Kate Monster, Stephanie D'ABruzzio, Princeton, and John Tartaglia
The creators of Avenue Q, Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx, and Jeff Whitty obviously grew up in a childhood filled with Sesame Street. I bet you can still remember the words to the theme song -- and that is just what they are betting on. The influences are everywhere. Rod and Nicky bear a striking resemblance to Bert and Ernie, and Trekie Monster can’t get enough of porn instead of cookies. The brilliance of the story is that these elements are familiar but are given such a unique spin that you can’t help but be charmed by them. Animated segments are used to give the audience the words and lessons of the day including commitment, and the use of bedroom furniture to illustrate a one night stand. More than anything else, the bad idea bears are hilarious. They show up when Princeton is in the most need of guidance. Instead of showing him the right way they give him the worst ideas possible, like their names say. When Princeton’s parents send him money to help him out, they tell him to buy beer with it, and when he is at his lowest they supply him with a rope to hang himself -- thankfully he doesn’t take their advice.
It Sucks To Be Me
Rick Lyon not only supplies the voice for several puppets, but also serves as the creator. These oversized hand puppets bop back and fourth on the hands of their counterparts, but Lyon, Tartaglia, and D’ABruzzio are so adept at their craft that they seem as if they are an extension of their hands. Several human performances also stand out. Ann Sanders and Natalie Venetia Belcon are hilarious as Christmas Eve and Gary Coleman.
The show does have a few pitfalls. It’s first act is way too long, and the plotline wanders at times.
The musical will feel familiar to a younger audience especially one who has grown up with Sesame Street. Being a recent college graduate, I can certainly relate to the feelings of helplessness and uselessness felt by many of the characters in this musical, which is saying something since most of them are puppets. That goes to show the depth and care that the creators have gone to create this charming musical.