East 15th Street became Avenue Q as The Vineyard Theatre and The New Group began the world premiere of the musical in which puppets and humans sing side by side, Feb 20 at the Vineyard.
There is also talk of a possible commerical transer. The New York Times reported that Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller and Robyn Goodman were exploring a move to a 499-seat commercial house. Nothing definite has been decided.
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. Though there are send-ups to many popular children's television shows — including "Sesame Street" and "The Electric Company," — pop culture references and the use of "Diff'rent Strokes" star Gary Coleman as a character, the show warns its audience "Contains full puppet nudity, not suitable for children."
The show got off to a rough start having to cancel performances and do some reworking and restaging 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.
Creators Lopez and Marx, 2000 Ed Kleban Award winners, provide the original concept as well as music and lyrics for the musical while 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 production features the songs: "Avenue Q Theme," "Opening," "If You Were Gay," "Purpose," "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist," "The Internet Is For Porn," "A Mix Tape," "I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today," "Special," "You Can Be As Loud As The Hell You Want (When You're Making Love)," "Fantasies Come True," "My Girlfriend, Who Lives In Canada," "There's A Fine, Fine Line," "There Is Life Outside Your Apartment," "The More You Ruv Someone," "Schadenfreude," "I Wish I Could Go Back To College," "The Money Song" And "For Now."
For tickets to Avenue Q, at the Vineyard, 108 East 15 Street, call (212) 239 6200.