Avenue Q

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 1 June 2006, Opened 28 June 2006, Closed 28 March 2009 at the Noel Coward Theatre
Transferred 1 June 2009, Closed 13 March 2010 at the Gielgud Theatre
Transferred 19 March 2010, Closed 30 October 2010 at the Wyndham's Theatre

Avenue Q is not the most upmarket of New York streets. Actually it is about as far away from plush Park Avenue as you can get, but it is home to some lively and off-the-wall characters performed by an unholy comedic alliance of humans and puppets!

Princeton, a bright-eyed college graduate, has just moved to this neighbourhood as he desperately tries to follow his dreams and discover his ever-elusive purpose in life. A tiny bank balance, the distraction of a busty blonde and a variety of weird and wonderful friends and neighbours lead Princeton on a hilarious story of self-discovery. Life may suck on Avenue Q but being jobless, homeless, politically incorrect, having sex are just some of the topics featured in the terrific songs of this show. The other characters in Avenue Q include Kate Monster, Lucy The Slut, Rod, Nicky, Trekkie Monster, Christmas Eve, Brian and Gary. Avenue Q features music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx with book by Jeff Whitty and it is directed by Jason Moore with choreography by Ken Roberson, puppets designed by Rick Lyon, sets designed by Anna Louizos and costumes designed by Mirena Rada. Please Note: Although this show uses puppets, it is NOT a "children's show". Some parts of the show may offend some people and it is not suitable for children under 12. Children under 5 are not admitted.

Avenue Q started its life in 2002 at the off-Broadway 200 seat venue The Vineyard Theatre where it played an extended sell-out season before transferring to The Golden Theatre on Broadway in July 2003 where it continues to play to both critical and audience acclaim - winning the 2004 Tony Awards for 'Best Musical', 'Best Original Score of a Musical' and 'Best Book of a Musical'.

"This is a kind of X-rated Sesame Street with a hint of Friends, featuring puppet characters such as Lucy the Slut and Mrs Thistletwat. It's brash, vulgar, puerile, sometimes downright obscene, and I loved every minute of it. It comes to us straight from Broadway, boasting a Tony, and it's not hard to see why. Extremely original and hugely entertaining, it's also rather more emotionally involving than you might expect... The live band is spot-on, the puppeteers are outstanding... This is the best thing with puppets since Shockheaded Peter." The Sunday Times

"The performers - many of whom have to act, sing and dance while manipulating more than one puppet - are excellent, particularly the multi-tasking Julie Atherton and Simon Lipkin. There's something oddly compelling about watching talented actors bringing puppets to life on stage, and the slickly professional production is very easy on the eye... but anyone hoping for bad-taste puppeteering along the lines of Team America will be slightly disappointed. Despite one or two mildly satirical gestures, it's essentially a heartwarming show about overcoming post-student angst. If Sesame Street ran a segment on dating etiquette or coming out of the closet, it wouldn't be all that different." The Sunday Telegraph

"Maybe if I knew my way around Sesame Street, I would have squealed with laughter like everyone else in the theatre... Certainly, puzzling over why some characters are played by puppets and others are played by people got me nowhere. It's just the way they do it on Sesame Street. On a New York brownstone block, Avenue Q, we find an Asian-American woman (that's the PC way of saying Japanese), an unemployed comedian, a black handyman, a beige nursery-school teacher (puppet), a jobless orange man (puppet), a gay guy (puppet) and his flatmate (puppet) who is still in the closet, a nightclub singer who looks just like Miss Piggy and Trekkie Monster (puppet), who thinks only of porn, his shaggy coat rippling with excitement. The puppets fall in love and make the bedclothes heave, which is actually quite funny since they exist only from the waist upwards. It's all done well by bouncy actors who can simultaneously smile, manipulate puppets and sing in that nasal Muppet way. There are ditties about racism, how it's OK to be gay, and the joys of schadenfreude, which you will learn to spell. But, like the puppets, it's all a bit squidgy, cute and desperate to be loved." The Mail on Sunday

Jeff Marx, who co-wrote the musical Avenue Q, said regarding how they decided to write a 'puppet' musical: "Since old-fashioned musicals are not on the radar anymore, we asked what kind of musicals do people like? Everyone we know has huge fondness for The Muppets, even when they're musical. When Kermit the Frog starts sining, no one turns off to it as they do to, say, Barbra Streisand nowadays, so we thought, let's use puppets to do something funny and relevant about people like us, and make it appealling enough for people to get over the hurdle of it being a musical. We thought of coming up with an adult puppet show, and realised that every single problem in adult life could be turned into a funny, mock educational song. The night we got the idea we filled an entire legal pad with the title of songs, and we though we could write this for the rest of our lives!" Although Jeff and Robert Lopez wanted to present their idea as a television series, following a rehearsed reading in New York before an invited audience they were encouraged to evolve their idea into a stage show. Thus after some three years Avenue Q was finally presented, as a stage show, in New York at The Vineyard Theatre prior to it transferring to The John Golden Theatre on Broadway in 2003... and to London in 2006.

Avenue Q in London at the Noel Coward Theatre previewed from 1 June 2006, opened 28 June 2006 and closes 28 March 2009. The production then transferred to the Gielgud Theatre from 1 June 2009 to 13 March 2010 before transferring to the Wyndham's Theatre from 19 March 2010, closes 30 October 2010.