Brian and I treated ourselves to show tickets for Avenue Q last night. We originally thought we would not get the chance to see this show, as it was primarily showing in Las Vegas and New York upon opening. However, as most good shows do, it's been on national tour since July 2007. We went to the Wharton Center in Lansing for our show.
The show is inspired by Sesame Street, with puppets and adults living together. However, unlike Sesame Street, these puppets are very naughty. There songs are primarily "adult content", with titles like "The Internet is for Porn," "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," and "It Sucks to Be Me." Lyrics from the racist song that had me roaring "Ethnic jokes may be uncouth, but you laugh because they're based on truth."
The puppeteers are visible on stage, which I only found distracting for about five minutes. Soon I found that they blended right in with their puppets. There is an art to it in that they position their bodies just as the puppet would be, seeming to give them a bottom half. They also use spot on facial expressions, making you imagine that the puppet's face is doing more than just opening and closing their mouth.
The cast is small, which allowed you to bond with each of the characters. I especially loved the "Bad Idea Bears," who spoke in adorable high pitched voices. The bears tried to convince the other puppets to spend all their money on beer and play drinking games with Long Island Iced Tea. My least favorite character was the superintendent, Gary Coleman. The whole has-been-child-actor thing has been overdone.
If you get the opportunity, see this show!! It will be in Chicago next month.