Brought To You by the Letter Q: Puppet Musical Avenue Q Opens Off-Broadway, March 19

News   Brought To You by the Letter Q: Puppet Musical Avenue Q Opens Off-Broadway, March 19 East 15 Street becomes Avenue Q as The Vineyard Theatre and The New Group present the world premiere of the musical in which puppets and humans sing side by side, March 19.

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

The tuner which began preview performances Feb 20 at the Vineyard is currently scheduled through April 13.

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. Though there are send-ups to many popular children's television shows — including "Sesame Street" and "The Electric Company" — pop culture references and the use of Gary Coleman of "Diff'rent Strokes" fame as a character, the show warns its audience "Contains full puppet nudity, not suitable for children."

The show recently canceled performances and had to rework and restage some following the injury of the main puppeteer Rick Lyon. The stageshow employs three actors who portray human characters and four puppeteers who multi-task playing over a dozen puppet characters — all the while singing and dancing.

Lopez told Playbill On-Line about his collaboration with Marx, "It was back in 1998 — before The Full Monty and The Producers were on Broadway — and we realized well, there really aren't any funny shows on Broadway and we'd really like to write one." The two have been in talks with producers and record labels about the musical's future. (Read more about the show's origin in the feature "Once-TV-Bound Avenue Q Evolves Into New Off-Broadway Musical." See link on right under Related Information.)

Lopez and Marx, 2000 Ed Kleban Award winners, provide the original concept as well as music and lyrics for the part-puppet/ part-person production. Whitty (The Plank Project) handles the book. The Crumple Zone director Jason Moore helms 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, 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."

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

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)