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12 Great Broadway Moments on Sesame Street

Ah, the glorious intersection of the two most storied streets in the world: Broadway and Sesame Street. Now in its 42nd season, Sesame Street has played host to singing, dancing Broadway actors for years. Here are some of our favorite clips.

Sutton Foster and Elmo
Apparently kids are a lot smarter now than when I was a wee child, because I don’t remember learning about levers in school until I was in college. With Sutton Foster and Elmo in my life, I might have gone on to bigger and brighter things, like a career in engineering. Or at least a life where I could haul heavy things up my apartment stairs more easily.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Big Bird

Remember when an awful person tried to make Big Bird change his habitat and leave Sesame Street? Oh no! Well, that awful person was played by Lin-Manuel Miranda. We’re assuming he wasn’t successful and Big Bird stayed put.

Hugh Jackman and Elmo

Even Elmo seems a little flustered by Hugh Jackman’s presence. Here, they talk about concentration — a skill that I seem to lack whenever Hugh Jackman is around.

Savion Glover and Mr. Snuffleupagus

Tony-winning dancer and choreographer Savion Glover spent five seasons on Sesame Street. Here, in an early clip, he teaches Mr. Snuffleupagus how to tap dance.

Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs and Various Allergens

Here, Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs help explain allergies to itchy, sneezing children. They’re a useful thing to know about. My favorite part? The shrimp puppet, who happens to have a French accent.

Liev Shreiber, Naomi Watts and Elmo

Elmo is clearly popular among celebs. Here, he hangs out with Liev Shreiber and Naomi Watts and teaches kids what it means to “exchange” something.

Lillias White and Baby Bear

Lillias White was a regular on Sesame Street for five years, and even won a Daytime Emmy for her role in 1992. Here, she and Baby Bear sing (naturally) about the importance of dealing with anger.

Kristin Chenoweth and Elmo

The amazing thing about Kristin Chenoweth’s appearance? She doesn’t sing a note. She does dress up as a football player, a knight, and a firefighter, which sort of makes up for it. Here is Cheno in a defining role… Ms. Noodle.

Daphne Rubin Vega and Big Bird

Here, Daphne and Big Bird sing a surprisingly terrible (!) song about stuff to do during Quiet Time that, frankly, makes Quiet Time seem pretty boring. In fact, if I was four, I’d rather eat some candy and destroy the house than watch this clip.

Mandy Patinkin with Big Bird and Barkley

Playing a not-at-all-friendly neighborhood policeman named George Patinkin (LOL), he helps Big Bird find obviously-not-lost Barkley. Then they hang out in Big Bird’s nest and Officer George teaches Big Bird how to pronounce his complicated last name. Later, they say some ABCs. This skit is notable because it’s positively interminable and awkward. If your children need to go down for a nap, this would be the clip to play.

Spider-Monster: The Musical, starring Grover

Though it doesn’t contain an actual Broadway star, this Sesame Street spoof of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is worth mentioning for its spot-on boldness, and because it’s actually funny for grownups. Is that ominous female voice supposed to be Julie Taymor? The best part, though, is when the bewildered audience member exclaims, “That’s not flying! You just fell on me!”

Les Matzerables

OK, last one. This clip from Shalom Sesame, an English-language spinoff of Sesame Street designed to teach kids about Judaism, turns Les Miserables into… Les Matzarables. In it, a family loses their matzah, and sings “Matzah in the House.” Har har.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Esther October 18, 2011, 1:52 pm

    Great post! But you left out one of my favorites: James Earl Jones counting to 10! (It’s a solo performance, there aren’t any Sesame Street characters in it. But do you really need anyone else?)


  • Linda October 18, 2011, 2:12 pm

    These are fun, but most are after my time, though I do remember when Savion was a regular. By the way, Spider-Monster stars Grover, not Elmo.
    -your friendly neighborhood fact-checker

  • lucky October 18, 2011, 2:14 pm

    See, the Spidey suit had me fooled! Maybe Grover is really playing Spider-Man on Broadway, too. All fixed. :)

  • Amanda October 18, 2011, 2:26 pm

    Did you really not learn about levers until you were in college? Pulleys and levers?

    I think Mandy Patinkin is like a five seconds from slitting Big Bird’s throat and selling him to Boston Market.

    “You must be patient, sir. It is Bono’s first show ever.”

  • Amanda October 18, 2011, 2:30 pm

    Not on Broadway yet, but relevant because he’s coming this season: Jerry O’Connell teaches Murray the meaning of the word “observe:”

  • Amanda October 18, 2011, 2:31 pm
  • dlevy October 18, 2011, 2:48 pm

    Madeline Kahn made several appearances on Sesame Street, but this one (with Grover) is probably my favorite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsCOTsE4atQ

    The Street has also been good to Rodgers & Hammerstein. To wit:

    Oklahoma: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ9g62YE1N4

    The King and I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pudBqiTKA7U

    Some Enchanted Lunchtime: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmSey_313Ac

  • Sandy October 19, 2011, 8:05 am

    Did you know the boring quiet song was written by Jonathan Larson?

    My favorite parody is ” Pears” sung to the tune of Hair.

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