I am a RENThead, which in turn means that I have great respect for Jonathan Larson. So I was watching the documentary that was included on the second disc of the “RENT” DVD when there was a segment about a children’s show which Jonathan Larson had created along with Bob Golden (“Sesame Street”). Who knew? The show was called “Away We Go!” and was originally meant to introduce children to New York City. Unfortunately, they never made it past the pilot episode, but they decided to release this one episode as a video in 1996.
“Away We Go!” is all about various forms of transportation from elevators and escalators to taxi cabs and ferries. The show is hosted by Newt the newt while he follows along with his friends Casey and Samantha as they try to get back home. Newt the newt is a puppet in denim overalls and a button with the popular “I (love) NY” phrase. There is no attempt to hide that his eyes are made from tennis balls or that sometimes he is not moving when he is supposed to be singing. Of course the kids don’t notice, but for me that only adds to the show’s charm.
After packing their suitcases, Casey and Samantha — along with Newt in Samantha’s backpack — take the elevator down in the apartment building. On the way down, they pick up a couple of people who just happen to be Bob Golden and Jonathan Larson. I thought this was a great addition to the show. Traveling around New York City, Casey, Samantha, and Newt ride in a taxi, on a bus, and on a ferry all to get to the airport. Newt says goodbye to his friends as they board the airplane to go home.
“Away We Go!” is meant for children ages 2-8. My daughter, who is not yet two, has been watching this video for months. She loves Newt and likes to dance along to the songs. My three-year-old nephew also likes to watch this video with my daughter. With eight original songs and plenty of New York City facts, “Away We Go!” is sure to be a fun, educational hit with your family!
For more information about “Away We Go!”, please visit Away-We-Go.net. You can preview the video and find more information about Jonathan Larson. You can also order the video there for $14.95 (plus shipping and handling).