Avenue Q at New World Stages
They may not have legs, but these foul-mouthed puppets dominate the stage, along with the actors who play them. The puppets of Avenue Q, the Sesame Street-style musical for adults who haven’t quite grasped the fact that they’ve grown up, had the audience at New World Stages captivated and hysterically laughing.
This sassy, yet clever, puppet musical doesn’t show its age even after taking a brief hiatus. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s hit musical about porn and racism still earns its laughs. The show is timeless: the set and situation look just as they did when the show first debuted a decade ago. The show is still as strong as its songs (If You Were Gay, Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist, and The Internet Is for Porn), and the songs remain relevant to a younger selection of audience members, but even those who have since grown up and moved on from those troubling post-college years will find a healthy reminder of how difficult and confusing those times really were.
Princeton, the newcomer to Avenue Q, must find his way, with the help of a supportive and loveable bunch of puppets and people. At points, the puppets seem so real and expressive. Only when the lead performers step to the front of the stage for their songs are you brought back to reality.
While Avenue Q may be crude and hilarious, there is a certain sweetness to the musical. It’s a classic case where the pursuit of life’s purpose obviously outweighs the importance of achieving any real goal. You can’t not root for Princeton and his neighbours. You want them to find themselves and you want to believe in them.
At the end, a new college graduate enquires about the vacancy in the building after his beloved neighbors move out, and Princeton has an epiphany: maybe his purpose is to pass on everything he has learned about real life in a Broadway musical. Everybody, especially the new college graduate, immediately ridicules him. The cast reminds Princeton that in the real world many people may never find their purpose; life goes on, and everything – both good and bad – is “only for now”.
Avenue Q is at New World Stages indefinitely, for further information or to book visit here.