Last night my roommate and I had the pleasure of taking in one of Broadway's newest musical smashes, Avenue Q, at the Ahmanson Theatre. You can learn more about it, get tickets and show times, and all that jazz at the Center Theatre Group's website.
Winning the Tony for best new musical, I knew this was a show I had to see, especially considering my musical theatre roots (of which I don't discuss too much for obvious reasons.) I've included a video that they used to run before the London perfomances. It doesn't run anymore, but it should shed some light on just what exactly this musical thing is all about.
But still, as you look at the photo above, and what I wondered from the get go, could I really sit there and get past the fact that there were people visible behind these puppets, singing and moving with them?
The results were shocking, honestly. You get to a point where you forget the actors are there- you tune them out. Or better yet- when a puppet takes 2 people to operate it, as some do, you can revel in the sheer creative brilliance that derives from two performers working in unison. Call it the acting version of a syncopated melody.
My common complaint about musicals is that they run too long. Even the funny ones. After 2 & 1/2 hours, I find myself uncomfortable and ready to leave. Avenue Q ran at about 2 hours- perfect length for this type of show. And because it was so funny and creative in it's performance, it didn't even feel that long.
The music was great, and I found many of the songs interesting from start to finish. Most musicals often hit that low point where the female lead sings some ballad no one cares about, or a song that could be one line long and it would serve the same purpose. Not here. In fact, I almost liked the ballads more than the actual up beat "musical-y" songs.
All in all, it's a show worth seeing cause it takes ideas from our youth like Sesame Street, Electric Company, and The Muppets come to life. No, this isn't a show to bring your kids to, but at the same time, I'd leave Grandma at home too. Something about seeing 2 puppets fuck always gets to me.
Wanna hear more? Give the soundtrack a listen, or go check it out while it's still playing in Los Angeles, on Broadway, or in London.
Download the Original Broadway Cast Recording