PHOTO: Nick Schommer enacts the searching puppet character
“Avenue Q” is a strong show.
- Strong story: Young, sexual/horny, searching, confused/committed.
- Strong production: Many moving parts, multimedia, sensational and smartly crafted set, sophisticated use of puppets, movement fused with acting. A general feeling of fullness.
- Strong acting: The themes of the story, the age span of characters, the sizzle of this being the hot “Avenue Q”! fit right into the wheelhouse of the cast.
- Strong language: The story is set in
Put all that stuff together in a full house, as Friday night in University Theatre on campus, and the atmosphere is A-LIVE.
Princeton, Nick Schommer; Kate Monster, Chelsea Crevcoure; Rod, Tyler Miles; Nicky Emmanuel Zamora; Gary Coleman, Erin Sunisa; Christmas Eve, Leah LaMalfa; Brian, Randall J. Tranowski; Trekkie Monster, Evan Ash; Lucy, Stephanie Frank; Bear, Mrs. T and others, Conrad Kamschulte; Bear, Ricky New Kid and others, Hannah Blecha; Ensemble, Kristen Woodward.
Music and lyrics, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx; book, Jeff Whitty; original concept, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx; orchestration and arrangements, Stephen Oremus; puppet concept and design, Rick Lyon; animation design, Robert Lopez.
Director, Laura Riddle; music director, Courtney Sherman; choreographer, Denise Carlson-Gardner; scenic and lighting designer, Jeffrey Paul Entwistle; costume designer, Janice Pytel; lighting designer, R. Michael Ingraham; technical director, R. Michael Ingraham; sound designer, Drew Arnold; properties designer, Jeffrey Paul Entwistle; assistant technical director, David Cook; assistant to the costume designer, Cody Von Ruden; stage manager, Chad Bishop; band: Courtney Sherman, conductor; Emily Sculliuffo, keyboard; Kyle Sweeney, keyboard; Sam Stranz, reeds; Matt Hayes, guitar; Seth Parmer, bass; Bobby Magers, drums and percussion.
“The Avenue Q Theme” – Company
“What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?”–
“It Sucks to Be Me” – Brian, Kate Monster, Rod, Nicky, Christmas Eve, Gary Coleman and
“If You Were Gay” – Nicky with Rod
“Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” –
“The Internet Is for Porn” – Kate, Trekkie Monster, Brian, Gary Coleman, Rod and
“Mix Tape” – Kate and
“I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today” – Brian
“Special” – Lucy
“You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Makin’ Love)” – Gary, The Bad Idea Bears, Princeton, Kate and Company
“Fantasies Come True” – Rod, Kate, Nicky and
“My Girlfriend, Who Lives in
“There’s a Fine, Fine Line” – Kate
“It Sucks to Be Me” (Reprise) –
“There is Life Outside Your Apartment” – Brian, Princeton, Christmas Eve, Gary, Nicky, Trekkie Monster, Lucy and Company
“The More You Ruv Someone” – Christmas Eve and Kate
“I Wish I Could Go Back to College” – Kate, Nicky and
“The Money Song” – Nicky,
“School for Monsters” – Trekkie Monster and Company
“The Money Song” (Reprise) – Nicky, Princeton,
“There’s a Fine, Fine Line” (Reprise) –
“What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?” (Reprise) – Newcomer
“For Now” – Company
- One of the fascinating elements of the production is the interplay of the puppets and their human counterparts, who are seen. This is an example of supreme multitasking. The performers are two personages in one in performance – plus being their living being in real life; it’s very cosmic. Sometimes you watch the puppet, and sometimes you watch the actor. Either way, it’s a riveting experience.
- The show is very much a product of “
- The cool thing about seeing top-notch collegiate productions is how well developed they are. The student casts and their directors and creative teams have spent weeks concentrating on one object, honing it and honing it. This happens over and over, from campus to campus. When a hot/hit item like “Avenue Q” comes along – whoa, is it fun.
- VENTILATORS! Facilities managers need to be aware that when a bunch of people suddenly fill a theater, the place needs more ventilation. This happens often with big-crowd performances. Slooooowwwwwly, the good air gets sucked out of the place, and the comfort level becomes the discomfort level. It happened Friday with “Avenue Q.”
- The song titles above give you an idea of the 31 flavors in this show.
- The use of Monsters plays on racial things. Clever. How a key Monster invests his money in a fluctuating market turns out to be a profound irony.
- This is an impressive production (4½ stars out of 5). It’s smart, well made and absorbing from start to finish.
THE VENUE: The 450-seat University Theatre features banked seating and a proscenium (flat front) stage that’s 50 feet across and 23 feet high. The seats are red, the concrete gray, the ceiling a semi-dark blue, covering ventilating/electrical equipment. Concrete dominates the room – the floor, the walls, the stairs. Theatre Hall and University Theatre inside it are of a 1970s angular functionality style. Other
REST OF SEASON: “Censored on Final Approach,” Feb. 27-March 8; “DanceWorks,” April 4-5; “Communicating Doors,” April 25-May 3.
You may email me at email@example.com. Watch for my on-air features on WFRV at 6:45 p.m. Thursdays and every other Sunday between 6 and 8 a.m. (usually around 7:45 a.m.)