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It's the first thing people think of when they hear "Avenue Q." Modeled after the wildly popular show (among children), Sesame Street, this very adult show tells the stories of the colorful residents on the fictional street of Avenue Q. Currently performing off-Broadway at New World Stages in Midtown Manhattan, this is a show that shouldn't work in theory, but is spectacular in reality. It will make you laugh until you can't breathe and leave you warm and fuzzy, all the while teaching you important lessons about life.
Want to learn more about it? Keep reading to get in the know before the show!
1. Some of the actors have puppets while some are humans. It may seem like it would be distracting at first, but in practice, the puppets act in a way much like adult cartoons do. When a puppet does something out-there and inappropriate, it's funny. When a human does it, it's vulgar and disturbing. And, it's surprisingly easy to focus on the puppets while getting additional information about mood and movement through the actors who operates the puppets.
2. It's basically an adult version of Sesame Street. Now, I always found Sesame Street scary as a kid because I couldn't figure out who's talking, so I don't know much about that. But I've been told that the puppets can be traced back to their TV counterparts.
3. Avenue Q is a fictional street in Brooklyn. The street doesn't actually exist, just like there's no place called Sesame Street.
4. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx wrote the music and lyrics to this show. You may know Robert Lopez from a number of things, from Frozen, to Book of Mormon, to various songs in South Park, and the Scrubs musical episode. It was after a performance of Avenue Q that Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the creators of South Park) approached Lopez about the possibility of creating Book of Mormon.
5. After its successful Broadway run from 2003 to 2009, the show moved off-Broadway to the New World Stages, where it is still running today!
6. It requires multiple puppets to make this show work. Playbill.com has a wonderful article on that.
7. Some actors voice two puppets in the show. It took me all of the first act to realize this (a testimony to how captivating the puppets are). It's a fun fact to know going into it because the logistics of making this work is very complex and interesting. Definitely watch out for it!
Avenue Q took home 3 Tony's in 2004: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score. So if you're ever in New York City, don't pass this show off just because it's off-Broadway. Go visit the neighborhood and make some new friends!
If you are reading this in February 2018 and you live in or near North Jersey, come see me as Christmas Eve in Rhino Theatre's production of Avenue Q! It's been such a fun project and the cast is stacked with talent. You can purchase tickets at https://www.rhinotheatre.com/ The poster is attached below. Hope to see you there!