The Award-Winning Muppets® from Sesame Street® and Broadway Star Santino Fontana Join Mormon Tabernacle Choir for Annual Christmas Concert
Everybody's favorite fun and furry friends from Sesame Street® will join Broadway star Santino Fontana and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square for a magical holiday concert to be broadcast nationwide on PBS this holiday season. Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir featuring Santino Fontana and The Muppets® from Sesame Street® premieres Monday November 30 at 7:00 p.m. on KUED. It also airs December 21 at 8:00 p.m. and December 24 at 7:00 p.m.
“Joining Santino’s talents with the residents of Sesame Street will bring the childlike wonder of Christmas into our hearts and remind us of the true meaning of the season,” says Ron Jarrett, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, noting that this year’s concert is going to be unlike any other.
Sesame Street have been entertaining the world for over 45 years, but this concert marks their first performance with the Choir. The concert includes a rendition of the classic Sesame Street carol “Keep Christmas With You,” "Sing a Christmas Carol" from Scrooge, "The Candy Man," a charming medley of songs from the Sesame Street television program, including a song with Big Bird conducting the orchestra, plus reverent and inspiring arrangements of sacred Christmas music.
Fontana and The Muppets from Sesame Street share the stage with 370 choir members, 102 Orchestra at Temple Square players, 36 ringers in the Bells on Temple square, three organists, two conductors and 100 child dancers. Songs in the program include “Sing a Christmas Carol,” “Keep Christmas With You,” “The Candy Man,” “Merry, Merry Christmas,” and more.
“I really appreciated the artistry of the Muppets® from Sesame Street®,” says KUED producer John Howe. “This year’s concert has some very emotional segments.”
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, which reaches 156 million children across more than 150 countries with lessons that help them grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. Sesame Street launched its 45th anniversary season this year on PBS KIDS and has been nominated for 28 Primetime Emmys and has won eight. Sesame Street also holds the record for most Daytime Emmy Awards, with 159, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award in its 40th year.
“Music has been a part of the fabric of Sesame Street since the very beginning,” says Carol-Lynn Parente, senior vice president of content and executive producer of Sesame Street. “We are thrilled to be a part of this annual PBS holiday tradition and excited to sing with the world-renowned choir.”
Santino Fontana is known by many for his recent roles playing Prince Hans in Disney’s hit movie Frozen and his Broadway performance as Prince Topher in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, which garnered him a Tony Award nomination. He also received accolades for originating the role of Tony in the Broadway production of Billy Elliot. He is a graduate of the esteemed University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theatre Bachelor of Fine Arts Actor Training Program, where he played the title role in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Guthrie Theatre at age 23.
Fontana said, "I'm thrilled to get to sing with the amazing Mack Wilberg and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir again, and to share the stage with my childhood heroes,” said Fontana.
The Grammy Award-winning, all-volunteer Mormon Tabernacle Choir is made up of 360 men and women who join their talents to create their trademark, instantly recognizable sound. They are accompanied by the Orchestra at Temple Square, a 150-member symphony that is likewise all-volunteer. Their world-famous sound is under the direction of music director Mack Wilberg and associate music director Ryan Murphy.
Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir featuring Santino Fontana and The Muppets® from Sesame Street® is funded by: Ronald C. and Kaye Gunnell, George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Cleone Peterson Eccles Endowment Fund, Charles and Janet Stoddard Foundation, Alan and Jeanne Hall Foundation, and the contributing members of KUED.