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Sesame Street characters dance their way to Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Northwest Guardian

Published: 11:00PM July 24th, 2014

Parents were spinning, dancing and jumping almost as much as their children July 18 and 19, during the United Service Organization’s Sesame Street Experience for Military Families on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“I love the way that — even at my age — as far as I knew they were real,” said Denise Best, who attended the show with her grandchildren. “And my 7-month-old grandson was fascinated.”

JBLM was the 37th stop on the show’s tour of military installations since April, with four shows in two days at Evergreen Theater on Lewis Main.

“I like to think of the show as a live singing and dancing thank you card that we get to hand deliver,” said Nicole McClendon, manager of the tour.

Before the start of the free

show, the line was out the door with service members and their families waiting to take their seats — and then jump out of them when the singing and dancing began.

The Muppets boogied for 30 minutes and focused on the topic of frequent military moves, using their character Katie, a “military child” created specially for the show in 2011, to help children relate.

A few songs into the performance, Katie was introduced and announced she would be moving with her family again. The crowd went quiet and childrens’ smiles faded as the Muppets sang a sad song.

By the end of the show, however, the Muppets helped Katie through the hard time.

They let her know, through song, that her friends would always be there for her and that she will always meet new friends — returning smiles to the crowd.

“The moving stuff is great,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Priscella Pettus. “My oldest is on his third move, so we loved the show.”

The show talks about military life changes, such as moves, McClendon said.

“This is the second version of the show,” McClendon said. “In 2008 (when the show began), we were focused more on deployments.”

At the end of the show, the

“kiddy blockade” was removed from in front of the stage allowing for a “Muppet mosh pit.” Children and parents got as close as they could to dance through one last song, and take their finale photos before the “gang” made their leave.

The show’s next stop was Travis Air Force Base, Calif., Wednesday. The crew will visit a total of 69 bases by late October.

To find out about the show and their upcoming performances, visit USO.org/Sesame.

Danielle Gregory: Danielle.Gregory@nwguardian,com