Avenue Q : Musical Paper

Topics: Avenue Q, Broadway theatre, Jeff Marx Pages: 6 (934 words) Published: June 4, 2013
Guillaume Jacob
Drama 2
4/16/13
Avenue Q

Created by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, who wrote the music and lyrics,

Avenue Q is a comedic American musical that opened in March 2003 at the Eugene

O’Neill Theater in Waterford, Connecticut, before being transferred to Broadway in

July of that same year. The book was written by Jeff Whitty and the show directed by

Jason Moore. The show won Three Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original

Score and Best Book of a Musical. It ran in Broadway till September 13, 2009, for a total of

2534 performances in a little more than 6 years, before reopening Off-Broadway in October

at New World Stages.

Avenue Q draws its originality from its use of puppets alongside actors,

parodying the concept of children television shows featuring puppets, like Sesame

Street or The Muppet Show (even though the production officially disclaims any connection

with both). All the puppets have been designed and made by original cast member Rick

Lyon, each puppet takes 120 hours of hand fabrication. The puppets are animated and

voiced by actors who manipulate them on stage in full view of the audience like hand

puppets, some puppets may require more than one puppeteer actor to control them and

some actors may have to voice more than one puppet. However, during production

numbers or scenes when two puppets supposed to be voiced & manipulated by the same

actor are on scene together, another actor would manipulate one of the two puppets

temporarily while the other actor would still voice it. The non-puppeteer actors, like Brian

or Gary Coleman, are supposed to ignore the presence of the puppeteer actors and interact

directly with the puppets.
The story is centered on the life of the Avenue Q’s residents and their everyday

struggles with life. Princeton is a recent college graduate whose English degree

doesn’t open many job opportunities to him; he ends up in Avenue Q, where the

residents are very extravagant. The other residents include Gary Coleman,

the former child actor star of the 70-80’s television sitcom Diff’rent Strokes and the

building superintendent; Katie Monster, a kindergarten teaching assistant desperate

to find a boyfriend; Trekkie Monster, a furry reclusive who spends his days and

nights browsing the internet for pornographic content; Rod, a repressed

homosexual republican banker ; Nicky, a messy and lazy person, he is Rod’s

roommate; Brian, a low unemployed comedian who aspires to celebrity;

Christmas Eve, a Japanese immigrant therapist and Brian’s fiancé;

and a few other secondary characters introduced throughout the show.

The main plotline is about Princeton’s obsession with finding his purpose in life, and

his relationship with Kate Monster. The subplot involves Rod trying to overcome his

denial of his sexuality, and his incapability to confess his love to his roommate

Nicky. The original Broadway show featured John Tartaglia voicing and

manipulating Princeton & Rod; Stephanie D’Abruzzo voicing and manipulating Kate

Monster & Lucy T. Slut; Rick Lyon voicing and manipulating Nicky, Trekkie Monster

& Bad Idea Bear 1; Natalie Venetia Belcon as Gary Coleman; Ann Harada as

Chrismas Eve; Jordan Gelber as Brian; and Jennifer Barnhart as Mrs. Thistletwat &

Bad Idea Bear 2. D’Abruzzo, Lyon, Tartaglia and Barnhart were originally Sesame Street

performers before joining Avenue Q. The most popular songs are “If You Were Gay”,

“Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and “The Internet is for Porn”.

Avenue Q was originally designed as a television series before being developed

as a stage production. The show satirizes the problems met by young adults as they

enter adulthood when they were being...
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