Elyse Blunt loves her job. After all, several nights a week she entertains thousands of kids and, OK, their parents, portraying Elmo in Elmo Makes Music.
Performances of the show come to the Mesa Arts Center at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 3, and Thursday, May 4. Elmo plays a central role in the performance. When the new music teacher’s instruments go missing, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and others come to the rescue and discover instruments they never knew existed.
“We think of creative ways to make music with ‘instruments’ like cookie jars, spoons and bottles,” Blunt says. “The audience claps their hands, stomps their feet and sings along with us.”
Blunt says she can pull off her role because she’s a “goofball.” Ernie was a childhood love, and she’s been taking dance lessons since she was 11. Those things rolled into one have gotten her far. After graduating from high school, she eschewed college to work at Busch Gardens in her hometown of Williamsburg, Virginia. When the park opened a Sesame Street area, and she exceled at her job, one of her managers took her to a Sesame Street Live audition. He had previously worked for the parent company, VStar Entertainment Group.
Blunt has since starred in 1-2-3 Imagine with Elmo & Friends, Can’t Stop Singing, Let’s Dance and Make a New Friend. When she’s not rehearsing, or prepping in the green room, the 15-year veteran of dance and the stage loves to catch a concert, work on her technique in the studio, or spend time with friends.
Her days are hectic. She performs in two cities per week, with rehearsals on the first day at each venue
“We will also check out the venue and see what’s different about it from the last city,” she says. “Then we do warmups and get ready for the show. We’ll have a meet and greet before that, if we’re assigned that that day.”
She loves to watch the reactions of fans to her.
“Watching the kids’ reactions are just great,” Blunt says. “My favorite part is when we reveal our surprise to the teacher.”
Although she preferred Ernie when she was young, she sees Elmo as her soulmate.
“He’s a goofball and a class clown, too,” she says with a laugh. “I can kind of relate to that. I’m definitely a child at heart. I watch videos of Elmo all the time. I’m playful and I like to use that, too.”
Elmo Makes Music! Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main Street, Mesa, 480.644.6500, mesaartscenter.com, 6:30 pm. Wednesday, May 3, and Thursday, May 4, $20-$65.