Avenue Q at the Algonquin Arts Theatre

Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.
Avenue Q appeared August 12-20 at the Algonquin Arts Theatre in luscious Manasquan, NJ, as part of their ongoing Broadway Series.
Avenue Q is the 2003 multiple Tony-Award-winning musical where puppets, humans, and adult drama collide messily and wittily on stage for about two hours. Avenue Q has Music and Lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, with Book by Jeff Whitty.
Somewhat reminiscent of the classic television series Sesame Street, but instead the street is in a parallel universe of sorts straight out of the musical Rent. Avenue Q, so far into Alphabet City, no self-respecting doer and shaker will live there. Run down, and reeking with squalor, the neighborhood attracts the odd eccentrics of Manhattan. Instead of educational songs, we have songs of a different educational bent, such as “The Internet is for Porn,” and “It Sucks to Be Me.” An entire scene is dedicated to the song “Schadenfreude” (German for deriving pleasure from other people’s misfortunes.). Puppets and real humans dot the landscape. The humans include Brian and his girlfriend Christmas Eve (Lex Friedman and Suann Chen), and Gary Coleman (Daisha Davis), the former television personality whose parents stole his money. He is now a superintendent for the neighborhood. The puppets include Princeton (Matthew Johnson, newly graduated with a degree in English, unemployed, and said to be possessing enormous genitalia — always a social plus in a young, handsome man of 23), his girlfriend Kate Monster (Jackie Nuzzo), Rod (Michael Morch, the closeted gay, Republican investment banker slumming it), Lucy (Emily Demaio, femme fatale nymphomaniac), Trekkie Monster (John C. Short, internet eccentric, who stars in the song, “The Internet is for Porn.”), and more. 
All the performers delivered top-notch professionalism, acting talent to burn, and great singing voices, even in puppet character voices. Production values were high, the live orchestra exceptional, and sure direction by Sean Openshaw. 
Avenue Q had a short run, which is a pity indeed, but there are many more offerings this season. In addition to many Special Events, a Jazz Series, and Orchestra Series, the splendor continues with their Broadway Series, with The Hunchback of Notre Dame (October 7-22), Elf, The Musical (December 2-17), Deathtrap (January 19-28), and more. 
When you go: Parking is both plentiful and free close to the theatre, which is eminently handicapped accessible.
For information, and to purchase tickets call 732-528-9211, or visit www.AlgonquinArts.org .

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