Growing up can be hard—especially that awkward transition from college to financial independence, where the realization that the real world was not exactly what Sesame Street and other children shows portrayed it to be. That’s the onus behind the puppet-infused Avenue Q: The Musical, a coming-of-age parable that addresses and satirizes the anxieties of entering adulthood. The play will appear on the Crest Theatre stage at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts from June 19-29.
Taking its fuzzy cues from Sesame Street, the Tony Award-winning Avenue Q distills idea that everyone is “special” and “can do anything” through a harsh filter of reality. Princeton, a recent college graduate and puppet, is on a mission to find his place in life—as well as an apartment and a job—finally finding something affordable on Avenue Q (after starting on A). The block is a collection of misfit humans and puppets who find themselves in a similar position as Princeton, in disbelief they have grown up, searching for happiness and purpose in life while struggling through menial jobs and navigating the modern world. An abrupt departure from Sesame Street, Avenue Q tackles themes of love, commitment, racism and even pornography while incorporating copious amounts of laughs and profanity within the dialogue and musical numbers (as well as a little puppet sex thrown in for good measure).
The musical is unique in its incorporation of both human characters and puppets as cast members, with puppeteers, unconcealed and visible to the audience, voicing and manning puppet characters on stage (most man multiple puppets). The puppeteers are “invisible” to the characters (the puppeteers wear gray to help the audience discern them from the human characters, who wear brightly colored clothing), with some puppet variations needing two puppeteers to control the hands and mouth. Furthermore, puppet characters are of both the humanoid and monster variety—there is a lot for the audience to digest. In all, Avenue Q is one of those unique musicals where the suspension of disbelief has the opportunity to bridge that gap with audience in nailing home its lesson: Though our individual paths may stray, we’re all in this together.
- Avenue Q: The Musical will take the Crest Theatre stage at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts June 19-29.
- Showtimes are as follows: Thursday and Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, June 22 at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, June 29 at 2 p.m.
- Tickets cost $20.
- For more information, visit delraycenterforthearts.org.