Usually when I make my work trips down to the US, I just stay over for one night and that night is usually taken up buy a team dinner. This time, I stayed for two nights and caught some theatre with my free night. Avenue Q was one of my alternates if I wasn’t able to get tickets to Chicago, but I was able to get tickets so I didn’t have to worry about that.

On the next day, it turned out that my team dinner was cancelled so after getting off work at 7PM I had a free night. I remembered that Avenue Q had a late start – most shows started at 7 or 7:30 but Avenue Q started at 8. I walked briskly up to the theatre hoping to get rush tickets and arrived at 7:20PM. The box office said there were no more rush tickets, but they were still doing their 20 for $20 promotion – where they would sell all their unsold seats for $20, 20 minutes before curtains.

I was able to get a great seat for $20 all-in. I sat in the fourth row, near the centre. There were a lot of seats empty – the theatre has a capacity for 581 but I figure there were only 100 people there.

I heard about Avenue Q several years ago but missed it in Toronto when they were touring. From what I remember, it was a play with Muppets that was an older version of Sesame Street and dealt with gay issues. I guess I remembered kind of right. It’s a Sesame
Street targeted to post-college students who are struggling to find their way in life. One of the story lines is about a gay character, but there were several other story lines that were just as prominent. Basically it discussed a wide range of issues.

My first impression was that I liked this musical more than Chicago. The songs were catchy (i.e., more in a pop manner). The humor was sharper (especially when it was offensive) and it’s just amazing to see the Muppets in action. I figure I spent the first few musical numbers just marveling at the actors. Muppets basically have 2 mouth motions – open and closed, so all the emotion and expression was done by the actual muppeteers.

However, after awhile the novelty wore off. Beneath the veneer of humor, funny songs, and Sesame Street allusions; the story itself was not that interesting. I felt that it was too much like Sesame Street and they beat you over the head with the story and their morality. I would have liked it if it was faster paced. But for $20 it was well worth it and quite enjoyable.