Puppets Take Manhattan: New Musical Avenue Q Begins Off-Broadway, Feb. 20

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20 Feb 2003

<I>Avenue Q</I> resident Kate Monster.
Avenue Q resident Kate Monster.
Creativ and Co.

Singing puppets and humans inhabit the stage as the Vineyard Theatre and The New Group present the world premiere of the new musical Avenue Q, at the Vineyard in downtown Manhattan, starting Feb. 20.

Opening night for the new tuner by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty is set for March 19.

Avenue Q, developed at last summer's O'Neill Center Music-Theatre Conference, 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. A warning on the show's postcard reads: "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).

The OB premiere is a co-production by the Vineyard Theatre (artistic director Douglas Aibel) and The New Group (artistic director Scott Elliott). For more information on each company, visit their respective websites at www.vineyardtheatre.org and www.thenewgroup.org.

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.