Music, Lyrics and Original Concept by: Robert Lopez & Jeff Marx
Book by: Jeff Whitty
Directed by: Jason Moore
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
On July 31, 2003, a show opened in the John Golden Theatre on 252 West 45th Street that involved puppets misbehaving. It was called Avenue Q. I didn’t go to see it right away, and lost in the sea of Broadway shows, I kind of forgot about it. And then, a few months ago, my friend and co-worker Richard got the opportunity to see this show and couldn’t stop discussing it with me. So, after being told I had to see it for months, I resigned to my fate. I sat in the audience of this show on Sunday, February 18, 2007, and I couldn’t believe what I saw.
The show follows Princeton (puppeteer - Howie Michael Smith) a recent college graduate who has decided that his mission is to find his purpose. He is also looking for affordable housing and in that search finds himself living on Avenue Q. There he meets a cast of amazing characters. There is Brian (Evan Harrington, human), an aspiring comedian who is engaged to marry Christmas Eve (Ann Sanders, Belle in Broadway’s Beauty & the Beast), an Asian immigrant who is a psychotherapist with no patients. There is Rod (puppeteer – also Howie Michael Smith), the cleanly and possibly gay roommate to Nicky (understudy puppeteer in this performance – Jonathan Root, puppeteer – Christian Anderson, Broadway credits include Dick in High Fidelity and Mark in Rent), who swears he’s not gay. These two have a certain Bert and Ernie vibe that will leave you in hysterics – oh, come on! Everyone thinks they’re gay! There’s also Gary Coleman (Haneefah Wood), yes, that’s right, child star Gary Coleman is a character in this show! There is Trekkie Monster (understudy puppeteer – also Jonathan Root, puppeteer - Christian Anderson), a pervert and Lucy (puppeteer – Mary Faber), the neighborhood slut. Last, but certainly most important is Kate Monster (puppeteer – also Mary Faber) the innocent neighbor who is simply looking for love.
But, as Princeton and Kate get to know each other, Princeton gets scared of commitment and may just muck it all up. Can he fix it? Does he want to? Has Nicky been misreading Rod, or is Rod denying himself? Will Brian ever get a job? Will Christmas Eve ever get a customer? Will Princeton ever find his purpose? Will Gary Coleman ever get a job? Such questions reign supreme in this laugh riot musical!
The show starts off with an animated cartoon intro on its two television screens. This is followed up by the opening number, It Sucks To Be Me. From there it continues in that direction, with songs like Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist, If You Were Gay, The Internet is for Porn and many other songs along that line. Such is the world of Avenue Q, a place where Sesame Street behaves as though it takes place in the real world instead of happy land. The show will do anything to shock you, including puppet sex, and that’s what’s funny about it. I have never laughed so much or so hard in my life.
So, what are you waiting for? You know this is appealing to you…besides you need some more culture, and that’s what Broadway is for! Yeah, so you say! The internet doesn’t give anybody culture! Don’t you know the internet is for porn?! And buying tickets to Broadway Shows…so go! Buy tickets to Avenue Q! And have fun!