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Volume 34
Issue 15
 
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EXPLORING NEW YORK CITY - Avenue Q: Muppet Nostalgia
EXPLORING NEW YORK CITY - Avenue Q: Muppet Nostalgia
by E. Joyce Glasgow - SGN A&E Writer

If you grew up with the Muppets and have a certain nostalgia for them, you'll probably enjoy this puppet and human musical. To be clear, Jim Hensen's organization has a prominently posted disclaimer about any association with this Muppet-"like" show next to the theatre box office and in the program.

A puppet show for adults, the audience follows the stories of young 20-something puppets through their trials and tribulations facing adulthood. One is seeking his life purpose, another is seeking love and an end to loneliness and one is coming to terms with his closeted homosexuality and the Gay roommate who loves him. They are all dealing with the issues of starting out in New York City, like finding a cheap place to live, (on the fictional Avenue Q), finding a job, dealing with the neighbors, et cetera.

There is a large, hairy, Grinch-like character who spends his days pleasuring himself while watching porno on his TV and two puppets who hilariously simulate intercourse at one point, bringing the "adult" into this adult puppet show.

All the actors/singers operating the puppets are talented, fresh and enthusiastic and the puppets are lively and animated. However, how this play won the Tony Award for Best Musical of 2004, I'll never know. (There must not have been too much competition that year). The music is unremarkable, with a cute and cheerful feeling to it.

The whole play has a superficial gloss to it. It felt to me like being in the audience for the taping of a live television show, everything very cute, slick, smiley, perky, Disney-like and commercial. Sure, Avenue Q has its moments of being funny and entertaining, but unless hand puppets really attract you, I'd save my theatre money and time for meatier Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals and dramas.

One thing that I appreciated is that Avenue Q is drawing 20 and 30-something's in droves and it is good to see young people attending and supporting theatre with such enthusiasm.

Note to Avenue Q: Please get rid of those shameful nods to AT&T and other big corporations, whose logos you prominently display on screens, slyly and blatantly working them into the beginning of your show. It really makes me doubt the integrity, purpose and goals of your show.



Avenue Q is playing at the John Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th St., N.Y.C., 212)-239-6200, www.avenueq.com.

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