On Stage: 'Avenue Q'
Although Avenue Q was inspired by shows beloved by children such as Sesame Street and The Muppets, and although more than twice as many puppets than humans are featured characters, Avenue Q is definitely not a show for youngsters.
It is, however, a wickedly funny and sometimes poignant musical that uses song and interaction between puppets and actors to build a world in which young adults—some made of flesh, some of cloth—deal with the increasingly complicated process of growing up in modern times.
Avenue Q features music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, with book by Jeff Whitty. The puppets were designed and built by one of the original cast members, Rick Lyon, a longtime puppeteer. Additionally, the character list includes Gary Coleman, best known for his work on television's Diff'rent Strokes. The role of Gary Coleman was offered to the actual Gary Coleman, according to Lopez and Marx, but Coleman did not show up for the meeting to discuss the part, so it went to someone else. Coleman later threatened to sue producers of the musical, but never actually filed a case. The day the actor died in 2010, the Off-Broadway production in New York City and the national touring production, in Dallas at the time, dedicated the evening's performances to him.
In 2004, Avenue Q was given Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Musical Score. You can see it onstage at Roxy's Downtown, Fridays through Sundays, from April 12 to May 5th.