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AVENUE Q GIVES DALLAS AUDIENCES A PURPOSE

BY: LYNN MARIE

The AT & T Performing Arts Center presented the Dallas premiere of AVENUE Q, the Broadway smash hit and winner of three Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Book. 

Avenue Q ends the inaugural season of the Center’s Lexus Broadway Series on an amusing reminder that we shouldn’t take life so seriously and everything in life is only for now.
 
Avenue Q is like a children’s cartoon or hand-puppet series corrupted up to appeal to an adult audience.  It is part Sesame Street, part South Park with a dose of reality thrown in.

The stage is set well from the beginning of the musical when the song “It Sucks to be Me” is sung by the different characters to try and prove that their life is the most miserable on Avenue Q.
 
The story is set around Princeton, a bright-eyed college graduate who comes to the Big Apple with big dreams and little money.  He soon discovers that the only area he can afford to live is Avenue Q; but he doesn’t give up that easy.  The other residents seem friendly enough.

There’s Brian the out of work comedian and his therapist fiancée Christmas Eve; Nicky the good hearted freeloader and his roommate Rod – A Republican Investment Banker who seems to have something to hide; an Internet addict called Trekkie Monster; and a very delightful Teaching Assistant named Kate.

Let’s not forget the building’s Superintendent; Gary Coleman. (Gary Coleman, the child star of the 1970s situation comedy “Diff’rent Strokes,” died May 28, 2010 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Coleman’s family in this very difficult time).

Together, Princeton and his newfound friends struggle to find employment, dates and their purpose in life.
 
Though there are many puppets feature in this show it is by no means a childlike show.  In fact, it features a lot of sensitive subjects such as sexuality, sex, racism, and porn. This show is comical as it makes fun of numerous situations.
 
Lisa Helmi Johanson (Christmas Eve) and Jacqueline Grabois (Kate Monster and Lucy) have superb voices and the never-ending energy of an astounding talented cast keeps audiences entertained throughout the performance.

The recipe works enormously well and the true talent here is the mirroring of actors’ expressions and body language in their half-length glove puppets and vice versa.
 
If you are not easily stunned go see it.  Avenue Q runs through June 6, 2010 at the AT & T Performing Arts Center, Dallas.   For more information visit the website at www.attpac.org or call the box office at 214-880-0202.

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