Nicky puppet used in the original Broadway production of the musical Avenue Q. Avenue Q is a popular and acclaimed work of musical theater, unique in the recent history of American theater for its use of puppets and visible puppeteer/performers. The show was created by composers Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, who wrote the music and lyrics, along with book writer Jeff Whitty and puppeteer Rick Lyon. Originally conceived as a television series, the creators adapted their idea of a “grown-up Sesame Street” to the stage for a 2002 National Music Theatre Conference, and it opened Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre in 2003. The popular production outgrew its theater and moved to Broadway’s John Golden Theater in July 2003, where it won Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Original Score in its first year.
The show tells the story of several residents of the eponymous avenue in New York City as they grapple with issues faced by young urban adults, including employment, housing, racial discrimination, sexuality, and identity. Through their interactions with each other, many of the characters learn more about themselves and the world around them, and celebrate their revelations in song. Drawing on the style and characteristics of Jim Henson’s Muppets, especially as they are used in Sesame Street, Avenue Q plays on the audience’s expectations and subverts that series’ tame tone with adult themes and humor. Indeed, the show's central premise is its contrast with Sesame Street, as it humorously explores the gulf between innocent childhood and difficult adult problems. The show is notable for its use of visible puppeteers, requiring suspension of disbelief from the audience, as the puppet characters interact without acknowledging the puppeteers.
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