Wednesday, February 21, 6:00-7:00 p.m. ET
Free for WMG members; $15.00 for non-members (Zoom)
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the timing appeared perfect to bring the beloved educational and joyful children’s television show, Sesame Street, to millions of children living in the former Soviet Union. American filmmaker and producer Natasha Lance Rogoff took on the challenge of creating an original Russian version of the iconic program, hoping to introduce millions of children to the Muppets and a world of learning, tolerance, and optimism. But no one anticipated just how challenging and dangerous these good intentions would prove to be.
In this conversation with Sesame Street content producer and historian Betsy Loredo, Natasha will bring this unique story to life by recounting many of the details she tells in her award-winning book, Muppets in Moscow. We’ll hear about the on-set cultural clashes the production team encountered as well as off-set car bombings, the assassinations of the show’s top broadcast partners, and hostile takeovers of the production studios. In spite of these obstacles, Ulitsa Sezam aired for more than a decade, and many Russians and Ukrainians now at war with one another grew up on the show. Natasha’s experiences in Russia illuminate far more than just the story of a children’s TV show. Her insights offer a valuable perspective on Russian values, Russian people, and the country’s ongoing complicated relationship with the West, which is highly relevant for us to hear about today.
Meet the Speakers:
Natasha Lance Rogoff is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, television producer, and author of Muppets in Moscow: The Unexpected Crazy True Story of Making Sesame Street in Russia. She wrote extensively about Russian underground culture and led the production of Sesame Street in Russia and Mexico. Lance Rogoff is an Associate in the Art, Film, and Visual Studies Department at Harvard University and passionate about media creating bridges for cross culture understanding. Muppets in Moscow was nominated for the prestigious Pushkin Book Prize (2023) and won first prize for 'Best First Book' and 'Best Audiobook' from The Independent Publishers Association and the Independent Book Awards.
Betsy Loredo is an Executive Editor and Content Director at Sesame Workshop, where she has produced award-winning books, magazines, apps, podcasts, interactive audio experiences, museum exhibits, and other story-based content for Sesame Street and other children’s media properties. She is also the unofficial "Historian" of Sesame Street and served as a consultant researcher for the recent documentary, Street Gang. Outside of her work with Cookie Monster and Elmo, Loredo is an author of many children’s books and children’s television show content.
All proceeds from this event support the Women's Media Group Educational Foundation.
Refunds available up to 24 hours before the event. No refunds for cancellations made within 24 hours of the event.