If you had a friend that attended the opening of Avenue Q last night, they’ll probably be pretty eager to talk about what Entertainment weekly called “one of the funniest shows you’re ever likely to see.”
They’ll probably tell you about the hilarious songs included in the show, songs with names like The Internet is for Porn, If You Were Gay, and Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist, and It sucks to be Me. They’ll probably say they almost peed their pants during the puppet sex scene, or they might talk about the guy with an annoying laugh that sat beside them at the performance.
All of these things are true. The show was hilarious, but what your friend might not tell you, and what is no less true is that even though Avenue Q includes puppets, cartoons, and some really funny-sounding light-hearted songs, Avenue Q is really smart.
Really, really smart.
The genius of Avenue Q is that the writers found a way to take on some very real, universal, and sometimes controversial issues, set them to music, animate them with puppets, and somehow put together a production that is both funny and sad, offensive and endearing, and more than anything else: they did all of these things simultaneously, and somehow made it real.
The theme that was echoed over and over in Avenue Q for me, or at least the one that resonated the most was reality. The absence of it when you are in college, and the one that hits most younger people in the face once they get out of school. The realization that love, and what that word means isn’t what you think it is growing up. The reality of bills, debt, the economy, jobs, and that dreams, at least for a most people, don’t come true. Set to music.
The show playing at the Walton Arts Center was extremely entertaining, and the cast was phenomenal. The male and female leads, played by Robert McClure and Anica Larsen were extremely talented, and the entire cast (save for Danielle K Thomas, the actress who played Gary Coleman) played more than one character in the production, sometimes playing multiple characters at the same time, and even both sides of the same conversation. The music was great. The sets were phenomenal.
But the thing that sticks with me about Avenue Q was that a musical, starring foul-mouthed puppets, singing about porn was funny, heartbreaking, and poignant all at the same time.
That’s the sign of a a genius storyteller; (or in this case, storytellers) and the genius of Avenue Q is that despite it’s furry exterior, there’s some meat inside as well. (For porn)