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Avenue Q Edit

Stage Puppet Musical (2003).
Music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx.

Plot/SynopsisEdit

Act OneEdit

The lights dim and the two television screens flanking the stage illuminate with an animated cartoon of Mr. Sun heading home to Avenue Q, parodying the introduction to Sesame Street as the cast sings the opening theme ("The Avenue Q Theme").

We first meet Princeton, a recent college graduate with a useless B.A. degree in English, who still remains optimistic that he will eventually "make a difference to the human race." ("What Do You Do with a BA in English?/It Sucks to Be Me") In the second part of the song, we are introduced to the rest of the cast: Kate Monster, a cute member of the "Monster race" who can't get a date; Nicky and Rod, two roommates who are fed up with each other; Christmas Eve, a Japanese immigrant who came to this country to get a job as a therapist but has no clients; her unemployed fiancé (Brian); and finally, Gary Coleman, from T.V.'s Diff'rent Strokes, who is now an apartment superintendent and sick of people coming up to him to say "What'chyou talkin' about Willis?"

The uptight Rod tries to relax by reading his favorite book, Broadway Musicals of the 1940s when Nicky comes home and tries to engage Rod in conversation about a gay guy he met on the subway. Rod is strangely uncomfortable talking about homosexuality, but Nicky persists, and lets his roommate know that it would be perfectly fine with Nicky if Rod were gay, which Rod emphatically denies. ("If you were Gay")

Princeton is struggling to find what to do with his life. The TV monitors explain to him that he needs to find a purpose because that is what everyone has. He finds a lucky penny and decides things are looking up in his search ("Purpose"). He is suddenly approached by the Bad Idea Bears, two very cute but very evil teddy bears who encourage him to spend his savings on a six-pack rather than put it in the bank.

Kate gets called up by Mrs. Thistletwat, the kindergarten teacher, who says that she will not be around in the morning due to her having heart replacement surgery and that Kate (her assistant) may teach whatever subject she likes. Kate wants to teach something "relevant" and "modern", and decides upon the Internet. But Trekkie Monster, the porn-loving monster, soon destroys any sort of positive credibility for "this new technology." ("The Internet is for Porn")

Rod talks to wannabe-therapist Christmas Eve for advice about a "friend" he has who's gay and in the closet, when he's clearly talking about himself. Christmas Eve doesn't pick up on this and inadvertently insults Rod's "friend," thereby insulting Rod himself.

Kate has a feeling Princeton has a crush on her, and when he comes over to deliver a mix tape, she's sure of it. But then she starts reading the songs. Could the song list be a clue? Princeton uses her bathroom returns to read the second side of the tape which gives a much clearer signal. Princeton then asks Kate to go out with him to the Around the Clock Café that night. "He likes me!" Kate decides. ("Mix Tape")

Everyone is ready for the show to begin at the Around the Clock Cafe. Brian gives the opening act, which could be deemed as revealing a little too much information. ("I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today") In the face of the audience's lacklustre response, Brian introduces the star of "Girls Gone Wild, parts 2, 5, and 7..." Lucy the Slut. Lucy takes the stage, singing "Special", and makes everyone feel a little better about themselves. (And she makes Trekkie feel quite a bit of himself.) After the set, Kate and Princeton are ready to go home after an enjoyable evening, but the Bad Idea Bears arrive to suggest that they should have some harmless Long Island Iced Teas (Absinthe Daiquiris in the London show) and play some drinking games. After the first round, Kate says it's her treat for the next round. While Kate is away retrieving the next set of drinks, Lucy latches onto Princeton, telling him when he's ready for a real woman, she'll be around.

In their drunken state, Kate and Princeton are convinced by the Bad Idea Bears to go home and have sex. Gary Coleman (backed up by the Bad Idea Bears) is called by other tenants to tell Princeton and Kate to stop making love so loudly. Gary refuses. Brian and Christmas Eve are also getting some action on the side. And Trekkie Monster seems to be enjoying himself just fine. ("You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Making Love)")

An animated TV short illustrates the differing perspectives of a man and woman through a The Electric Company parody: a sillhoutted male head on the left states very clearly, "come" while the silhouetted female head on the right stubbornly insists, "mitment." They repeat this several times until the female takes over and says, "commitment."

