show will be returning for its 43rd season on September 24. 

According to the Times, each 11-minute musical will find Elmo "starring in a stage show of his imagination, with the help of his pal Velvet (a purple curtain played by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, who is also the voice of the Muppet Abby Cadabby). Cavorting in front of animated scenery, Elmo travels the world, conjuring playmates like an about-to-be married penguin in full bridal regalia or a villainous table-tennis-playing octopus."

Joey Mazzarino and his creative team wrote the lyrics for the segments, with the music being commissioned from Broadway orchestrators, including Alex Lacamoire (“In the Heights”). Avenue Q puppeteer John Tartaglia took part in the productions as well. 

Featured in one of the installments will be five-time Tony award winner Audra McDonald who will sing "Keep on Clucking" in the episode titled "Circus the Musical." The segment was filmed just over a day on the show's set in Queens, NY in front of a blue screen, which enables the puppeteers to be digitally erased from the scene.  

Among the other famous personalities who will visit the show this season are theater stars Amy Ryan and David Hyde Pierce. Also on the roster, film stars Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Steve Carell, Zac Efron, Casey Affleck, Paula Patton, and Melissa McCarthy and TV stars Jon Hamm, Eric Stonestreet, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Timothy Olyphant, Maya Rudolph, Ed Helms, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard.

Other big names who will be hanging out with Elmo and friends will be NBA Slam Dunk Champion Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Dodger’s Matt Kemp, Extra’s Mario Lopez, talk show host Wendy Williams, singer Colbie Caillat, rock band Train, rapper/musician Common, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

In addition, the season will see spoofs of NBC's 'The Voice', a 'Downtown Abbey take-off titled “Upside Downton Abbey,” “Eye of the Potato,” a parody of Survivor's “Eye of the Tiger” and “Five By,”a spoof of the song “Drive By” which will be performed by Train, Elmo and The Count.

Photo Credit: Monica Simoes

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