Chances are, you’ve already heard some of the amazing songs from Avenue Q, even if you haven’t seen the musical live and in person. If you have ever seen the “Internet is for Porn” Cookie Monster viral video, or heard the “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” tune with an impostor Gary Coleman then you have already experienced two of the most memorable numbers from Avenue Q, the puppet parody musical.
It’s no accident that this musical comedy is often compared to Sesame Street, since parody was the original intention (even the format of the play is very similar) — not to mention the fact that the production actually features former Sesame Street performers. The creator of the show actually did intern at the Sesame Street studio, and four performers of Avenue Q were actually ex-cast members (Rick Lyon, John Tartaglia, Jennifer Barnhart, Stephanie D’Abruzzo) of Big Bird’s neighborhood. (Stephanie D’Abruzzo actually went back to Sesame Street after appearing in Avenue Q, so it’s safe to say that the Sesame Street Workshop is made up of the most forgiving people in television!)
Despite the fact that Avenue Q is a raucous parody, don’t expect simple South Park-esque lampoons. The storyline is actually a coming-of-age parable, one that reflects seriously on the disappointment some people face as they grow up from idealistic childhood into the real adult world. Consider Avenue Q a sort of “Sesame Street for Generation Xers”, complete with sex jokes, politically incorrect humor, and bizarre antics–the type of stuff we young adults just love!
Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx have written the music and lyrics to the play. The songs are very catchy, written in muppet style fashion, which explains why the production won three 2004 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. This little production (originally conceived as a TV series) went on to defeat Wicked for the big prize. It’s hard to imagine witnessing a more amazing production than Wicked in person, so take our word for it when we say Avenue Q is indeed a more surreal, magical and wondrous experience than even a return to Oz–and it’s one that you have to witness in person to believe!