By popular demand: STC extends 'Avenue Q' run to May 16

By: Judi Straughan

 | Apr 11, 2014 - 3:12 PM |
Answer the call to hilarity. These are not Jim Henson's muppets. The Avenue Q puppets promise in-your-face wackiness — for adults only. Photo by Arron Pickard

Answer the call to hilarity. These are not Jim Henson's muppets. The Avenue Q puppets promise in-your-face wackiness — for adults only. Photo by Arron Pickard

If you’ve run into a big furry monster who spends most of his time surfing the Internet for porn, you have probably been at rehearsals for the Sudbury Theatre Centre’s latest production, Avenue Q.

Trekkie Monster, the adorable, oversized puppet — that takes two humans to manipulate on stage — could be an offspring of Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch, but he is hooked on certain sites on the Internet.

Be forewarned, these are not Jim Henson muppets. They may look like escapees from Sesame Street, but they sound more like South Park and the Book of Mormon, with comic themes that include education, love, purpose, sexual orientation, sex itself, racism, the Internet and self-image — all hysterically presented by tell-it-like-it-is puppets.

There are human characters in the show: Brian (Michael DeRose), Christmas Eve, his fiancé (Kimmy Choi), and Gary Coleman — yes, that Gary Coleman — played by Lisa Michelle Cornelius.

Four cast members play 23 puppet characters. Each oversized puppet is manipulated with the actor in full view of the audience. Each clearly defined puppet character has its own unique voice and mannerisms.

The sweet Kate Monster and sleazy Lucy, two absolutely opposite puppet characters, are played by Blair Irwin. Kristi Friday plays Bad Idea Bear and Mrs. Thistletwat while Ryan Kelly is Trekkie Monster, a Bad Idea Bear and Nicky. Ken James Stewart plays both Princeton and Rod.

Darcy Evans, no stranger to Sudbury audiences, directs and choreographs Avenue Q with Adam White acting as musical director. White’s live band is comprised of some of Sudbury’s finest musicians: Allan Walsh (woodwinds), Tony Jurgilas (drums), Brian Quebec (bass), John Newlands (guitar) and Jordan McNeil (keyboard).

Scott Penner returns to Sudbury as set and costume designer with Siobhan Sleath as lighting designer.

Melissa Rood, stage manager, is at the controls making sure everything runs seamlessly along with Assistant Stage Manager Kacy Blok.

It is clear why Avenue Q won three Broadway Tony Awards in 2004 and has been going strong ever since. The characters and music are delightful, but this show is not for kids. Did I mention the puppet nudity?

Avenue Q ticket prices range from $26.64 for students to $37.38 for seniors and $42.64 for adults. Rush tickets are available two hours before curtain at $32.14. Preview night April 24 is also $32.14. The Pay What You Can Sunday is April 27 at 2 p.m. Evening curtain times are Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesday through Saturday, 8 p.m.

Avenue Q music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx; book by Jeff Whitty; based on an original concept by Lopez and Marx.

This engaging, off-colour musical packages political incorrectness with fuzz in the most ingenious of ways.

Sponsored by Rocvent and CTV.

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