Avenue Q Preview

Avenue+Q+Preview

MICHAEL CARPENTER STAFF WRITER

This year’s school musical, Avenue Q,  debuts today, November 13.

A Broadway and West End sensation, Avenue Q utilizes puppets similar to those in Sesame Street to explore a “coming of age” theme with a calculated mixture of seriousness and satire. Interested in the actor’s preparation, I observed a rehearsal in the school center and watched a run-through of the musical.

The tale follows the journey of Princeton, a naïve young man played by Nick Milazzo (’14), as he struggles to adapt to the nuances and whims of the “real world” after college life. The recent graduate’s first musical number is quite fittingly titled, “What do you do with a B.A. in English?” However, not all of the musical numbers have quite so light a tone.

In fact, the musical’s capacity to address touchy issues is a notable highlight. One of the songs explores the role of racism in society (“Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist”) and another the enjoyment of others’ pain (“Schadenfreude,” or pleasure at the misfortune of others). These numbers could have easily taken a wrong turn due to the sensitive nature of their lyrics, and there were few instances where they felt overwhelming, but I certainly won’t deny the catchiness of each.

I observed the musical run-through four weeks before its November 13 debut, but I noted that it was shockingly low on requests for line prompts and staging issues- rarely an actor forgot a line and there was the occasional issue with their locations on the stage. Joint Performing Arts Department Head Buck Herron said he feels early preparedness allows the actors to immerse themselves in the finer detail of their work. His philosophy certainly proved itself to me, as I was struck by the sheer amount of liberty the actors have already begun to take with their roles – every once in a while Herron would compliment an actor on a nice touch they had added, such as a hand gesture or interaction with another actor.

Princeton defines “purpose” as “that little flame that lights fire under your ass.”The actors of Avenue Q have made it their purpose to perfect their work, and you should make it yours to see what is sure to be a fantastic final product. Who knows, maybe you’ll even learn a few lessons about life in the “real world” from the quirky yet relatable cast.

michael_carpenter@asl.org

 

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