It was recently announced that the Wilmington College Theater Department will be presenting Avenue Q as their Fall musical. The show dates are November 16, 17, and 18; but this is not a typical musical comedy.
Firstly, puppets are incorporated into the musical, so puppets and humans both interact on stage. This presents the actors with a difficult challenge: how do they act, sing, and dance, all while controlling and emotionalizing a puppet? Theater Director Wynn Alexander remarked, “the focus is on the puppets, not the actor. That will be my greatest challenge – guiding the actors to create very unique characters through a puppet while teaching them to perform on as both actor and puppet.”
“[T]he focus is on the puppets, not the actor. That will be my greatest challenge [to the actors]” – Wynn Alexander, Theater Director
The use of puppetry allows Avenue Q to discuss many topics that are not socially acceptable to discuss. Alexander explained “Avenue Q presents the audience with issues that we are all faced; issues with dealing with philosophy, ethics, and integrity. The puppets serve as a safety net for the actors – they can feel more comfortable presenting these difficult topics.” If the actors can feel more comfortable, then the show’s message remains intact.
Avenue Q is often described as an “adult version of Sesame Street” because of its content. Although the musical was in part inspired by the PBS show, this description is not very accurate. It presents mature topics in a rather frank, yet comedic, way, but it is designed to make a viewer think about their own experiences and opinions. One of the cast members, Keni Brown, expresses the show as “having a complex interior. It’s about finding one’s purpose and discovering who you are as an individual and how you connect with others.”
To some spectators, the show could be crude at times, however, the themes and situations the characters are involved in can be quite applicable in a person’s life, especially in a college student’s.
The themes and situations the characters are involved in can be quite applicable in a person’s life, especially in a college student’s.
It is important for those interested in the show to come with an open mind and be willing to experience the show as a life lesson of sorts. Avenue Q was purposefully written with a fine, fine line – it serves not to be crossed, but as a demonstration. It demonstrates that there is a line in life that is easy to cross, but every individual has the capability not to cross it.