Elmo, A Capitol Fourth
A Fourth of July television tradition continues tonight on PBS with A Capitol Fourth
(check tvguide.com listings
), the annual fireworks and music celebration broadcast from Washington. Host Jason Alexander
will welcome Stevie Wonder
, JoDee Messina
, Michael Bolton
and the National Symphony Orchestra
, and there will also be a special appearance by Elmo
, who will take the Sesame Street
shuttle down to D.C. to sing with his good friend (and cinematic costar) Vanessa Williams
. We caught up with Elmo during a recent rehearsal, as he was practicing singing "Happy Birthday."
TVGuide.com: Elmo, it's nice to talk to you and your goldfish, Dorothy.
Elmo: Ha! Ha! Thank you.
TVGuide.com: Does the number 230 mean something special to you?
Elmo: That's too high for Elmo!
TVGuide.com: Right, it's much higher than you can count. But it's the number that describes which birthday this will be for the United States.
Elmo: Wow! That's a lot!
TVGuide.com: And this year, you are going to be at the biggest birthday party for America.
Elmo: Elmo can't wait!
TVGuide.com: You'll be on stage singing with Vanessa Williams in Washington. Ever been there before?
Elmo: Oh, yeah. Elmo's been to the White House. I met the president and the first lady, too.
TVGuide.com: I know you know your colors, so I can ask you this: Is their house really white? Or off-white?
Elmo: It is white, and it's really, really big.
TVGuide.com: Did you get to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom?
Elmo: No, but that would have been fun.
TVGuide.com: The pillows are stuffed with feathers. Not from Big Bird. Lady Byrd, maybe. Or Dan Quayle. But I'm just being silly.
Elmo: You are!
TVGuide.com: You and Vanessa were in a major motion picture together, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. What's it like working with a pop diva and movie star?
Elmo: Elmo loves being around her. She's so pretty, and she gives Elmo great big hugs.
TVGuide.com: Is it true that Oscar the Grouch screened Grouchland at his Can Film Festival?
Elmo: Ha! Ha! There's no such thing.
TVGuide.com: Just being silly again. Any hope there will be a sequel, like "Elmo in Grouchland: The Final Reckoning?"
Elmo: No, but there may be an Elmo's World movie. That would be fun.
TVGuide.com: Good luck with that. You know, for a 2-year-old, you have a beautiful singing voice.
TVGuide.com: Yes! Have you had singing lessons?
Elmo: No. Elmo just loves to sing. Elmo feels the music.
TVGuide.com: Right down to your red soul. Hey, that makes it soul music. Are you planning a duet with Vanessa?
Elmo: Yes, we'll sing together. And Elmo will sing "In Your Imagination" and "Happy Birthday," hopefully with the help of everybody there.
TVGuide.com: And everybody listening at home. Say, would you say hi to Hoots the Owl for me? He's my favorite Sesame Street musician.
Elmo: Hoots plays the saxophone really well.
TVGuide.com: Is he from New Orleans?
Elmo: Actually, he was born in Harlem and used to fly over to Birdland to listen to the music. That's where he learned everything.
TVGuide.com: You're a jazz fan?
Elmo: Elmo loves jazz and the blues.
TVGuide.com: I'm wondering if Cookie Monster and Grover love the blues, since that's their signature color, so to speak.
Elmo: Ha! Ha! You'll have to ask them.
Read on for our Insider interview with Elmo's duet partner, Vanessa Williams.