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Avenue Q Now Playing in Philadelphia

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Avenue QHands down, Avenue Q if the funniest musical I’ve ever scene. It’s relevant, it’s witty, and it has puppets! Like Sesame Street for adults, this comedy addresses issues we all face when entering the “real world,” like finding love, a job, a purpose…and an apartment.

But not to be confused as a parody of Sesame Street, three time Tony Award-winning Avenue Q sets up a world much its own. The characters are represented by both real actors and puppets; with a small cast of actors and puppeteers that bring life to two or more puppets each. The cast deserves extra props for being able to sing, dance, act and enliven fuzzy, inanimate puppets in a comedic fashion.

From the start of Act I with songs titled, “What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?,” “It Sucks to Be Me,” and “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” Avenue Q utilizes puppets to poke fun at modern stereotypes and classic flaws in human nature -- like a throwback to Commedia dell’Arte-- because it’s much funnier when a puppet sings about racism.

Avenue QIt’s also hilarious when puppets do things like watch porn, drink, swear, and have loud sex, which clearly demonstrates the target audience of the show. While many say Avenue Q, like Rent, is geared towards young professionals (18 to 40), at last night’s performance I witnessed audiences from 16 – 80+ laughing uncontrollably. I also, however, witnessed a father take his young teen out of the show pre-intermission. So be wise when choosing who to take with you.

But not all of the characters are puppets with masks to depict their archetypes; Gary Coleman, the former child star who recently passed away, is the building superintendent and, according to the show, the one who’s life sucks the most. In this manner, Avenue Q boldly shows its colors, satirizing city life in the 21st century.

A statement from Avenue Q was issued on May 28, 2010 following Coleman's passing: "The creators, producers, and company of Avenue Q are terribly saddened to hear of the death of Gary Coleman, whose tremendous gifts brought delight and inspiration to audiences around the world. While everything in life may be only for now, we suspect that Gary's legacy will live on for many years to come. Gary's memory will certainly endure in the hearts and minds of those of us who live on Avenue Q."

Avenue Q is on stage at the Academy of Music this weekend ONLY so act fast and get you tickets now online at KimmelCenter.org

Photos: John Daughtry

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Rachel Dukeman is the Culture Editor of Philly2Philly.com. She loved Avenue Q, but cannot get The Internet is for Porn out of her head, and would like to remind everyone to clear your browser history.