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BWW Review: BDT Stage's AVENUE Q is Just As Clever As You Remember


Now through Oct 17

BWW Review:  BDT Stage's AVENUE Q is Just As Clever As You Remember

Puppet sex...right in front of my salad?

Oh, how I missed raunchy theatre. It's been years since I paid my old pals at Avenue Q a visit. And the jokes still feel as fresh as...well, the salad I had right before I watched puppet sex at a dinner theater.

But don't get me wrong, Avenue Q is about way more than its clever songs featuring internet porn, racism and being as loud as the hell you want while you're making love. It beat Wicked for Tony accolades after all. Since then, its creators have gone on to craft even bigger shows, like The Book of Mormon and Frozen.

Likely you've already caught the 2004 Best Musical winner somewhere since its premiere...but if you haven't, BDT Stage will make you feel like you're catching it on Broadway.

BWW Review:  BDT Stage's AVENUE Q is Just As Clever As You Remember The story follows Princeton, a freshly graduated twentysomething with an English degree, who moves onto the first block he can afford. The neighborhood is filled with an assortment of puppets, people, monsters and...Gary Coleman as a landlord? There, he not only learns about the harsh realities of adulthood but what it takes to get through them.

The show takes a candid look at what many young people go through trying to make their way, especially in the big city. It cleverly presents uncomfortable topics like racism and poverty in the style of a children's television show, allowing the audience to experience them in a way that might make the awkward conversations about them flow a little easier.

BDT Stage is the perfect kind of venue for a show like this. It's intimate, so you can catch the slight details in the puppets' expressions and get a closer look at the fantastic scenic design (by Amy Campion) and costumes (from Linda Morken).

Co-directed by Alicia K. Myers and Matthew D. Peters, the cast is truly what brings the whole show together. Brian Cronan's amiable Princeton is equal parts wholesome and effervescent. Christy Oberndorf's Kate is sweet yet feisty when she wants to be. Joel Adam Chavez plays double duty as Nicky and Trekkie, voicing the two with an effortless cadence, you almost forget they're just puppets.

As married couple Brian and Christmas Eve, Leo Batlle and Marijune Scott have the comedic timing you crave from each role, fitting right in as humans among puppets. Anna Marie High's got just the right side-eye attitude with powerhouse vocals for Gary Coleman. Scott Severtson also takes a hilarious dual role as Rod and a Bad Idea Bear, and Melissa Morris shines in two of the sillier featured roles, Lucy The Slut and Mrs. Thistletwat.

The cast is small yet mighty, which fits just right for a show like this. If you haven't been back to the theatre just yet, BDT Stage's Avenue Q is a perfect show to welcome you back.

Avenue Q runs through October 17. Tickets at

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