Rod cannot sleep, and Nicky snores loudly in the bed next to him. Before Rod can shake him to wake him up, Nicky begins to talk in his sleep... about Rod! Nicky is fantasizing about Rod, and Rod is jubilant because his dreams are finally coming true. Meanwhile, Kate and Princeton lie in bed and explain how happy they are with each other. Princeton gives Kate his lucky penny as a gift to let her know how much she means to him. Kate begins singing the same jubilant chorus as Rod, but sadly for Rod, his is only a dream, as he discovers when Nicky shakes him awake. ("Fantasies Come True")

The next morning, Kate wakes to Mrs. Thistletwat's voice on the phone, yelling at her that she missed the morning classes she was supposed to teach. Kate, angered by all this, quits her job. Princeton calls her very brave and asks her to be his girlfriend and to accompany him to Brian and Christmas Eve's wedding.

Everyone is present for Brian and Christmas Eve (who is apparently dressing for Christmas and Independence Day in addition to the wedding), including the rabbi Gary Coleman (he apparently does everything in Avenue Q). Everyone calls over Nicky, wondering if there's any truth to the rumour that Rod is gay. Nicky confirms that without a doubt, Rod is a closeted homosexual; Rod overhears him and is dumbstruck. "I am not...a closeted homo-whatever!" He in fact has a girlfriend no one has ever heard of or seen; he quickly creates a girlfriend named Alberta who lives in Vancouver. ("My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada") The wedding ends with some awkwardness, especially when Rod throws Nicky out of their apartment.

Princeton gets scared by the two TVs that animatedly transform the word "purpose" into "propose", and it doesn't help when Kate snatches the bride's bouquet from a girl. Scared of commitment, Princeton breaks up with Kate. A disappointed Kate ends the first act with a note of defiance. ("There's a Fine, Fine Line")

Act TwoEdit

At the top of act two, Princeton sits alone in his apartment. ("It Sucks to Be Me (Reprise)") After two weeks, he is broke, in debt, unemployed, single, and purposeless. Brian arrives to cheer him up. When that doesn't work, an intervention is set in motion. Christmas Eve, nster, Nicky, and Gary Coleman arrive to take Princeton back outside to enjoy himself. On the way, they meet Lucy the Slut, and Princeton decides to take her home with him ("There is Life Outside Your Apartment"). Kate sees Princeton and Lucy on the way into his apartmen can be so angry with Princeton but does not hate him. Christmas Eve explains that the reason Kate is angry at Princeton is that she loves him so much ("The More You Ruv Someone"). Kate comes to Princeton's apartment to give him a letter, inviting him to meet her at the top of the Empire State Building. He is in the shower when Kate arrives, so she gives the letter to Lucy, who promptly destroys it.

Nicky has been staying with Brian since he was kicked out, but Christmas Eve can't take having a puppet in the apartment anymore. They throw him out on the street, and Nicky has to beg for money. Gary Coleman sees Nicky's downtrodden state and laughs that he cannot help feeling a sense of satisfaction from the sight. ("Schadenfreude")

Lucy has abandoned Princeton, who goes out looking for her. Kate, angry that Princeton seems to have stood her up, throws the penny he gave her off the Empire State Building. Yards below, an unsuspecting Lucy being pursued by Princeton gets hit in the head by the falling penny. At the hospital, Kate visits Princeton and they attempt to work out their problems, but Princeton has not matured; he is not ready for commitment. Nicky and Rod encounter each other, and Nicky tries to apologize, but Rod won't hear of it. He consults with Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve tells him everything is going to be okay. Nicky is out on the street, Kate is alone on the balcony, and Princeton sits at Lucy's bedside. All of them ponder what it would be like to go back to happier, easier times. ("I Wish I Could Go Back to College")

Passing Nicky in the street, Princeton has a revelation: He should be worrying about other people. He's going to raise the money to build Kate's monster school. Nicky realizes too he shouldn't just be begging on the street; he needs to find a way to get back to his apartment. "I know! I'll find Rod a boyfriend!" Together with Gary Coleman, Brian, and Christmas Eve, they raise some money, even going out into the audience for it. ("The Money Song (You Can't Help Helping Yourself)") It's not enough, but there's one more person to hit up: Trekkie. He refuses to help, of course, until he finds out the cause is a monster school. He was not accepted at the simple public school he attended, where normal children pulled his fur and made fun of him. ("School for Monsters") He gives them US$10 million for the project, ironically gained by investing in porn in the stock market. ("The Money Song (Reprise)")

