Being Elmo | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Being Elmo

Behind the scenes with the man who gives life to the popular Muppet

It's been a big year for Muppet fans, what with a hit movie and an Oscar nomination. But then life has always been sunny for the furry hand-held gang from Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. These puppets are such an integral part of our lives that we've long forgotten they're simply stitched-together bits of fake fur. Constance Marks and Philip Shane's documentary goes "behind the puppet" to tell the story of Kevin Clash, the relatively unknown man who brings the world-famous Elmo to life. It's a short (70 minutes) but sweet story that recaps the creation of Jim Henson's creatures, their huge success and the remarkable journey of the puppet-loving kid from working-class Baltimore who grew up to "be" Elmo. As with most successful entertainment, the professionals make it look effortless. But Being Elmo shows us that giving a puppet life is anything but; it's doesn't just take a deft hand and vocal skills, but an emotional connection to the audience, even through big, silly sewed-on felt eyes. Fri., Feb. 3, through Sun., Feb. 5. Regent Square

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