Sunday, April 15, 2012

Andrews Living Arts Studios: Avenue Q (reviews)

Andrews Living Arts Studios opened its production of Avenue Q The Musical on April 6, 2012.
Avenue Q  was the winner of the TONY “Triple Crown” for BEST MUSICAL, BEST SCORE and BEST BOOK  in 2003. With 2,534 performances,  Avenue Q ranks 21st on the list of longest running shows in Broadway history.

Avenue Q is a musical in two acts, conceived by Robert Lopez and local Florida resident, Jeff Marx, who wrote the music and lyrics. The book was written by Jeff Whitty.   Avenue Q is a coming-of-age parable, addressing and satirizing the issues and anxieties associated with entering adulthood. The musical uses puppets alongside human actors.

Warning: the characters use abundant profanity in dialogue and musical lyrics and there are episodes of "full puppet nudity" and puppet “sex”.
Robert D. Nation directed a cast that included Nora Emmanuel, Peter Gorobetz, Rachel Klein-Muller, James Lott, Donni McCarthy, Christie Oliver, Kenneth Stigger, Pamela Stigger, Todd Storey, Clayton Stults, and Jay Reese.  Vocal Direction by Rachel Klein-Miller

Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
Just how strong are the songs and jokes in the Tony-winning musical Avenue Q?  So sturdy that even with shaky voices, so-so acting and laugh-killing scenery changes, the enthusiastic and earnest cast at Andrews Living Arts Studio nearly pulled off the sassy satire of urban life. Nearly.

A forgiving undemanding audience may enjoy the evening because this R-rated,  irreverent, profane and ribald riff on Sesame Street is just innately that funny. Pickier listeners will tire of some singers who can barely be heard in the second of the tiny theater’s three rows or how many actors with pleasant voices keep hitting flat notes.
Some of the performers under the direction of Robert D. Nation, in fact, have a flair for making the large Muppet-like creatures come to life, especially Lott and Storey.
A serious problem is that scene changes occurring in blackouts take too long and bring the pace to a screeching halt. This is not the theater’s fault: It has so little money that it cannot afford morphing sets and enough lighting instruments to light one area of the stage while another is changed.

Once again, credit Andrews Living Arts and Nation for aiming high. The shoestring company, which performs in an old mechanic’s garage, has bravely attempted difficult works like Equus and Angels In America. This time, it’s climbed out on a financial limb by renting the puppets, videos and pre-recorded music tracks in hopes that this might be their breakout hit in an open-ended run.
The Andrews Living Arts Studio production of Avenue Q is currently selling tickets through May 6, 2012, with hopes to extend if sales warrant.

No comments:

Post a Comment