The school is complete, and everyone reveals it for Kate. Christmas Eve and Brian then announce that they are leaving Avenue Q for the Lower East Side. Brian is becoming a consultant, and Christmas Eve has a single paying client, a high-paying client with a lot of problems. Everyone believes it's Rod, who arrives on the scene with champagne. He finally reveals that he is gay. No surprise. But he's definitely going to lighten up and invite Nicky back in. And that's great, because Nicky has a surprise for him, a boyfriend: Ricky, who looks just like Nicky only more muscular. Meanwhile, the Bad Idea Bears have found scientology and Lucy was saved from the penny with only the mean parts of her brain removed. She's teaching yoga now. Kate cannot believe the monster school is finally a reality and definitely cannot believe it when they tell her Princeton devised the whole project. Princeton asks her for a second chance, and Kate says they'll take it a day at a time. ("There's a Fine, Fine Line (Reprise)").

A young kid, just out of college with a useless BA in English, comes to look at Brian and Christmas Eve's for-rent apartment, and Princeton has a revelation. This kid is in the same position he was, and he must pass on everything he's learned. He has found his purpose: To put all of his knowledge into a Show. This is met by a resounding no from everyone present, and the Kid angrily departs with a One finger salute

Princeton is depressed again, despairing that he may never find his purpose, but the others encourage him to cheer up. Life may be bad now, but everything in life (except for death and paying taxes), is only "For Now"

Character ListEdit

  • Princeton, a recently graduated English major who wouldn't find his purpose in his life.
  • Kate Monster, a lovelorn kindergarten teaching assistant who wishes to create a school for monsters; Parody of Prairie Dawn.
  • Rod, a Republican investment banker who is secretly gay. Parody of Bert.
  • Nicky, Rod's roommate, a messy slacker; Parody of Ernie.
  • Lucy the Slut, a nightclub singer who is as slutty as her name suggests; "Lucy's like what would have happened if Prairie Dawn on Sesame Street had grown up and gone bad."[1]
  • Gary Coleman, the former star of Diff'rent Strokes, is the building superintendent of Avenue Q; a non-puppet character played by a female on Broadway, but a male in the West End.
  • Brian, a down-on-his-luck Jewish 32-year-old who has trouble keeping steady employment and dreams of being a stand-up comedian. Engaged to Christmas Eve. A non-puppet character.
  • Christmas Eve, a Japanese immigrant and Brian's fiancée. She is a therapist who has no clients; a non-puppet character.
  • The Bad Idea Bears, the two adorable and sinister bears who can convince anyone to do something bad in the most adorable way.
  • Trekkie Monster, who spends most of his time on the internet looking at porn; Parody of Cookie Monster.
  • Mrs. Thistletwat ('Lavinia'), a Kindergarten teacher with Kate as her assistant.
  • The Newcomer, the young man resembling Princeton that comes to Avenue Q planning to move into the vacant apartment.
  • Ricky, the new boyfriend that Nicky has found for Rod via the internet. He looks an awful lot like Nicky, hence the name similarities. When Nicky presents him to Rod, he says "Oh, I think I know your type."

SongsEdit

Act I

  • "The Avenue Q Theme" - Company
  • "What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?" - Princeton
  • "It Sucks to Be Me" - Brian, Kate Monster, Rod, Nicky, Christmas Eve, Gary Coleman and Princeton
  • "If You Were Gay" - Nicky and Rod
  • "Purpose" - Princeton and Company
  • "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" - Princeton, Kate Monster, Gary Coleman, Brian and Christmas Eve
  • "The Internet Is for Porn" - Kate Monster, Trekkie Monster, and The Guys
  • "Mix Tape" - Kate Monster and Princeton
  • "I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today" - Brian
  • "Special" - Lucy the Slut
  • "You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Makin' Love)" - Gary Coleman, Bad Idea Bears, and Company
  • "Fantasies Come True" - Rod, Kate Monster, Nicky and Princeton
  • "My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada" - Rod
  • "There's a Fine, Fine Line" - Kate Monster

