World Premiere of Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!
Buckle Up, My Buddy Bert! -- For the first time ever, the lifelong friendship between Sesame Workshop’s Bert & Ernie characters comes to life in the World Premiere of “Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!” at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
It’s Bert and Ernie as you’ve never seen them before. Inspired by Sesame Street’s iconic characters, Minneapolis-based Children’s Theatre Company (CTC), along with Sesame Workshop and VEE Corporation, is set to introduce audiences to an entirely new theatrical experience featuring two of Sesame’s most loved characters, in “Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!”
In an interview with Reed Sigmund and Bradley Greenwald, CTC’s local “Ernie” and “Bert”, we learn more about these endearing characters and the very real characters behind the stage production.
WE: Bert & Ernie are such well-loved, and recognized characters. What has your experience playing these roles been like?
Reed (Ernie): The original Sesame Street writers did such a terrific job with the early shorts and the playwright for this production, Barry Kornhauser, created a really amazing script, so it’s been a great experience to play these characters. And, of course, I grew up watching Sesame Street. I love Ernie’s character. He’s exuberant and innocent and really cares so much for his old buddy, Bert.
Bradley (Bert): It’s true. These characters are life-long friends…friends who couldn’t be more different, but still their respect for one another is wonderful.
WE: I imagine the opportunity to work with Sesame Workshop has been exciting. How did this partnership begin?
Reed: Several years ago, CTC produced “A Year with Frog & Toad” based on the series of books. They took it to Broadway, where it was nominated for several Tony Awards. Peter van Roden, a vice president for Sesame Workshop, saw it and contacted CTC about the prospect of creating something similar for the Sesame characters.
WE: “Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!” is a musical? What’s the storyline?
Bradley: “Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!” is a musical comedy. We have student puppeteers, who actually went through “puppet boot camp” to prepare for their roles as “tap-dancing sheep.” The puppet consultant we’ve worked with, Eric Van Wyk, is extremely talented. He’ll also be working with CTC for the holiday show, “Cinderella.”
Reed: The show features so many of the great skits we all remember from Sesame Street, but the new element – the never before seen as real-life characters – adds a new dimension to the show. And, usually on Sesame Street, you only see tiny windows of time into Bert and Ernie’s life. With the stage production, you get a full 75 minutes that revolve around one simple premise: Bert wants desperately to go to sleep and Ernie cannot contain his enthusiasm for life – can’t miss out on one tiny moment.
WE: What is your favorite part of playing these timeless characters?
Bradley: My favorite line is when Ernie says “Oh, I guess Bert’s gone to sleep in the kitchen – again.”
Reed: The whole experience has been fantastic. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to take material that everyone knows and loves and extend it, to create something new. And, to have the opportunity to do it within CTC, with a group of really talented and passionate professionals, continues to be an amazing experience for me. Oh, and, for the first time ever, they let me play a musical instrument. There’s a scene where I get distracted and manage to get my hands on a drum set. Bert really enjoys my company then.
Bradley: Except Bert cannot get mad at Ernie. He gets frustrated and irritated but Ernie is so innocent and Bert really is a good friend to Ernie, so he never loses his temper. He comes close, but he just never crosses that line.
WE: It’s seems like it’s been a great experience...
Reed: This is an opportunity to spend time with their children, laughing and enjoying a really fantastic piece of comedy…live on stage. What can be better than that? Right buddy, Bert?
In addition to “Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!,” CTC’s 2009-2010 season includes: nationally recognized “The Mayhem Poets,” a panto-style “Cinderella,” “Mr. McGee & the Biting Flea,” “According to Coyote,” “Iron Ring,” Disney’s “Mulan, Jr.” and “The Biggest Little House in the Forest.”
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Full performance schedule follows
The Children’s Theatre Company “Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!”
Tickets: (612) 874-0400 or www.childrenstheatre.org
Tue Sept 8 7:00pm preview
Wed Sept 9 7:00pm preview
Thu Sept 10 7:00pm preview
Fri Sept 11 7:30pm World Premiere/Curtain Call Ball
Sat Sept 12 2:00 & 7:30pm public opening of World Premiere
Sun Sept 13 2:00 & 5:00pm
Thu Sept 17 7:00pm
Fri Sept 18 7:30pm
Sat Sept 19 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sun Sept 20 2:00pm & 5:00pm
Wed Sept 23 7:00pm
Thu Sept 24 7:00pm
Sat Sept 26 11:00am & 2:00pm
Sun Sept 27 2:00 & 5:00pm
Wed Sept 30 7:00pm
Fri Oct 2 7:30pm
Sat Oct 3 2:00 & 7:30pm
Sun Oct 4 2:00 & 5:00pm
Thu Oct 8 7:00pm
Fri Oct 9 7:30pm (ASL/AD performance)
Sat Oct 10 11:00am & 2:00pm
Sun Oct 11 2:00 & 5:00pm
Thu Oct 15 2:00 & 7:00pm
Fri Oct 16 7:30pm
Sat Oct 17 11:00am & 2:00pm
Sun Oct 18 2:00 & 5:00pm
Thu Oct 22 7:00pm
Fri Oct 23 7:30pm
Sat Oct 24 11:00am & 2:00pm
Sun Oct 25 2:00 & 5:00pm