21 October 2009

What Do You Do With a B.S. in Theater?

I was a Jr. in college when AVENUE Q first hit Broadway.  I had an instantaneous affinity for the witty and tuneful OCR, which, among other things, bailed me out of at least 2 potentially awkard car trips.  It's odd to think that I related to the material since, at the time, I had only been to NYC once, and often did, in fact, sit on a quad.

This Sunday I finally saw the little-show-that could in its new home Off-Broadway and was pleasantly and consistently surprised throughout.  I was surprised at how many jokes, characters, and story lines I was not aware of, despite knowing the score backwards and forward.  I was surprised by the extent to which the imaginative staging and choreography lifted the numbers I knew so well.  I was surprised by the extent to which the show hit home with me, now that I actually am broke, living in Brooklyn, and unsure of my "purpose", and surprised at its abilities to, if only mometarily, qualm my varied anxieties. 

Q's new home at New World Stages seems to me to serve as a combatant for the inherent, if subtle, earnestness and sincerity of the show.  From the industrial common areas of the complex--with decor that seems more suited for TopShop--to the house staff aggressively pushing drink specials delivered to your seats during intermission, I felt more like I was in a stadium than a theater.  Perhaps this is the way things will be everywhere from now on.  I didn't like it, but I didn't hate it, and I suppose I could get used to it.  It is to Q's credit that its cuddly puppets and likable performers (Anika Larsen makes an especially a wonderful Kate Monster, with Seth Rettberg making a fine Princeton/Rod) made themselves, and their story, heard and felt (pun intended) over the din.

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