By Iuliana Petre

Fort Hood Herald

Sunny days were sweeping the clouds away last week as thousands of children enjoyed a very special Sesame Street live performance.

The 25-minute, mini-show featured the characters of Rosita, Zoey, Cookie Monster, Grover and Elmo and was directed at children who have experienced a parents’ departure as a result of a deployment.

The first performance at Fort Hood was last Wednesday at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center, followed by a second performance at 7 p.m.

Two more performances took place Thursday.

Performances were free of charge for all military families. Children showed up in droves, also collecting free DVDs, stickers and other fun, informative Sesame Street products geared at helping children deal with deployments.

The show, created by a partnership team from the Sesame Street Workshop and the United Services Organization, is putting on the same performance at 43 military installations across the United States in order to teach kids the importance of expressing all kinds of emotions, especially sadness caused by deploying parents.

“We’re using the characters to communicate with kids,” said Peter Van Roden, vice president of Themed Entertainment.

Van Roden, who handles all of the shows that involve “characters hitting the road,” said the Sesame Street performance has been hugely successful with the Defense Department.

The show’s creators had no idea how many people would attend the event or if it would even gain public interest.

It turned out that so many people were drawn to the performance and the message, that shows had to be added to the tour because performances were growing over capacity.

“That’s a really good problem to have,” Van Roden said.

The live performance is the second phase in the Talk, Listen, Connect outreach program produced to help families get the dialogue going with their children about deployments.

Contact Iuliana Petre at or (254) 501-7469.

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