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Sesame Street Live 1st Edition Program Cover


Big Bird joins the Seedy Birds for a chorus line


Bert and Ernie perform "Doin' the Pigeon."

Fat Blue and Green Anything Muppet costumes


A Sesame Street Mystery: The Case of the Missing Rara Avis was the very first Sesame Street Live show, produced by VEE Corporation in 1980, for a 1980-1981 tour season.

The show was repeated in the United States on tours in 1981-1982, 1984-1985, and 1985-1986. The show traveled to Australia in 1982-1983, and to Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong in 1990-1991.

By 1984, the show's title had been simplified to Missing Bird Mystery. In 1992, the show was updated and renamed Where's the Birdie?


Big Bird runs away from Sesame Street after Oscar tells him that everyone has forgotten about his birthday (when they are actually planning a surprise party). Big Bird eventually runs into showman and con artist Phineas T. Barnswallow, proprietor of Barnswallow's Barnstorming Aviary, who sees the giant bird as a perfect new addition to his all-bird troupe The Seedy Birds - and plans to keep him forever. Meanwhile, back on Sesame Street, Big Bird's friends realize that he has gone missing, and contact the New York City Department of Missing Birds, led by Inspector Fortescu Farquar, to help find him.


Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Grover, Count von Count, Inspector Fortescu Farquar, New York City Department of Missing Birds, Phineas T. Barnswallow, The Seedy Birds, Anything Muppets (the People in Your Neighborhood: Mailman, Doctor, Painter, Fireman, Grocer, Student, Carpenter, Old Lady)
Note: By the 1984-1985 tour, Prairie Dawn was added to the cast.

Touring cast

Original cast, 1980-1981

  • Thomas Butters as The Count
  • Lionel Douglass as Big Bird
  • Grenoldo Frazier as Phineas T. Barnswallow
  • Richard Galli as Bert
  • Barbara Goldstein as Old Lady
  • Juan Iglesias as Cookie Monster
  • Chikae Ishikawa as Seedy Bird
  • Derek Cooley Jackson as Grover
  • Nancy Jones as Carpenter
  • Roger Kachel as Ernie
  • Amy Lachinsky as Seedy Bird
  • Dianne Miller as Painter
  • Daniel Nanni as Inspector Fortescu Farquar
  • Stan Nelson as Mailman
  • Stephen Nelson as Fireman
  • Sandra Robinson as Baker
  • Thomas Sanford as Seedy Bird (Victor)
  • Lisa Stanley as Grocer
  • Buz Suraci as Oscar the Grouch
  • Ellen Swartz as Seedy Bird
  • Judy Swartz as Doctor
  • Carol Wilshire as Student
  • New York City Department of Missing Birds Constables: Lionel Douglass, Chikae Ishikawa, Amy Lachinsky, Stan Nelson, Thomas Sanford, Lisa Stanley, Buz Suraci, and Judy Swartz.


The show used ten familiar songs from Sesame Street, plus three original songs. Paul Walberg and Dell Hake wrote two instrumental pieces, "Chicken Tango" and "Constable Chicken Chase", plus a third, "Bird Song", with lyrics by Jon Stone.

Walberg went on to write songs for the Muppet Show stage shows, The Muppet Show on Tour! and The Muppet Show on Tour: 2nd Edition.

Later runs of the show replace "Chicken Tango" with "I Just Adore Four," sung by Prairie Dawn.


There were some items exclusively available for the tour. Among them were four posters, a souvenir program, banners and pennants.