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Want to find sunny days and chase the clouds away? Look no further than W42nd Street, where a brand-new Sesame Street musical will open Off-Broadway this fall. 

The beloved 53-year old children’s educational series will begin previews at Theater Row in Hell’s Kitchen this September, in a production promising the appearance of classic Sesame Street puppets like Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch  as well as special guest performances from Broadway actors.

“As the world begins to open up, families and fans are looking forward to live, high-quality in-person experiences with their favorite brands, and Sesame Workshop is answering the call with the expansion of our themed entertainment offerings,” said Jennifer Ahearn, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Themed Entertainment in a press statement. “With its critically-acclaimed productions and keen eye for presenting beloved stories, we’re thrilled to collaborate with Rockefeller Productions on a stage show that will have the young and young-at-heart singing, dancing, and celebrating with their Sesame Street friends.” 

Hailed as a trail-blazing, inclusive show that addresses both educational concepts and complicated real-world issues with nuance and care, Sesame Street has a deep New York connection. The first children’s show of its kind to be set in an urban environment, its iconic brownstone stoops were designed as an amalgamation of New York City streets incorporating elements of all five boroughs. 

Originally filmed at Teletape Studios on W81st Street and Broadway, the show actually filmed in Hell’s Kitchen on 9th Avenue and W55th Street at the late Studio 55 (now Alvin Ailey) before finding its permanent production home at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens. Over its decades-long tenure, the production has employed thousands of New Yorkers, including some Hell’s Kitchen locals like Stacey Weingarten. And in 2019, the city commemorated the intersection of W63rd Street and Broadway with a permanent “Sesame Street” sign, in honor of the ground-breaking show’s 50th anniversary and its many accolades — over 150 Emmy Awards to date! 

The show is being developed and produced by Jonathan Rockefeller, a film and theater director and producer of family-driven entertainment whose new adaptation of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh also opens at Theater Row this weekend.  Rockefeller is no stranger to Theater Row, having produced The Very Hungry Caterpillar there in 2016.

 “We are so honored and proud to partner with Sesame Workshop to bring Sesame Street’s first original Off-Broadway musical, along with its iconic characters, to the stage,” said Rockefeller. “We believe it will be a production for children and fans of ALL ages to embrace and enjoy.” 

Jonathan Rockefeller brought The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Theater Row in 2016. Photo: Nacho Guevara

Sesame Street begins performances September 8 and runs through November 27 at 410 W42nd Street (between 9th and 10th Avenue). 

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