Home > Carol Davis, Theatre > On the Q.T., everything’s good on the ‘Avenue’

On the Q.T., everything’s good on the ‘Avenue’

Avenue Q Cast (John Daughtry photo)

Carol Davis

By Carol Davis

SAN DIEGO—Way back in 2007 The Old Globe Theatre, as part of its season, brought the Tony Award winning (Book of a musical and original score) musical, “Avenue Q” to San Diego in its West Coast Premiere. At that time Executive Producer of the Old Globe Lou Spisto said that  “Avenue Q” belonged in a downtown venue rather that at the theatre in the park, and so it was. If you missed it then, or are not planning to see it now, it’s a show worthy of seeing because its brings fun, makes fun and gives pause to some of the pressing questions we are faced with today. Overall it’s an equal opportunity offender of the more gentle kind.

“The New York Times hailed “Avenue Q” as a breakthrough musical of a very different stripe. Savvy, sassy and delicious”. With music and lyrics by Robert Lopez, book by Jeff Whitty based on the original concept by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, “Avenue Q” opened on Broadway in 2003. It played on Broadway until 2009 did a stint in Las Vegas (all wrong) and is now back in New York still pleasing audiences. In case you missed the memo it’s an adult puppet show.

Here’s the set up. Princeton (Brent Michael DiRoma) a recent college graduate can’t find work or decent affordable (for him) housing. According to Princeton, he started looking for an apartment on Avenue “A” now finds himself on Avenue “Q” (Anna Louizos designed a clever looking tenement neighborhood) where there is one vacancy and it is in his budget. Princeton feels pretty lucky. He has a job (right out of college) that he is expected to start the next day.

Princeton’s neighbors are a cross section of Americana right in the heart of New York. His super is Gary Coleman (yup that one) played by Nigel Jamaal Clark. Neighbors include Rod, a conservative closet gay investment banker (Brent Michael DiRoma), his roommate Nicky, (Michel Liscio, Jr. He also plays Trekkie Monster) who is between jobs, openly gay and a slob; Brian (Tim Kornblum) a wannabe comedian who is Jewish and his soon to be wife Christmas Eve (Julianna Lee) a Japanese therapist with no clients and Kate Monster (Jacqueline Grabois is also Lucy the Slut, or ‘girl gone wild’).

Kate is a part time assistant kindergarten teacher who falls head over heels for Princeton but has to battle Lucy the Slut before she can get him. Others supporting this elite cast of puppets and adding to the overall enjoyment include a pair of Good News, Bad News Bears.

When Princeton asks what his purpose is in life, (after he was informed that the company he was going to work for had been downsized and he lost the job he never started) a pair of screens drop down with the word P U R P O S E spelled out, not unlike the “Q’s” sister show for children, “Sesame Street”. Sesame Street has been entertaining and teaching youngsters for over forty years. My youngest grandson has a thing for Elmo.

The question begs from the outset of this show,  “What do we do now that we are all grown up and need to fend for ourselves?” From the opening song, “Can’t pay the bills yet/ cause I don’t have the skills yet” to “It sucks to be me” to “The Internet Is Porn” to the little videos that drop down from time to time, to first time sex between puppets (DO NOT BRING CHILDREN) to love and rejection to coming out to political references, the show has fun written all over it, yet it is not without serious undertones along all these lines. The good news is the puppets get it all worked out. Too bad news is the grownups can’t seem to do the same after all this time.

Overall the cast living on “Avenue Q” is A1. This is puppetry at its best. For an evening on the town, make your way to “Avenue Q” downtown.

See you at the theatre. 

Dates: July 6th – 11th.

Organization: Broadway San Diego

Phone: 619-570-1100

Production Type: Musical comedy

Where: 3rd and B Street, downtown San Diego

Ticket Prices: $18.00-$76.00

Broadwaysandiego.com

Venue: San Diego Civic Theatre

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Theatre critic Davis is based in San Diego

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