What You Talkin' Bout? Avenue Q's Gary Coleman Injured But Expected for Broadway

News   What You Talkin' Bout? Avenue Q's Gary Coleman Injured But Expected for Broadway Actress Natalie Venetia Belcon — who plays Gary Coleman in the upcoming Broadway musical Avenue Q — injured her ankle at the May 8 performance of the work Off-Broadway. The production attempted to restage the show but decided to forego the remaining weekend performances.

Belcon is expected to return to the work in time for the Broadway run which begins July 11 at the Golden Theatre and opens July 31. Doctors have advised that the interim between runs is sufficient time for recovery.

The puppet-people musical experienced a similar situation early in the run as puppet creator and performer Rick Lyon injured himself during a performance. A number of shows were canceled as the company restaged the work, having Lyon provide the voices for his puppet characters offstage while other performers handled the puppets onstage. Belcon, in fact, used Lyon's cane to finish the May 8 matinee performance in which she injured herself.

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. For the Broadway run, the production will employ understudies for each performer.

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The 2003 Lucille Lortel Award winner for Outstanding Musical, Avenue Q 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," serving up a bounty of pop culture references. It includes "full puppet nudity, not suitable for children" and features an actress playing the former "Diff'rent Strokes" star Gary Coleman. Creators Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, 2000 Ed Kleban Award winners, provide the original concept as well as music and lyrics for the musical, while Jeff Whitty (The Plank Project) handled the book. The Crumple Zone director Jason Moore directs the show which features the creations of puppeteer Rick Lyon.

Broadway performances will play at 8 PM Monday-Saturday and at 2 PM Wednesday and Saturday. For tickets to Avenue Q, call (212) 239-6200 or click here.