Avenue Q to Move to Broadway's Golden July 31

News   Avenue Q to Move to Broadway's Golden July 31 The 2003-04 Broadway season's first musical will have puppets—and Disney and Julie Taymor have nothing to do with it. Avenue Q, the Off-Broadway hit, will graduate to the Golden Theatre, it was announced April 18.
Lucy and Stephanie D'Abuzzo in a scene from <i>Avenue Q</i>.
Lucy and Stephanie D'Abuzzo in a scene from Avenue Q.

Opening night is July 31. A first preview is expected in early July, after the 4th.

The Broadway move will be produced by Jeffrey Seller, Kevin McCollum and Robyn Goodman and will be budgeted at $3 million, with tickets ranging from $20 to $85.

The Vineyard Theatre and The New Group's co-production, one of the few out and out hits of the Off-Broadway season, recently extended a third time to May 11. The popular puppet-plus-people production opened March 19 to positive critical and audience response. Performances began Feb. 20 at the East 15th Street venue. The production first extended its run to April 27 then again to May 4.

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," serves up a bounty of pop culture references, includes "full puppet nudity, not suitable for children" and features an actress playing the former "Diff'rent Strokes" star Gary Coleman (he ends up being a superintendent of buildings on Avenue Q).

Creators Lopez and Marx, 2000 Ed Kleban Award winners, provide the original concept as well as music and lyrics for the musical while Whitty (The Plank Project) handles 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 cast of singers, actors and puppeteers of Avenue Q include Ann Harada, Jen Barnhart, Natalie Venetia Belcon (as Gary Coleman), Jordan Gelber, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, John Tartaglia and Lyon himself.

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 recording and release date have been announced.

For tickets to Avenue Q, at the Vineyard, 108 East 15 Street, call (212) 239-6200 or click here.

News of the Broadway transfer was first reported in The New York Times.

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