Balagan Theater and the director (and many cast members) that brought the beautiful production of Spring Awakening to Seattle, now bring us the regional premiere of Avenue Q, a laugh-out-loud musical that is part flesh, part felt, and full of heart!
Human actors use Sesame Street®-style puppets to tell the coming-of-age parable of Princeton, a recent college grad who moves into a shabby New York City apartment onAvenue Q. There he meets a host of colorful types who help him discover his purpose in life, including Kate (the girl next door), Rod (the Republican), and Trekkie (the internet “sexpert”).
This is very much an ensemble show, in the tradition of the TV series to which it pays homage, and with an ensemble show there is always the danger of weak links or under-developed minor roles. Not so with this cast. Every performer is stellar. In fact, the only criticism I can make is that Justin Huertas is so animated in his performance that it tends to draw the eye away from his puppet. Actresses Katie Griffith (Bad Idea Bear), Kirsten deLohr Helland (Kate Monster) and Diana Huey (Christmas Eve) stole the show for me. They are as adorable as they are talented. Griffith in particular, with no large role, was one of the best puppeteers, and showed incredible versatility and competence on-stage in multiple roles.
The puppeteering in this show is skillful, creative, and smooth. The human actors seamlessly move around each other, giving life and personality to their puppets.
Add to this a hilarious score, a relatable and honest plot line, and Avenue Q is a win on all counts. Balagan has already extended the run due to high ticket sales, so take advantage and go see one of Broadway's most irreverent and hilarious odes to growing up.
Avenue Q performances are November 16 through December 16 at the Erickson Theatre off Broadway on Capitol Hill (1524 Harvard Avenue). Tickets start at $20 and are on sale at