WAKE UP BROADWAY FANS to another day leading up to the 72nd Annual Tony Awards. We are only 17 days away from Broadway?s biggest night of the year. We have more showstopping performances coming your way on our TOP 40 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN. Ready for more?
At # 17 on our countdown, we visit an unusual neighborhood in New York City. This part features some really interesting people with lives and jobs from humans, human looking puppets, and furry monsters. looking figures. If you just said Sesame Street, WRONG!! This neighborhood is known for being very R-Rated. We of course are talking about?. Avenue Q. The show features a score by Robert Lopezand Jeff Marx along with a book by Jeff Whitty.
From the 2004 telecast, the original Broadway cast perform the scene stealing opening number?. IT SUCKS TO BE ME.
AVENUE Q was first conceived in 1999. Composers Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx were originally writing a new project for The Muppets called KERMIT, PRINCE OF DENMARK (inspired by Shakespeare Hamlet). It was first technically supposed to be a film and then a stage musical (produced by BMI Musical Theatre Workshop). However, the project was turned down by The Jim Henson Company. However, a lightning bulb clicked for Lopez and Marx. Their rejection inspired to not write for popular characters again decided to create their own children?s puppet project for Adults. Instead of the puppets teaching children letters, numbers, shapes, and basic things about life, Lopez and Marx came up with the idea of a show featuring adults and puppets in the same room talking about adult themes including racism, pornography, homosexuality, romance relationships, and more. Acclaimed Jim Henson puppeteer Rick Lyon (who Marx and Lopez originally worked on the KERMIT project with) came on board and started designing both the human looking and furry monster puppets. In addition, book writer Jeff Whitty came on board and what?s what began the early stages of writing AVENUE Q. They also continued their relationship with BMI Musical Theatre Workshop to work on the project.
AVENUE Q went through many years of readings and workshops. Finally in the Spring of 2003 under the direction of Jason Moore, the show had its official world premiere Off Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre for 72 performances. The critics and audiences were praising the production, it was transferred Broadway?s Golden Theatre where it ran for a total of 2,556 performances. The original Broadway cast featured lifelong puppeteers who have worked on Sesame Street and the Muppets. They were?.
Tony nominee John Tartaglia in the dual roles of ?Princeton? and ?Rod?,
Tony nominee Stephanie D’Abruzzo in the dual roles of ?Kate Monster? and ?Lucy The Slut?,
Rick Lyon in the dual roles of ?Nicky?, ?Trekkie Monster?, a ?Bad Idea Bear?, and more
and Jennifer Barnhart playing ?Mrs. Thistletwat?, “Bad Idea Bear?, and more.
The additional original cast members playing the real humans on the street include?
Ann Harada in her breakout performance as ?Christmas Eve?,
Jordan Gelber as ?Brian?,
and Natalie Venetia Belcon as ?Gary Coleman? (yup the ex-TV star himself who sadly is no longer with us).
The show had a full lineup of replacements in the Broadway run.
AVENUE Q was nominated for 6 Tony Awards in 2004 winning 3 including Best Musical.
From the success of Broadway, the show went on to become a worldwide hit that still makes audiences laugh 8 times a week including productions in Las Vegas, several US National Tours, London?s West End, Australia, and several International productions translated into every major language.
AVENUE Q?s 2009 Broadway closing at the Golden Theatre was to make way for a limited revival of David Mamet?s play OLEANNA. However, the producers kept a huge secret for all the fans. At the closing curtain call, it was announced that the show was going to transfer back to Off Broadway. A few months later, the show transferred to New World Stages where its continuing to play 8 times a week. The original Off Broadway transfer cast consisted of?
Seth Rettberg as ?Princeton? and ?Rod?,
Tony nominee Anika Larsen as ?Kate Monster? and ?Lucy The Slut?,
Cullen Titmus as “Nicky” /” Trekkie Monster”
Maggie Lakis as ?Mrs. Thistletwat? / “Bad Idea Bear?, and more.
Sala Iwamatsu as “Christmas Eve”,
Nick Kohn as “Brian”,
and Danielle K. Thomas as “Gary Coleman”.
The Off Broadway run continues to have numerous talented replacements in the production as well.
Doesn?t this show get you laughing so hard, you fall out of your seat?
Members of the cast of Avenue Q perform “It Sucks to be Me” on The 58th Annual Tony Awards, June 6, 2004
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