They’re back and furrier than ever. If anyone still wonders how and why these puppets could have beaten the popular musical Wicked for Best Musical at the Tony Awards in 2004, then run to the Landsburgh Theatre and see for yourself. You’ll have so much fun that you’ll forget all about witches and broomsticks and wizards, and you’ll laugh yourself silly.
Avenue Q continues to find a large audience for several reasons: the puppetry medium that emphasizes its now-trademark vulgarity, its politically incorrect songbook, and the meta-humor that deconstructs the state of modern Broadway shows. The performances are top-notch in this national touring production.
Princeton (voiced/puppeteered by Brent Michael DiRoma) is a recent college graduate who’s found an apartment in his price range, on the fictional Avenue Q in an outer borough of NYC. Despite his post-graduate optimism, he is hit with the harsh reality that the real world is a tough place. He has yet to find his purpose in life (a theme that resonates throughout the entire show), but finds romance in his furry neighbor Kate Monster (voiced/operated by Jacqueline Grabois). Kate is an earnest teacher at the local elementary school, but has always shied away from her dreams of creating a school dedicated entirely to the advancement of monsters. Meanwhile, Rod (DiRoma) is having trouble putting up with his messy roommate Nicky (Michael Liscio), while battling with his sexual orientation. And then there’s the big, furry and over-loud loner Trekkie Monster (Michael Licio, Jr.) who has a keen interest in an X-rated hobby.
Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s clever, funny, hummable award-winning score is filled with themes of racism (‘Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist’), making love loudly (‘You Can Be as Loud As You Want’), and the darker side of human nature (‘Schadenfreude’).
DiRoma shines in ‘Fantasies Come True’ Rod’s hilarious dream complete with fog machines and figure skating. Grabois is a loveable Kate Monster, and her rendition of “ ‘There’s a Fine Fine Line’ is poignant and heartbreaking. Understudy Julianna Lee (Asian therapist Christmas Eve), who had many of the show’s funniest zingers, had the audience in hysterics with “The More You Ruv Someone”. Who couldn’t relate with a woman who puts up with an unemployed husband who just won’t find a job?
I’m happy to report that the intimate Lansburgh Theatre with its pitch-perfect acoustics is the perfect fit for Avenue Q.
This wonderful production is in fine hands with original Broadway director Jason Moore at the helm, and with its seasoned cast of actors/singer/puppeteers – this most recent DC run of Avenue Q is the perfect excuse to leave the kids at home and enjoy an adult night out with those loveable residents of Avenue Q.
book by Jeff Whitty
music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
directed by Jason Moore
Avenue Q is scheduled to run through August 15, 2010.
Click here for details, directions and tickets.