Yesterday i had the opportunity to go with my friend Orian to see one of my favorite musicals, “Avenue Q”, at Haywood Arts Regional Theater (HART) which put on an exceptional production of this–as I describe it–Rated-R version of Sesame Street.
I’ll be honest–I’ve never actually seen the musical in its entirety before. I do, however, know pretty much the entire soundtrack of the Original Broadway Cast from 2003. The songs are upbeat and catchy, talking about different controversial issues from “If You Were Gay” to “The Internet Is For Porn”. All of these songs are intermingled with the lives of multiple monsters, puppet people, and real-life people as they struggle to find their purpose in life.
The puppets (these include the monsters, Bad Idea Bears, and puppet people) are all controlled by actors on the stage. Dressed in a subtle black outfit, these actors move and act along with their puppets making it even more interesting to watch.
One of the most important things in a live show is who to cast. Not only does an actor have to fit nicely with their character but all the actors (especially in an ensemble cast like this one) need to work well together and produce nice chemistry on stage. I was amazed at how talented this group of actors was. Although it was a relatively small group, they brought the show together nicely and effectively.
It also surprised me how the cast on the HART stage so closely resembled the sound of the Original Broadway Cast. I understand that, in a musical like this one, the characters are supposed to be extremely animated and the director (Charles Mills) probably wanted the sound of each character to almost mirror how they had sounded in the past. Having listened to the original soundtrack multiple times, it almost felt like I was watching the original Broadway version.
Overall, it was an extraordinary version of Avenue Q that had the entire audience laughing to tears. I would recommend this to anyone who can take a joke lightly and is at least 13-15 years old. Unfortunately, I happened to catch the end of the running at HART so there is only three more shows left: October 4th and 5th (7:30pm) and October 6th (3pm).
If you can, jump out to see it and, if you’ve seen it already, let me know what you thought!