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Red Elmo gets a green thumb

When Elmo and his friends shrink until they are as small as ants, blades of grass seem like a forest to them in ‘Elmo’s Green Thumb.’

Can a furry guy who appears thoroughly red turn out to have a green thumb?

He can if he’s Elmo.

The Sesame Street Live production of “Elmo’s Green Thumb” shows the friendly Muppet and his buddies learning how plants grow.

Thanks to a magic spell that goes awry and makes the whole gang shrink, they have a bug’s-eye view of the process.

“We end up getting a different perspective on gardens,” said Laura Gillespie, who portrays “spunky, girly fairy-in-training” Abby Cadabby in the musical adventure this weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township.

“We meet some ladybugs and a giant beetle, and we get to play with really giant flowers and we dance around some giant mushrooms and giant blades of grass,” Gillespie said.

The story begins with Elmo realizing his new friend, Sunny the Sunflower, is too big for her flower pot. After she’s transplanted into Big Bird’s garden, Abby Cadabby tries to help her grow more quickly with a magic spell.

But Abby isn’t a real magic fairy yet. “She’s a 3-year-old,” Gillespie said. “She’s just a baby.”

So her spell doesn’t turn out quite the way she expected – unless helping a young audience learn about nature was Sesame Street Live’s intention all along.

“I think this show does a great job of teaching kids about the environment and conserving,” Gillespie said. “We talk about saving water and looking at the soil and taking care of Mother Nature

“Big Bird and Cookie Monster have their own number where they sing and dance, and the whole time they talk about conserving water and the ways we use water and how you should always turn the faucet off.”

Gillespie, 22, watched “Sesame Street” as a child growing up in Levittown. “I always loved Grover because he traveled around the world as Super Grover and I liked Bert and Ernie, too. I liked the friendship they have and all their funny quirks – like Bert collects bottle caps and likes pigeons, which are two very strange things.”

The singer/dancer, who intends to complete her senior year of college studies in anthropology and communications when her Sesame Street Live run is over, didn’t grow up with a garden but hopes to have one someday.

“When I get my own place I would love to have a little vegetable garden. Maybe I’ll have a little sunflower.”

If you go

What: ‘Elmo’s Green Thumb,’ a Sesame Street Live musical adventure

When: 7 tonight, 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Wilkes-Barre Township.

Tickets: $22, $17, $13 with limited Sunny Seats, $55, and Gold Circle, $28

More info: 800-745-3000

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