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, JoJo 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.