Avenue Q began previews July 11, 2003 and opened July 31 on Broadway to positive critical and audience response. The work has also spawned a second production which opened Sept. 8 at Wynn Las Vegas Resort.
Avenue Q sends up popular children's television shows such as "Sesame Street" and "The Electric Company," while serving up a bounty of pop culture references. The production bears the warning: "Full puppet nudity, not suitable for children."
The puppet and people-populated musical currently stars Jennifer Barnhart, Natalie Venetia Belcon, Jordan Gelber, Ann Harada and Tony Award-nominated Stephanie D'Abruzzo from the original cast, joined by Barrett Foa (as Princeton and others) and Christian Anderson (as Nicky and others). The other original company members Tony-nominated John Tartaglia and puppet creator Rick Lyon opened the Las Vegas run. (Tartaglia now appears in the Off-Broadway revue Newsical 2006: The Next Edition and D’Abruzzo leaves the show Dec. 24 to appear Off-Broadway in I Love You Because.)
Though an underdog to the big-budgeted Wicked, show's creators Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx earned a Tony for their score as did bookwriter Jeff Whitty and the musical itself garnered the top prize as Best Musical at the 2004 Tony Awards. Jason Moore (Steel Magnolias) directed with musical direction by Gary Adler (Altar Boyz).
Avenue Q features puppets conceived and designed by Rick Lyon. Musical supervision is by Stephen Oremus and choreography is handled by Ken Roberson. The design team includes Anna Louizos (scenic), Mirena Rada (costume), lighting Howell Binkley (lighting) and Acme Sound Partners (sound). Broadway producers Kevin McCollum, Robyn Goodman, Jeffrey Seller, Vineyard Theatre and The New Group enjoyed recouping their initial Broadway investment in May 2004.
Avenue Q plays on Broadway at the Golden Theatre, 252 West 45 Street. For more information on the show, visit www.avenueq.com.