Monday, July 31, 2006

Happy Birthday Avenue Q!

Avenue Q opened Three Years ago today.

About the Show:
Avenue Q 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 John Golden Theatre since July 31, 2003. It has risqué songs about racism, Internet porn, and the difficulties of life, and all but three characters are portrayed by puppets. It surprisingly won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Book of a Musical, defeating the much bigger-scale, front-runner musical of the season, Wicked.

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.

The show is largely inspired by (and in the style 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 may be inappropriate for children 12 years of age and under. Additionally, for this reason, the show specifically disclaims any connection to Sesame Workshop or The Jim Henson Company. However, both Marx and Lyon previously worked for Sesame Street, as have the other puppeteers in the original cast. In an interview with The Times, addressing the question of potential conflicts with Henson, Marx claimed, “during early previews in the States we invited Jim Henson's widow and children and they could see that what we were doing was a homage and love letter to Sesame Street.”

A second production of Avenue Q opened on September 8, 2005 in the Broadway Theatre, a $40 million, 1,200 seat venue built to house the production at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel/casino. Instead of touring, Avenue Q signed an exclusive deal with Wynn, but due to poor ticket sales and building conflicts, the production closed on May 28, 2006, to be replaced by Spamalot.

A novelty book featuring the book and lyrics is set to come out on November 1, 2006.

The London Production opened on June 28, 2006.

The main character is Princeton 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 actor Gary Coleman. There, he and his neighbors cope with the struggles of real life, learning that you cannot necessarily count on things turning out as you would like.

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Community Theater in the Mid Hudson Valley of New York. Information on shows, auditions, and our general adventures onstage, backstage and in the audience.