Avenue Q is a musical that runs rampant with sex, paranoia, jealousy, and insecurities as well as puppets. This adult musical features Muppet-like puppets as well as live actors in a very grown-up spoof of the kid's favorite, Sesame Street. Creators Robert Lopez and Jeff Mark decided to turn Jeff Whitty's comical book into a stage play for the young at heart that also have a mature side. The first performance of Avenue Q was in 2003 at the off-Broadway Vineyard Theatre in New York City.
The show appeared on the Today Show, and various other morning programs. It has received rave reviews from theatre's biggest critics. The acting, set design, costuming, and puppetry have few rivals in the New York theatre scene. The cast album for the Broadway Production hit the Billboard top 20 list in 2003. By 2004 the hype had accelerated. The show was doing well on Broadway. Tickets were selling out left and right. Celebrities appeared in the audience on numerous occasions. And the biggest honor of all, the show was nominated for 6 Tony Awards.
The musical is centered around the character of Gary Coleman (based on the real person from the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes), played by a live actor (not a puppet). Coleman is the super of a run-down apartment building who complains constantly of being swindled out of money by his grubbing parents. The music of the show comes alive in Coleman's solo, 'Schadenfreude', where he delights in the misfortunes of others. The hero of the story, if you can call him that, is Princeton, a college graduate who only wishes to be back at the University. Kate Monster takes his mind off of his wishing as he lusts after her. Kate is a teacher but dislikes her current job and sings of her dream of running a school for monster children in 'Monstersory School'.
The show is fleshed out by a cast of supporting characters including the seductress Lucy, neighbor and rival of Kate, and roommates Nicky and Rod. The side plot for the roomies arises through Nicky's open homosexuality, while Rod still hides in the metaphorical closet, singing songs like 'My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada'. The hairy Trekkie Monster also lends a hand to the cast showing his good nature and generosity. The only drawback to his perfect personality is his insatiable addiction to internet pornography. Diversity is certainly present in the cast with the stereotypical, heavily accented Japanese character, Christmas Eve, who sings the riotous 'The More You Ruv Somebody'. Christmas Eve's live-in boyfriend Brian is a stand up comic who lives up to his career choice with such side-splitting songs as 'I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today'.
The characters are followed around by an army of invisible and cruel baby bears who hover over them and try to lead them astray. The malicious antics of the bears lead into the show's moral messages with songs like 'Everyone's A Little Bit Racist'. The moral themes and ethical messages are an important part of the show's integrity. It's not just an avant-garde, adult-themed musical trying to entertain an audience. Avenue Q attempts to leave its audience with a message of inspiration and acceptance. The fabricated world of Avenue Q is an inviting one when the curtains fall. The audience wishes to stay with their newfound friends in the wacky world where puppets and humans live together in quasi-harmony and understanding.