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‘Avenue Q’ ends first weekend, opens second

Photo by Emily Sabanegh

By Hannah Fierle, For The Miami Student

Miami University's Department of Theatre debuted the Broadway musical "Avenue Q" Thursday, with three additional performances this weekend beginning 7:30 p.m., April 23.

After the first weekend of the production, director Saffron Henke was pleased with the quality and reception of the first three performances.

"I thought the show went well and the cast handled the opening night nerves beautifully," Henke said. "It was fun to have responses to moments we'd been working for months."

The music and lyrics from Avenue Q were originally written by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, while the book was written by Jeff Whitty.

In "Avenue Q," the main characters discover in their young adulthood that they are not as special and able to conquer the world as their parents and television programs like "Sesame Street" assured them in their childhood.

The musical is unique in that many of the show's characters are puppets, alongside human actors, poking fun at the concept of "Sesame Street's" idealistic views on the world. While the puppets may look innocent and juvenile, they address outrageous, explicit content through many of the show's tongue-in-cheek musical numbers, with titles including "What Do You Do with a B.A. In English?" and "The Internet is for Porn."

The main character is Princeton, a recent college graduate, facing the anxiety and uncertainty of the real world. Finding an apartment in Avenue Q, Princeton is introduced to a variety of colorful characters, banding together to embrace and satirize the struggles of young adulthood.

The show's directors expressed that while the show stars puppets, the performance contains explicit language and mature themes and images and is not suitable for children.

"I think the humor is built into the script, and it is really fun to play it," Henke said. "The audience enjoyed it and was very responsive."

Beginning at the Vineyard Theatre in March 2003, "Avenue Q" was extended four times on Broadway, making it the 23rd longest tenured Broadway show of all time, with over 2,500 performances to date.

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"Avenue Q" finished its Broadway run in Sept. 2009 and was reopened Off-Broadway for the New World Stages in October 2009. The musical has won three Tony awards, two Theatre World Awards and was nominated for a Grammy award. Avenue Q won the 2003 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding New Musical, after receiving critical acclaim and rave reviews.

The upcoming performances begin at 7:30 p.m. April 23-25, and 2 p.m. April 26 at the Gates-Abegglen Theatre. Tickets are available online and at the Miami University Box Office.