The Broadway Musical Avenue Q won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical (it also won Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Book of a Musical). It opened off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre in March 2003 (where it won that season's Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical), and it has been on Broadway at the Golden Theatre since July 31, 2003. It has risque songs about racism, Internet porn, and the difficulties of life, and all but three characters are portrayed by puppets.
The show is largely a parody of PBS's Sesame Street, with several characters that are recognizably parodies of classic Muppet characters. For example, the roommates Rod and Nicky are clearly adult versions of Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie, and Trekkie Monster seems to be based on Cookie Monster. Likewise, many of Avenue Q's musical numbers are in a style associated with classic Sesame Street songs.
Because of its adult content and "full puppet nudity" (including graphic simulated sex between puppets), Avenue Q is not recommended for ages 12 and under. Additionally, for this reason, the show specifically disclaims any connection to Sesame Workshop or The Jim Henson Company.
The music and lyrics are by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. The book is by Jeff Whitty. The original production was directed by Jason Moore and choreographed by Ken Roberson . The puppets were designed and constructed by original cast member Rick Lyon.
A second production of Avenue Q is slated to open on September 3, 2005 at the new hotel/casino Wynn Las Vegas, in a $43 million dollar theater built specially to house the production. Plans for a third production in 2006, at London's West End, were revealed in a cover story in the Wall Street Journal on March 10, 2005.
The main character is Princeton (puppeteered by Barrett Foa ), who has just graduated from college with a B.A. in English. He moves into an apartment in the only neighborhood he can afford, on Avenue Q, where his superintendent is Gary Coleman (Natalie Venetia Belcon , one of the three non-puppets). There, he and his neighbors cope with the struggles of real life, and learn that you can't necessarily count on things turning out as you'd like.
List of Main Characters
- Princeton, a recently graduated English major; role originated by John Tartaglia , and currently puppeteered by Barrett Foa
- Kate Monster, a lovelorn kindergarten teaching assistant who wishes to create a school for monsters; puppeteered by Stephanie D'Abruzzo
- Rod, a Republican investment banker who is secretly gay; also puppeteered by Barrett Foa
- Nicky, Rod's roommate, a messy slacker; puppeteered by Rick Lyon
- Trekkie Monster, who spends most of his time on the Internet looking at porn; also puppeteered by Rick Lyon
- Lucy The Slut, a nightclub singer who is as slutty as her name suggests; also puppeteered by Stephanie D'Abruzzo
Gary Coleman, the former star of Diff'rent Strokes, is the superintendent of Avenue Q; a non-puppet character, he is played by Natalie Venetia Belcon
- Brian, a down-on-his-luck 32-year old who has trouble keeping steady employment and dreams of being a stand-up comedian; a non-puppet character, he is played by Jordan Gelber
- Christmas Eve, a Japanese immigrant, she is a therapist who has no clients; a non-puppet character, she is played by Ann Harada
List of Songs
- "The Avenue Q Theme" - company
- "What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?" - Princeton
- "It Sucks to be Me" - Brian, Kate Monster, Rod, Nicky, Christmas Eve, Princeton, Gary Coleman
- "If You Were Gay" - Rod, Nicky
- "Purpose" - Princeton
- "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" - Princeton, Kate Monster, Gary Coleman, Brian, Christmas Eve
- "The Internet Is for Porn" - Kate Monster, Trekkie Monster, Brian, Gary Coleman, Rod, Princeton
- "Mix Tape" - Kate Monster, Princeton
- "I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today" - Brian
- "Special" - Lucy the Slut
- "You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Makin' Love)" - Princeton, Kate Monster, Gary Coleman, Christmas Eve, Brian, Trekkie Monster
- "Fantasies Come True" - Rod, Nicky, Kate Monster, Princeton
- "My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada" - Rod
- "There's a Fine, Fine, Line" - Kate Monster
- "There Is Life Outside Your Apartment" - Brian, Princeton, Christmas Eve, Trekkie Monster, Lucy the Slut
- "The More You Ruv Someone" - Christmas Eve, Kate Monster
- "Schadenfreude" - Gary Coleman, Nicky
- "I Wish I Could Go Back to College" - Kate Monster, Nicky, Princeton
- "The Money Song" - Nicky, Princeton, Gary Coleman, Christmas Eve, Brian
- "School for Monsters" - Trekkie Monster
- "The Money Song (Reprise)" - Nicky, Princeton, Gary Coleman, Christmas Eve, Brian
- "There's a Fine, Fine, Line (Reprise)" - Kate Monster, Christmas Eve, Princeton
- "What Do You Do With a B.A. in English? (Reprise)" - Newcomer, Gary Coleman, Princeton, Brian
- "For Now" - company
Avenue Q is a fictional street in a NYC location known only to be "somewhere out in Queens or Brooklyn."
Avenues A, B, C, D, etc. are located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan; Avenue Q is the hypothetical extension of that sequence, far from Manhattan, where the rents are actually affordable for recent college grads. Trivia: there actually was once a street in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn called Avenue Q - between Avenue P and Avenue R; today it is known as Quentin Road. The authors have stated that Avenue Q, the show's namesake, is fictional and is not related to this or any other particular street.
On September 30, 2004, the day of the first Bush-Kerry presidential debate, the cast of Avenue Q presented their version, called Avenue Q&A, on a special stage set up in the middle of Times Square. 18 television networks covered the event. Rick Lyon puppeteered George W. Bush while Jennifer Barnhart puppeteered John Kerry. Each puppet sang to the other in response to questions from Avenue Q's concerned "residents" and then the whole cast sang to the rain-drenched crowds to "Vote your heart!"
Last updated: 05-17-2005 09:52:24
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04