If you think costumes are cool, try wearing one that weighs 20 pounds for a couple of hours.
Just ask Chelsey Anne Hughes.
She plays the role of Elmo in the Sesame Street Live touring show that makes a Tri-City stop on its national tour Aug. 9-10 in the Windermere Theatre at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
The sprightly Hughes, 23, is a mere 4-foot-10 and weighs about 100 pounds, which means she has to be in tip-top shape to haul that costume across the stage while dancing for more than an hour, she said in a telephone interview with the Herald.
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"That costume is also very warm, besides being heavy, so I eat healthy, get lots of rest and exercise," Hughes said. "But I love performing, and playing the role of Elmo is great fun."
Besides the adorable Elmo, Sesame Street Live: Elmo's Super Heroes, features other favorites from the classic television show, including Zoe, Abby Cadabby, Grover and Telly Monster, as well as Zoe's pet rock, the ever-cool Rocco.
The musical story revolves around Super Grover, who loses his superness, so Elmo and his chums take over the duties of teaching lessons about the importance of good health -- like lots of exercise and good nutrition, sleep and hygiene habits.
Some of the songs featured in the delightful Broadway children's show include Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Splish Splash and Old MacDonald.
Hughes is one of the newer members of the show, having joined the tour in May, she said.
"The kids usually go wild, especially when we go down into the audience and mingle with the kids," she said. "And some kids do act a little terrified at first when we do that because they don't expect us to be so big. But they get over the shyness pretty quick."
Hughes has been performing since she was child. And even though she spent more time outside playing or dancing as a kid, she remembers watching Sesame Street on TV.
"Big Bird was my favorite," she said.
But what she likes best about performing with the Sesame Street show is how much fun it provides for kids while teaching them some important life lessons.
Hughes was born in Wexford, Pa., and started dancing lessons at age 6 and was a professional dancer by age 10, when she landed the role of Young Kim in the classic musical Showboat, which starred Tom Bosley.
"I've loved the stage ever since," Hughes said.
Sesame Street Live: Elmo's Super Heroes will give three performances at the Windermere Theatre at 7 p.m. Aug. 9 and 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 10. Tickets are from $13 to $26 plus service charges. The Sunny Seat special package is $48 and features VIP seating as well as a preshow meet and greet with the cast.
For tickets, go to ticketmaster.com or call the Toyota Center box office at 737-3722. Tickets purchased at the box office avoid service charges.