All doesn’t end well on Avenue Q, a gritty, yet hilarious Broadway musical which Lethbridge Theatre Company Hatrix Theatree is bringing to life at the Moose Hall May 5-9 and 12-16.
While the residents of Avenue Q may look like the friendly puppets from Sesame Street, it definitely isn’t your mother’s Sesame Street and it definitely isn’t for kids.
“Don’t expect any happy endings,” said Aiden Quinn, who plays Princeton while his dad, director Brian Quinn, shepherds his talented cast through the first rehearsal of a complete run through.
Avenue Q won the hearts and minds of Broadway in 2004, beating out Wicked for the Tony Award for the year.
It is the coming of age story of Princeton, a recent English degree bearing college graduate who tries to find his purpose in the world but ends up living on Avenue Q for financial reasons.
“ Princeton is me. I’m in my mid-20s and trying to find my purpose. I’m trying to figure out what to do,” Quinn said.
“I’m not anything like Kate Monster, though I used to teach kindergarten, though I was a kindergarten teaching assistant at one time. But Kate really has a monster side,” added New West Theatre veteran Jory Kohn, who plays Kate Monster — a kindergarten teaching assistant who wants to open her own school for monsters.
Princeton meets a variety of characters on the street including the porn fiend, the Trekkie Monster, the Bad Idea Bears, Lucy the Slut and “Gary Coleman” to name just a few and in the process explores a few mature themes including homelessness, unemployment, relationships, sexuality and racism.
The Lethbridge production features a talented cast and crew including Hatrix Theatre veterans as well as familiar faces from the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge Musical Theatre’s production of Guys and Dolls.
Kohn said working with puppets has been a unique challenge.
“ It’s not about you, it’s the puppets,” she said noting the actors must not draw the audiences attention away from the puppets.
“So you have to use your voice and body language to convey their emotions,” she added, noting she has performed in puppet based shows before.
“ It’s been a challenge,” Quinn continued,” noting he hasn’t been in a show like Avenue Q.
He noted in addition to learning puppeteering itself, the cast has had to learn how to dance and sing with a puppet on their hand.
They are excited about the show.
“I’m really excited to see what the audience will think. It really pushes the envelope. It’s not what you’d expect to see in Lethbridge,” Kohn continued.
Director Brian Quinn is also excited to see the audience reaction to Avenue Q.
“ I’m really proud of this cast. I’m really pleased with all of the work they’ve done. Puppeteering is very physically demanding,” he said comparing puppeteering to the Skittles commercial where a town of arm wrestlers all have one massive bicep and one ordinary sized one.
“ They’ve got these puppets on their hand for a two hour show. It’s tough,” he said.
He noted ticket sales are going slow with only 25 per cent of them being sold.