By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 26, 2009 at 9:17 AM

Although I had never pictured myself at a "Sesame Street Live" performance, I'm now a veteran of two and soon three shows. That makes me one of more than 50 million people who have witnessed these great characters on stage.

Elmo and his friends celebrate 30 years on stage this year by undertaking their 100th tour. When they stop at the Bradley Center this weekend, I'll be there and I will have a great time.

How do I know? Because I loved my first two performances over the past couple years. The shows thrum with action, music and humor, and watching the kids around you have such a great time is infectious.

"1-2-3 Imagine! with Elmo & Friends" runs at the B.C. from Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Nov. 29, and there are still tickets available for all six performances. Show times are 2 and 7 p.m. Friday; 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

What I like most about these shows is that in addition to providing a fun and lively spectacle, they present good lessons for kids -- just as you'd expect from a "Sesame Street"-related production.

Last year, "Elmo's Green Thumb" taught Milwaukee's kids the basics of gardening and how plants use sunlight, water and nutrients from the soil to grow. In our house, the result was one young person's desire to plant sunflowers last summer. Ours didn't grow as robustly as Elmo's, but it was still a lot of fun.

This year, "1-2-3 Imagine!" opens with Sam the mail carrier bringing special postcards from around the world. Sam then teaches Elmo, Big Bird, Abby Cadabby and the other "Sesame Street" characters how to use their imaginations to travel to these exotic places

This should get my son fired up, because he already loves to look at cards featuring exotic destinations, such as Easter Island. Maybe the stars will align and exotic travel will be in this summer's plans.

While Elmo's imagination leads him to dancing in the African rainforest, Ernie -- unsurprisingly -- hits the high seas as captain of the Good Ship Rubber Duckie.

Titles of the two dozen songs in the show offer clues to some other adventures: "Yellow Bird Hula," "I Don't Want to Live On the Moon," "Surfin' Safari" and "Dance With the Bears."

While going on exciting adventures with these familiar characters, kids learn to spark their imaginations.

The shows are presented by the VEE Corp., a Sesame Foundation licensee, and have been staged on five continents.

"VEE Corporation is thrilled to bring 'Sesame Street Live' back to the Bradley Center to continue the tradition of entertaining children, families and caregivers," says VEE spokesperson Jennifer Andreasen. "As 'Sesame Street Live' celebrates 30 years on the road, we look forward to bringing many more 'sunny days' to Milwaukee." 

Tickets for the shows are $14, $17 and $22. On Friday, all seats are $13. There are also $30 Gold Seats and $55 Sunny Seat VIP packages for the Friday and Sunday performances (these are not $13 on Friday, of course). The Sunny Seats come with a show program and a pre-show meet-and-greet photo op with Elmo.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in an episode of TV's "Party of Five," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.