Arts Performing Arts

Sesame Street Legacies Bring New Show to Tryon

Tryon Fine Arts Center (TFAC) presents Aanika’s Elephants on Friday, July 14, at 1 p.m. and Saturday, July 15, at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., which will make its Broadway debut in 2024, was written by Annie Evans, winner of 13 Emmy Awards for Sesame Street. The story follows a Kenyan girl who befriends and grows up alongside a baby elephant. “It’s a family theatre piece, and we are eager to get kids from all parts of the area to come and see the production,” says Evans. “It’s only an hour long and includes multi-cultural elements with large elephant puppets, live music and plenty of humor.”

Aanika with puppet parts. Photo by Zach Hyman

Evans was inspired to write Aanika’s Elephants after doing an Earthwatch study on elephants in Kenya. “As I wrote it,” she says, “I really wanted it to be from Aanika the storyteller’s perspective. Using all puppets (the adults in the play are all represented by just hats and gloves), it allowed the story to be a memory play, where the audience can use their imaginations.” Evans is joined by a company of her former Sesame Street colleagues in this production, including her husband and production designer Martin P. Robinson, Pam Arciero, and newer cast members Jimmica Collins, Latoryah Alexander and Bradley Freeman, Jr.

Tryon is the play’s first public, non-workshop appearance before it goes to much larger markets in Atlanta and New York. “It’s an honor to be part of the process of developing a show to play on a major stage,” says Marianne Carruth, executive director of TFAC. “This presentation represents family entertainment that is an inspiring synthesis of compassion, commitment and artistic excellence.”

To learn more and buy tickets, visit

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