Elmo and Cookie Monster are reaching out to young children confused at being stuck at home during the coronavirus epidemic with a special "Sesame Street" episode airing next week.
"Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and actors Anne Hathaway and Tracee Ellis Ross will be celebrity guests in the 30-minute "Sesame Street: Elmo's Playdate" that is aimed at entertaining kids and their families during uncertain times, broadcaster WarnerMedia and Sesame Workshop said on Wednesday.
"We hope 'Sesame Street: Elmo's Playdate' will entertain and delight families at a moment when so many are feeling isolated and overwhelmed by current events," said Steve Youngwood, president of Sesame Workshop.
The April 14 show, in a video conferencing style that has become familiar due to coronavirus social distancing and quarantine restrictions, will air on HBO, PBS Kids and other WarnerMedia television channels. It will be broadcast in Australia, Canada and the UK at a later date.
In the show, Muppets Elmo, Grover, Cookie Monster and the magical Abby Cadabby will find new ways to play and learn together through songs, games and silly dance breaks.
Miranda will sing a few rounds of "Old McDonald Had a Farm," Ross will play a game of "Elmo Says," and Hathaway and Elmo get moving with "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes."
Schools and daycare centers have been closed across much of the United States for several weeks, leaving parents and family members in the role of teachers while simultaneously working in essential industries, or from home.
The makers of Sesame Street have also launched a Caring for Each Other initiative aimed at helping parents to provide comfort and manage anxiety during the epidemic.