If You Were Gay! Catching Up With Avenue Q's Married Puppets, Rod and Ricky

News   If You Were Gay! Catching Up With Avenue Q's Married Puppets, Rod and Ricky
Playbill.com catches up with Rod and Ricky, the same-sex puppets from the Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q, who were engaged in 2011 and tied the knot July 24, 2011 — the first day same-sex couples could be legally married in the state of New York.

Ricky and Rod
Ricky and Rod Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

In the musical, Rod, a Wall Street banker, and Ricky, a "Chelsea boy," meet through an online personal ad placed by Rod's best friend and slacker roommate Nicky. It was love at first sight — and the rest is history.

The two crossed paths when Avenue Q opened Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre in March 2003. The production transferred to Broadway's John Golden Theatre, where it opened July 31, 2003. The musical won three 2004 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, before closing in September 2009 and transferring to Off-Broadway's New World Stages, where it currently runs.

As part of Playbill.com's 30 Days of Pride, we catch up with the married puppets, who will be special guests at the city speaker's annual pride event June 18 at Cooper Union and will celebrate their third anniversary this summer.

The last time we touched base, you were getting married July 24, 2011, the first day same-sex couples could be legally married in New York. What was the most exciting highlight of the day?
Rod: Well, it was such a multi-cultural experience to begin with — so many gays and lesbians of all ages, stripes and fabrics, if you will, getting married on the same historic day was nothing short of fabulous! Faaaaaaaabuloous! It was especially thrilling to be invited by the gay synagogue to repeat our vows under the chuppah, although the rabbi had to crush the wine glass for us since neither one of us has legs. We are ourselves a multi-cultural family: I mean, I am witty and urbane and Ricky is just plain hot!
Ricky: My favorite part was saying 'I do' because, well, I do!

We never learned where you took your honeymoon? Where did you go? How was it?
Rod: I pleaded with Ricky to take me to Las Vegas for that legendary Cher and Charo double-bill; however, he was hell-bent for leather on taking me to the annual SexPo in Chicago. He had been a runner-up in the International Mr. Felt & Leather Pageant years before and wanted to see some of his old pals in the Windy City. While I am quite certain I was not the only Wall Street broker in attendance, I will say I was the one most fully clothed throughout the weekend. Nor would I ever dream of wearing leather over my business suit! So tacky!
Ricky: Honey, I've told you — they're not called pageants. Or cotillions.

Ricky and Rod
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

 What's it like getting to fall in love over and over again nightly at Avenue Q?
Ricky: It still feels fresh and new to me eight times a week. When I see his beautiful blue face and that shock of red hair, well, I get so turned on. It is at those moments when I am most grateful that we don't have lower extremities because I'm certain I'd have to, you know, adjust myself and the audience would notice for sure.
Rod: I'm flattered, and I second that. I love being married. And I love making him moist.

Rod, what advice would you give young artists struggling with their sexuality?
Rod: It's important to come out on your own terms in your own time. One hopes that each year, and with each new state legalizing same-sex marriage, it will get easier for people, but there's still a lot of bias and uncertainty out there. It's important for people to be who they are because the more openly you are able to express yourself, the more fully you will be able to live your life. I had the luxury of being able to afford a therapist, but not everyone can do that, and besides I don't even know what Christmas Eve's rates are now that Avenue Q has been running over ten years! I know she worked closely with the President on the packaging of Obamacare. But if a young person who is struggling needs to talk to someone — a member of the clergy, a counselor, a cousin or call a hotline — just do it. There are more people out there wanting to listen and more help than you might think.

What has been the best part of your almost three-year marriage?
Ricky: Well, he never believes me when I tell him this, but he sings in his sleep. Show tunes, of course. Not everything is instantly recognizable: A Little Night Music can turn into State Fair on a dime. And, the lyrics are sometimes not entirely comprehensible or logical. The other night, for instance, he was burbling phrases from La Cage aux Folles, and "I Am What I Am" came out more like "I put jam on my ham." But it's sweet. His Elphaba is breathtakingly nuanced.
Rod: Being married to a man's man like Ricky is heaven on earth to me. Except for the fact that neither one of us has a lower torso, he completes me. He looks after me and cooks and cleans and picks me up from the theatre, and we have dinner and drinks and love table-hopping at Joe's or Angus or Saju. And, sometimes we splurge and stay out late at Spunk where all the boys remember me from our days together waiting in the hallways at cattle calls. Ricky is perfect for me, and I bet you thought I was going to answer with something obvious like, "Have you looked at his biceps?" Well, have you?!?!

What are you doing for your anniversary in July?
Rod: I was told by Mr. Man here not to make any plans whatsoever for our anniversary this year. Apparently he has something in the works. Allow me to say simply this: If Charo or Cher are not on the itinerary, this may be our last honeymoon!
Ricky: My big furry lips are sealed!

(Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)

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