The Vineyard Theatre and The New Group presentation of the world premiere tuner, in which puppets and humans sing side by side, began Feb 20 at the Vineyard and is scheduled to open March 19.
This is the second cancellation of a performance from the musical which recently had to rework and restage the production 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.
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. With 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."
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).
For tickets to Avenue Q, at the Vineyard, 108 East 15 Street, call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200, or log on to www.telecharge.com.