Avenue Q Reconstruction: Musical Closes Off-Broadway, May 11; Broadway Next

News   Avenue Q Reconstruction: Musical Closes Off-Broadway, May 11; Broadway Next Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre will lose one of its most successful productions to date as Avenue Q closes May 11. However, the co-production with The New Group, which extended four times at the Vineyard, will relocate to Broadway's Golden Theatre, starting July 11 for a July 31 opening.

Princeton from the new musical, Avenue Q.
Princeton from the new musical, Avenue Q.

Songs like "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist" and "The Internet Is For Porn" delighted audiences and critics alike as the popular puppet-plus-people musical opened March 19.

The musical has garnered the 2003 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Sound Design and five Drama Desk nominations including Best Musical, Best Music, Best Lyrics, Best Book and Best Actress in a Musical (Stephanie D'Abruzzo).

Avenue Q, by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty, is set on the fictitious New York City street where characters like Rod, Brian, Kate Monster, Christmas Eve and others attempt to find their way in the real world. The comic show sends up popular children's television shows such as "Sesame Street" and "The Electric Company," serving up a bounty of pop culture references. It includes "full puppet nudity, not suitable for children" and features an actress playing the former "Diff'rent Strokes" star Gary Coleman.

Creators Lopez and Marx, 2000 Ed Kleban Award winners, provided the original concept as well as music and lyrics for the musical, while Whitty (The Plank Project) handled the book. The Crumple Zone director Jason Moore directs the Off-Broadway run, which features the creations of puppeteer Rick Lyon (whose work has been seen in "Men in Black" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.")

The musical employs three actors who portray human characters and four puppeteers who play over a dozen puppet characters — all the while singing and dancing in full view of the audience. The Avenue Q cast includes Ann Harada (as Christmas Eve), Jen Barnhart (Mrs. T, Bad Idea Bear #2 and others), Natalie Venetia Belcon (as Gary Coleman), Jordan Gelber (as Brian), Stephanie D'Abruzzo (Kate Monster, Lucy and others), John Tartaglia (Princeton and Rod) and Lyon (Nicky, Trekkie Monster, Bad Idea Bear #1 and others). Ken Roberson carves out choreography. Stephen Oremus serves as music supervisor. The design team features Anna Louizos (sets), Mirena Rada (costumes), Frances Aronson (lights) and Brett Jarvis (sound).

The production features the songs "Avenue Q Theme," "Opening," "If You Were Gay," "Purpose," "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," "The Internet Is for Porn," "A Mix Tape," "I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today," "Special," "You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Making Love)," "Fantasies Come True," "My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada," "There's a Fine, Fine Line," "There Is Life Outside Your Apartment," "The More You Ruv Someone," "Schadenfreude," "I Wish I Could Go Back to College," "The Money Song" And "For Now." A cast album is expected but no label or release date have been announced.

Broadway performances will play at 8 PM Monday-Saturday and at 2 PM Wednesday and Saturday. For tickets to Avenue Q, call (212) 239-6200 or click here.

Kate, Stephanie D'Abuzzo, Princeton, John Tartaglia in a scene from <i>Avenue Q</i> at the Vineyard Theatre.
Kate, Stephanie D'Abuzzo, Princeton, John Tartaglia in a scene from Avenue Q at the Vineyard Theatre. (Photo by Carol Rosegg)