Saturday June 2, 2012
Bringing Sesame Street to Singapore
By LYDIA VASKO
Latest draw at Universal Studios Singapore – Sesame Street stars.
THAT perennial kids’ question, “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”, has a new answer today: Universal Studios Singapore. Now, which way to breakfast and the new ride?
Last Monday, popular characters from the long-running American children’s television show arrived as a new attraction at the theme park. Later, fans can even cosy up to Big Bird and friends over a breakfast buffet when it is launched in the third quarter this year.
The character breakfast will be available from 9am to 10.30am on select weekends and public holidays at the theme park’s Loui’s Pizza restaurant. Guests will be able to mingle and take pictures with the characters.
Details on the price and dates of the breakfast buffet will be announced after its launch.
For now, watch out for the eight iconic Sesame Street inhabitants – Big Bird, Elmo, Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Grover and Abby Caddaby – as they present three street shows, up to three times daily, as part of the park’s efforts to increase its family appeal.
The shows, which range from seven to 12 minutes long, feature the characters’ favourite things, Elmo’s dreams of what he wants to be when he grows up, and an interactive dance show with Bert and Ernie, which will be performed on New York Street inside the theme park.
While the shows are included in the park entrance fee, the character breakfast has to be reserved and purchased separately online or at the park’s ticketing booth.
A Sesame Street attraction had been in Universal Studios Singapore’s original plans, but was sidelined in favour of attractions “with more marketing muscle”, says the theme park’s executive designer Kevin Barbee.
But entertainment for families is really what keeps people coming back, he says.
So while the characters adjust to their new home, theme park crew is busy preparing a new Sesame Street ride, slated to open later this year.
The ride will be the only customised Sesame Street ride in the world, developed as a joint venture between Universal Studios Singapore and the Sesame Workshop.
“The ride takes the mould of a Sesame Street story where you will go on a journey with Elmo,” says Barbee.
Sesame Street, a children’s edu-tainment TV show, first premiered in the United States in 1969. Content for TV and live shows, such as the ones at Universal Studios, comes from the Sesame Workshop, a non-profit educational organisation which produces the Sesame Street programmes seen in more than 150 countries.
Sesame Street is re-evaluated and programmes are updated every year according to local children’s needs and curriculums.
“We’re a very unique company in terms of approach,” says Peter van Roden, vice-president of themed entertainment at Sesame Workshop.
“This is a show that is taken apart and put back together every year. Even though it’s been around for 40 years, there is nothing precious. Every year, we think about the current educational and social needs of kids,” he adds.
Parents, too, appreciate watching the show, thanks to regular jokes, pop culture parodies and appearances by celebrity guests such as Cameron Diaz and Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, which have been written into the show over the years.
Sesame Street’s multi-generational appeal is part of its charm. “I’ve seen everyone from a small child to an adult light up when they get to hug Elmo,” says van Roden. “The physical interaction with their favourite characters is magical.” – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network