Though it looks like good old Sesame Street this street is not going to have the same fuzzy feeling you get. This is “Avenue Q,” a street where low wage humans, puppets, and monsters all live in harmony. They also sing dirty songs and have their own problems to deal with. Some of them are struggling with unemployment and their purpose in life. Others are dealing with their homosexuality. Some are just frustrated that their lives have seemed to just stopped moving at all. The fact that the show is produced with puppets may seem strange but is sort of brilliant in it’s own way. This show truly is a love letter to Sesame Street. It looks like it, kind of feels like it, and sounds like it. That it’s for adults and not kids should not be a reason to skip it.
The story revolves around a new graduate named Princeton who moves into an apartment at Avenue Q (because it’s the only place he can afford). He falls in love with his neighbor Kate Monster, who graduated long ago but has dreams of her down that can’t seem to come true. Other characters come in and out of the story and are just as fully developed, but these two are the heart of the show. Everyone is bound to have their favorite character. My personal favorite is Christmas Eve (ironically, not a puppet), a Japanese woman who embodies the typical foreign stereotype. On the surface she seems like a shrill annoyance, but throughout the show I got the sense she knew more about her neighbors then they did sometimes, and becomes an unlikely supportive figure.
For many people Trekkie Monster is the favorite, most likely because he gets to sing (with Kate) the shockingly funny show stopping number “The Internet Is For Porn.” If there is a sour spot in the show it’s from Lucy The Slut, who is not only an aggravating character, but is one of those characters whose only purpose is to get in the way of the heroes ultimate resolution. All I can say is the payoff she gets is satisfying enough for what we have to put up with. Now we must discuss this unavoidable topic: Is this show suitable for kids? I’m going to go out on a limb and say, no, it’s CLEARLY not for kids! I don’t care how mature they are, this show is made for adults. Maybe mature teens are an exception to the rule, but by and large parents should take their kids to see “The Lion King” and see this one themselves.
On September 13th, 2009 the show closed it’s run on Broadway after more then 2,500 performances. This makes it the 20th longest running show on Broadway. Thankfully the show lives on in Off-Broadway, and the various country tours. Thankfully this show will age more gracefully then other long running shows. If for no other reason then the cast changes won’t matter much in the long run. Actors will come and go, but the puppets will be forever.
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