Act II

  • "It Sucks to Be Me (Reprise)" - Princeton
  • "There Is Life Outside Your Apartment" - Brian and Company
  • "The More You Ruv Someone" - Christmas Eve and Kate Monster
  • "Schadenfreude" - Gary Coleman and Nicky
  • "I Wish I Could Go Back to College" - Kate Monster, Nicky and Princeton
  • "The Money Song" - Nicky, Princeton, Gary Coleman and Company
  • "School for Monsters" - Trekkie Monster and Company
  • "The Money Song (Reprise)" - Trekkie Monster and Company
  • "There's a Fine, Fine Line (Reprise)" - Princeton and Kate Monster
  • "What Do You Do With a B.A. in English? (Reprise)" - Newcomer
  • "For Now" - Kate Monster, Brian, Gary Coleman, Nicky, Rod, Christmas Eve, Trekkie Monster, Lucy the Slut, The Bad Idea Bears, Princeton and Company

London ProductionEdit

A third production began performances in June 2006 in London's West End at the Noël Coward Theatre (recently renamed from the Albery Theatre - Avenue Q is its first production) with Cameron Mackintosh at the helm. The show previewed on June 1 2006 and received its European premiere on 28 June 2006. Avenue Q is currently booking in London until July 28, 2007. It is only the third production of the musical in the world, and the first outside the United States. The production also unveiled a brand new logo for the show (visible on the production's UK website), presumably since the original logo, styled after the New York City Subway system graphics, would have little resonance with a London audience, however both logos are used.

The most noticeable initial change was that Gary Coleman was assumed not to be well known enough for a UK audience, and the character was changed to just "Gary - that famous kid from TV" and cast as a male actor instead of a female. This also caused a rewrite of the orchestration's nod to Diff'rent Strokes in "It Sucks To Be Me".

In subsequent performances however, after audience polling, the character's name was changed back to Gary Coleman, and the original dialogue of his catchphrase: "Whatchoo talkin' about Willis?" has been reinstated after a trial of "Try havin' people stopping you and saying "I thought you was dead!". His line in "It Sucks To Be Me" is however different from the Broadway Show, stating - "I was the cutest little black kid on TV. I made a zillion dollars that my parents stole from me. My life was over when I hit puberty. But I'm here, fixing the toilets, on Avenue Q!"

Also changed in "It Sucks To Be Me" is Christmas Eve's line 'Tried to work in Chinese Restaurant' instead of 'Korean Deli'. There are slight alterations all the way through however, for example 'Those stupid Polacks' in 'Everyone's A Little Bit Racist' to 'Those French people are such assholes', Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx stated this change was not for any cultural reason, they just thought it was funnier.

In 'The Internet Is for Porn', instead of being embarrassed about what he did after sending Kate the e-card, Princeton nods his head vigorously with his mouth open. In 'Special', Lucy headlined in The Vatican City instead of Celebration, Florida and London instead of Bangkok. And at the beginning of intermission, an animation shows the word 'Intermission' colliding with 'val', leaving the more-British 'Interval.'

A few bits of music were cut for example the middle of 'Schadenfreude' (Straight A students getting B's, cutting off Oscar speech etc) and 'Watching A Frat Boy Realize...' was changed to 'Seeing a Drunk Guy realise...' Also the pacing of 'Purpose' is longer and slower in the beginning than in the original version. Everyone applauds when Rod comes out of the closet instead of staying silent. The music at the beginning of 'Life outside your apartment' is also slightly rockier than the original. The changes mostly come from the Las Vegas version of the show.

Cast:

Awards
  • The London cast of Avenue Q won the the Variety Club Showbiz Theatre Award for 2006. The entire cast accepted the award - along with Jason Moore, the original director - and performed "It Sucks To Be Me" immediately afterwards.

ProductionsEdit

Broadway Production

London Production

Las Vegas Production

VideosEdit

TrailersEdit

LinksEdit

Broadway Musical
Musical Theatre Audition

ReviewsEdit

New York Times Review
New Yorker Review
Talkin' Broadway Review
CurtainUp London Review
Times Review
Independent Review

VideosEdit

Original Broadway Cast 2004
Broadwayworld.com video
Tony Awards Video
London Cast 2006
BBC Newsnight Review
Opening Night London
Royal Variety Performance 2006
Word of Mouth Review

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