Farmington Players Present AVENUE Q, 8/10-25

What if "Cookie Monster" were addicted to more than just double stuffed Oreos? Are the rumors about Bert & Ernie really true? Can puppets actually do EVERYTHING humans do, including THAT? You will find the answer to these questions and more when you take a trip down Avenue Q at The Farmington Players Barn and follow the witty characters on their mission to prove "there is life outside your apartment."

Avenue Q is edgy, sassy and an exciting change in the Barn's typical lineup. If you think it's sizzling outside these days, wait until you see the cast burning up the stage in one if the hottest musicals to hit Broadway. Opening night is Friday August 10th and the show runs through Saturday August 25th. Reserved seats for this comedy sponsored by The Farmington Rotary Club, are available now at farmingtonplayers.org or at the box office (248) 553-2955.

While Avenue Q draws inspiration from the format and characters of Sesame Street, this puppet program is not for kids. The characters occasionally spew profanity as they grapple with adult themes. There's even a frantic sex scene featuring puppet nudity. In fact, the production makes it clear the show is not connected to the Sesame Workshop or the Jim Henson Production Company, which have no responsibility for its content.

Instead, Avenue Q serves as a hilarious, thought-provoking satire of the popular children's TV show, poking fun at the contrasts between childhood and adulthood, fantasy versus reality. The puppet interaction with humans combined with a dose of Sesame Street-type animations, blends a blast of adult reality with the cheerfulness typically found in various children's programs.

That mix proved successful on Broadway, as the musical (Book by Jeff Whitty, Music & Lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx) won the Triple Crown at the 2004 Tony Awards-Best Musical, Book and Score.

The Farmington Players production, directed by Allison Boufford of Northville Township, follows Princeton (Gary LaKind of West Bloomfield) on a mission to find his purpose in life. Not sure what to do with his useless B.A. in English, he lands on Avenue Q, a street located in an "outer outer borough of New York City" and inhabited by lost souls. Boufford calls the show a "coming-of-age story that demonstrates the uncertainty felt when venturing off into the real-world."

Princeton begins a troubled romance with Kate Monster (Mary Malaney of Farmington Hills) a teacher's assistant, who dreams of opening a school for monsters.

Other puppet denizens of Avenue Q include, the Bert and Ernie type roommates Rod and Nicky (Bob Cox & Connor Rhoades both of Plymouth). Nicky feels Rod could be happy if he would just come out of the closet. There is also Trekkie Monster (Jim Snideman of Union Lake) a furry grump who's addicted to porn; the sultry nightclub singer Lucy The Slut (Lia Imbronone of Utica); and the Bad Idea Bears (Jason Wilhoite of Commerce Township & Paige Wisniewski of Houghton Lake) who pressure their peers to do stupid things.

Their three "human" neighbors include: Christmas Eve (Katie Evitts of Pinckney), a Japanese therapist who has trouble booking clients; her fiancé Brian (Joel Mapes of Livonia) a standup comic "wannabe"; and Gary Coleman (Keshia DaiSy Oliver of Canton) the former child star who's now a cynical building superintendent.

Music Director Sue Belleperche of Windsor artfully conducts the cast through several politically incorrect but insightful tunes that function as satirical nods to the sweet songs of Sesame Street. Some popular pieces include, "It sucks to be me," "There is life outside your apartment," "The internet is for porn," "Everyone's a little bit racist," "If you were gay," and "You can be as loud as the h-ll you want" (when you're makin' love). In that last number, Kate and Princeton leave little to the imagination.




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