Barnhart created characters in the show's original Off-Broadway and Broadway runs and previously returned to Avenue Q in 2010. She will again play such characters as a Bad Idea Bear, kindergarten school principal Mrs. T, and her "second-hand" work with puppets Nicky and Trekkie Monster.
Avenue Q opened on Broadway July 31, 2003, at the John Golden Theatre. The musical won three 2004 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book of a Musical, and gave 2,556 performances (including 22 previews) prior to its move in October 2009 to New World Stages.
Avenue Q, according to press notes, is the "hilarious and internationally-acclaimed musical about a group of 20-somethings — people and puppets alike — who move to New York with big dreams and tiny bank accounts. Together they live as neighbors on a street in New York as they try to discover their purpose in life." The musical's characters include Princeton, Kate Monster, Trekkie Monster, Lucy, Nicky, Rod, Gary Coleman, Brian and Christmas Eve. The score includes "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," "If You Were Gay," "The More You Ruv Someone" and "Schadenfreude."
The musical has music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, book by Jeff Whitty and direction by Jason Moore. Based on an original concept by Lopez and Marx, with puppets conceived and designed by Rick Lyon, Avenue Q has musical supervision by Stephen Oremus, choreography by Ken Roberson, scenic design by Anna Louizos, costume design by Mirena Rada, lighting design by Howell Binkley and sound design by Acme Sound Partners. Musical director is Rick Bertone.