Editor's note: Avenue Q may not be appropriate for young children.Topics addressed within the production include sex, drinking and pornography. For showtime details, click here.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of watching the opening night performance of Stage 1's Avenue Q. I have been involved in Stage 1 productions in one way or another for over 10 years and I left completely in awe.
The Avenue Q atmosphere starts from the very moment the show starts. A Huge TV to the right of the stage bursts to life with a puppet anchor explaining the rules of the theatre. I have heard this same speech before shows hundreds of times, and usually it's a pre-recorded voice giving you the low-down on what is and isn't allowed. In true Avenue Q style, things are laid out for you in a blunt fashion: "SEX is not allowed in the theatre, but the parking lot is perfectly acceptable."
I don't want to waste time explaining the story of the show, because that is one of the best surprises of this rock opera. I will however, give a shout out to the stellar performances that I had the opportunity to see last weekend. I should probably disclose that I auditioned for this show, and didn't get cast. There are no hard feelings though, because I was there to witness the amazing auditions of those who did.
Jessica Alfonso, who plays Kate Monster is absolutely amazing. I remember watching her audition and how the entire room's energy changed when she sang. Her rendition of There's a Fine,Fine Line at the end of Act 1 is breath taking to say the least. Her voice is a perfect combination of being enough character for Kate with a sweet sound backed by incredible power.
One of the funniest songs in the show is The Internet Is For Porn where Kate, Trekkie Monster and Rod song-fight (in true Broadway form) what the Internet is really for. Sweet Kate debates the information age while Trekkie and Rod try to convince her of the real intention: Porn. The song is completely stolen by Scott Hall as Trekkie. To describe how he is funny is almost impossible, he has a natural and effortless portraying Trekkie and you completely forget there are 2 people operating this life sized puppet.
Lucy the Slut played by Katherine Cooper was the perfect mix of sex appeal and a tragic train wreck. She saunters on stage commanding everyone's attention and captivates you from the moment her huge puppet boobs hit you in the face. It doesn't hurt that Katherine has a to-die-for voice that really brings Lucy to life.
My favorite character though, is Christmas Eve played by Ji Kim-Fung. One of the only 'real' characters on stage, Ji stole every scene. She had perfect timing delivering each and every line like it was the first time she had ever said them. Her singing voice is one of the best in the show, and each of her solos was a complete delight. I couldn't wait to see what was going to come out of her mouth next.
As a whole, I could have watched these performers for hours and hours. I was actually sad to see the lights come up at the end. The entire theatre was filled with laughter- this group of people MORE than deserved their standing ovation. Sadly, the night I was attending there were less than 100 people in the audience. This group deserves large audiences laugh, no they NEED large audiences to appreciate all that they have to offer Avenue Q is hands down the best production to come out of Stage 1... I would dare to say ever. If you miss this show, you are missing out on a fantastic night full of laughs... and puppet sex.
Stage 1 productions are held at the Newark Memorial High School Theatre. You still have 2 weekends to catch this fantastic show. It runs until October 13th and tickets can be purchased at http://stage1theatre.org