Staples Players presents “AVENUE Q” (School Edition)
Staples Players proudly presents “Avenue Q” (School edition). Music and Lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. Book by Jeff Whitty. Based on an Original Concept by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. Performances will take place in the main stage theatre at Staples High School on March 21st and March 22nd at 7:30pm and at 3pm on March 22nd and March 23rd.
“Avenue Q” is a satirical laugh out loud musical that is performed with puppets and deals with the complexities and anxieties of entering adulthood. The play was originally produced on Broadway by Kevin McCollum, Robyn Goodman, Jeffrey Seller, Vineyard Theatre and The New Group. Some of the popular titles from the Tony Award winning musical include “It Sucks To Be Me”, “If You Were Gay” and “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist”. Avenue Q won a total of 3 Tony awards including best musical, best score and best book after opening in 2003.
Directors Kerry Long and David Roth enlisted the help of famed puppeteers Rick Lyon and Pam Arciero to assist and teach the cast the art of working with and performing with the puppets. Kerry Long explains, “Every show obviously presents new challenges - sometimes the set is extra complicated, sometimes there are heavy dancing requirements. The challenge of Avenue Q is, quite obviously, the puppetry. Avenue Q requires a very specific style of puppetry, in which the actor operating the puppet is fully visible to the audience. The actor must create a fully cohesive performance with the puppet. This has been a huge challenge for the students - one that they have met with a lot of enthusiasm. Bringing the puppets to life is not as easy as it sounds - I think that when a lot of people think about puppets they think of a child's sock puppet. This is far from it - these puppets are professionally made, in a similar style to the puppets used in the original Broadway production.”
Senior, Will Haskell plays the role of Princeton and now understands how much skill it takes - and how easy the pros make it look. “Operating a puppet is far more difficult than I anticipated. I have so much new found appreciation for the skilled puppeteers that operate the famous puppets of Ernie, Bert, Elmo and Big Bird. I find the biggest challenge to be acting as a human alongside the puppet. I find myself watching the puppet act, but in Avenue Q, the human operators are entirely visible. Therefore, we need to act and express ourselves in the same way the puppet is. The puppet truly does become a human, as we learn to make them breath, sigh, cry, sob, think, smile and laugh.”
Jack Bowman, a junior who plays Rod, adds “When you throw a puppet into the mix, everything is different. Instead of just being natural in your character, you have to think about everything your face and body would be doing and put that into a small object, foreign to the audience and the actor. On top of that, most characters have specific voices that we perform.”
The show is expected to be a huge hit with audiences due to the catchy songs and big laughs. Will believes audiences will learn important and humorous lessons while watching but does not want to give away any spoilers. But he will say that “ Avenue Q offers something entirely different. There is something so fun about watching a puppet, I find myself totally engrossed in watching the puppets interact, sing, laugh and scream during rehearsals. Also, this show offers an opportunity to see what Sesame Street might look like if the beloved characters aged and faced adult realities.”
Luke Rosenberg is the Musical Conductor for Avenue Q and Andrea Metchick is the choreographer. Peter DiFranco is Set Designer and Co-Technical Director and Dave Seltzer is Co-Technical Director.
Tickets are sold for $10 for students and $15 for adults at Staplesplayers.com and will also be sold at the door, as available, 30 minutes prior to the show. Cash or checks only accepted at the door.
*Senior citizens attend matinee performances for $10.00
Tickets will also be sold in the main lobby of Staples High School, Wednesdays - Fridays, March 12-14 and March 19-21, 12:30 to 2:00 PM. Due to the popularity of Players' productions you are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance online at staplesplayers.com or in person at Staples High School.
Parental Guidance Warning: While Staples Players is presenting an edited adaptation of Avenue Q rather than the adult Broadway version, it does deal with some adult themes such as racism and homosexuality, and does include sexual innuendoes and some mature language. Parents be advised to use your best judgment in determining what is appropriate for your child.
AVENUE Q (SCHOOL EDITION) is presented by special arrangement with Music Theatre International, 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019. www.MTIShows.com.