It has been 25 years since Elmo from Sesame Street first appeared on screen. The lovable red furry monster is coming to Indonesia this June. (Photo courtesy of Rodeus Live & Carleon)

Easy as ABC With TVs Best Loved Muppets

BY :LINDA MARTINA

JUNE 12, 2015

The loveable red furry monster is coming to Indonesia this June. Children and adults alike know him by the name of Elmo. It has been 25 years since Elmo first appeared on screen and he still captures hearts today.

Elmo is not alone. He entertains and educates children around the world, together with a bunch of other cute monsters: Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Super Grover and Abby Cadabby in everyone’s favorite TV show “Sesame Street.”

Parents tend to prefer sending their children to fun educational programs, so Elmo and friends are on their way to success in their first visit to Indonesia. Using music and games, the Muppets are famous for teaching children about the alphabets and numbers. 

Learning methods can be different for children, but most will enjoy the fun yet educational session. Learning sessions with study aids such as hand-puppets or drawing books can be an enjoyable alternative compared to the usual textbooks.  

A recent study conducted by Melissa Kearney, an economist at Wellesley College Phillip Levine and University of Maryland, showed that Sesame Street may be the reason behind a boost in academic performance for children in the US, primarily those who come from low income families. 

Indonesia also has well-known puppets, such as Si Unyil and Si Komo. Both are also used to provide families with edutainment. Si Unyil, first premiered on a state-owned TV company in April 1981 and was filled with stories of patriotism and nationalism. Indonesia folk tales and fables were also keen topics.       

Unyil’s creator Suyadi wrote for UNICEF that “Indonesia has a long history of puppetry, and most puppets have been presented in a stylized and decorative way. Si Unyil is designed to communicate with modern Indonesia children.” And although Si Unyil has since faded from Indonesia’s TV screens, the characters last. 

Even until today many of its scenes and characters are still in the hearts and heads of Indonesians. "Pak Ogah," for example, became part of Indonesia's vocabulary to signify rejecting a request from someone. 

Despite being created as a theatrical character, Si Unyil never had a chance to perform on stage. It is Papermoon Puppet Theater created by young theater artists Maria Tri Sulistyanti and Iwan Effendi which raised international acclaim for their dark historical performances.

Unfortunately, the contents of their puppetry are not suitable for children.

To coincide with the long school holiday, promotor Rodeus Live & Caerleon invited Sesame Workshop to perform a Broadway musical performance of Sesame Street Live “Elmo Makes Music” in Indonesia. 

“Sesame Street is a very educational and entertaining program for all walks of life. We are very proud to be able to present them in Jakarta for all their fans in Indonesia,” says Angel Paokie, project manager at Rodeus Live & Caerleon.

“We believe that many Indonesian are looking forward to watching the show.” 

Everything starts with how Abby Cadabby loves to sing songs. She has an idea to start a new band in Sesame Street and soon after, the not-so-little monsters are busy trying to find musical instruments from all the things around them: bowls and spoons, garbage bins and even a cookie jar. 

What do Elmo and friends have to share with Indonesian children by creating a group band? They want to teach them about patience, willingness and teamwork. 

There will be more than two dozen songs played on stage. Sing along with the muppets as they sing children’s favorite playlist, including “The Hustle,” “You Should Be Dancing,” “Rockin’Robin,” “C is for Cookie” and “Alphabet Song.” 

The production started on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 and will play until Saturday, 13 June 2015 in The Kasablanka Hall & Convention Center. 

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