Avenue Q – Review by Bonnie Goldberg


Graduating college, finding an apartment, one you can afford, securing a job, one you are qualified to perform, and growing up are all the responsibilities and requirements facing an anxious young puppet named Princeton. He starts his search for housing on New York City’s Avenue A and by the time he reaches the 17th street of possibilities, he is not sure he will ever find a roof to call his own.

Happily for Princeton and for the audience, he finds the perfect place on “Avenue Q,” a delightful puppet/people graced musical with music and lyrics by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez, with book by Jeff Whitty. Playhouse on Park in West Hartford will be entertaining Princeton and his friends until Sunday, October 8 and you don’t want to miss their highly special world.

If you’ve grown up on “Sesame Street” and call Mr. Rogers a friend, and you’re a mature teenager or older, this is the show for you. “Avenue Q” is a musical that began life at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford at an International Musical Conference and went on to great acclaim. Now the puppets and their puppet masters are ready for some colorful and off- color fun.

Pop over to the Playhouse for this smash-hit Broadway musical about making your way in life. Weston Chandler Long stars spectacularly as Princeton, a recent college graduate, with big dreams and a small wallet. He finds his way to Avenue Q because it’s the only street in the Big Apple he can afford. Soon he determines he must find and identify a PURPOSE in life.

There he meets some unique neighbors, friendly and not so much, like Kate Monster (Ashley Brooke), a cute kindergarten teaching assistant, a possibly gay couple Rod ( Weston Chandler Long) and Nicky ( Peej Mele), Lucy Slut ( Ashley Brooke), Trekkie Monster (Peej Mele), an internet addict, Christmas Eve (EJ Zimmerman), a therapist, Brian (James Fairchild), an out-of-work comedian, two bad bears (Colleen Welsh ) and their plucky landlord Gary Coleman (Abena Mensah-Bonsu).

Follow the life and loves, the downs and ups, of this bunch of young adults as they work their way to find a job, a companion and a purpose, with a lot of singing and dancing along their journey.

With life-size puppets as well as people, “Avenue Q” celebrates the angst of growing up and facing responsibilities, challenges like how to get and keep employment and how to get a date, in addition to more intense issues like full-puppet nudity, alcohol and internet porn. Kyle Brand does double duty as a great director and choreographer. Video designers Zach Rosing and Ben Phillippe add a special artistic touch and musical director Robert James Tomasulo leads a super live band.

For tickets ($40-50), call the Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford at 860-523-5900, ext. 10 or online at www.playhouseonpark.org. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinee at 2 p.m., followed by a talk back. There is a special Tuesday matinee at 2 p.m. on September 26, all seats $22.50.

Stroll along with Princeton as he bops down “Avenue Q,” the show that won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical.