April A-Z Challenge, April 15, Letter M: Musical Review – Avenue Q

Facts: This version of the Broadway musical played at Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC) Warehouse in April 2014 with a cast mainly from Winnipeg.

Musical Synopsis: A group of early-mid 20-somethings that reside on Avenue Q in New York are in various stages of finding themselves and getting started in the world post-college. We see them develop relationships, fall in love, get established in various jobs and careers, all with varying degrees of successes and challenges.

Musical Review: This was my first time seeing Avenue Q, although I had heard a lot of the music previously. I must say, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the musical, because the majority of characters are actually puppets, and the audience is meant to focus on the puppets, despite the fact we see the puppeteers on set voicing and physically manipulating the puppet characters themselves. An almost “Sesame-Street-for-adults” concept, complete with a puppet sex scene (lol), and I wasn’t sure how this was going to roll. And I must say, now that I’ve seen it, this musical was fun and hilarious! Lots of laughing and comedy throughout, even during moments where the script made some really great social commentary on a variety of issues. In that way, the writing was smart and fresh, and always funny.   The characters in the script were all interesting folks, such as Rod (in the closet to himself, but everyone else knowing he is likely gay), Princeton (the new kid on Avenue Q who just came out of college), Kate (the kindergarten T.A. who has dreams of building a “monster school” to help monster children, and who also has a crush on Princeton), and Christmas Eve (the fun Korean therapist with no clients because she’s so harsh). This variety of fun and enjoyable characters interact with each other and make some great jokes and share some interesting points throughout the musical. Furthermore, the Winnipeg cast did a phenomenal job, developing true chemistry with each other and creating a lively atmosphere for the audience. Talented singing was demonstrated by every cast member, as well as an ability to keep the audience laughing. You know it’s a successful show when it’s hard to choose your favourite character and favourite cast member! The music was enjoyable and upbeat, with standout pieces like “The More You Ruv Someone”, “Mix Tape”, “The Money Song”, and the one serious piece, “There’s a Fine, Fine Line”. Overall, this was a fantastic musical, and the MTC Warehouse version did a fantastic job bringing it to Winnipeg!