HART presents the Tony Award-winning 'Ave. Q'
HART tends to be the first in the area to produce many of Broadway’s newest hits and this season is no different.
Up next, the Tony Award Winning Best Musical “Ave. Q.” This was the little show that could. In 2004 it came along and toppled the odds on favorite beating out “Wicked” for top honors astonishing everyone. Both shows are still running in New York and both have huge followings among young people although the show is not for young children.
“Ave. Q” was inspired by Sesame Street and the Muppets but with a decidedly mature twist. Teens should be fine but it is racy, politically incorrect, modern and topical. It is also funny and imaginative.
The main characters are puppets and their human operators. The actors in the show must play the characters, sing and operate their puppet counterparts at the same time. No small feat. Think “The Lion King” with a twist.
Any kid who grew up on Sesame Street began creating parodies of it by the time they were in their teens. The creators of “Ave. Q” waited until they hit their twenties and then made something really special. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, wrote the music and lyrics.
They conceived of “Ave. Q” for television but the show was first staged at the prestigious Eugene O’Neil Theater Center in Connecticut in 2002. It was immediately picked up for an off-Broadway run and opened at the Vineyard Theater in March 2003. It got rave reviews and transferred to Broadway four months later.
There are many odd things about “Ave. Q” and one is that it opened on Broadway in July. Nothing ever opens on Broadway in New York in the summer. Shows wait until the fall, or late spring to maximize their chance of building an audience and getting noticed for awards.
By the time the 2004 Tony Awards came along “Ave. Q” had been running for nearly a year, and the giant Stephen Schwartz spectacular; “Wicked” had become a major smash. “Wicked” was a ten million dollar behemoth inspired by “The Wizard of Oz.”
But “Ave. Q” was adorable, and original. In the wake of 9/11 it seemed to capture the sassiness of the city in a playfully naughty way, and in the end was impossible not to leave with a smile on your face.
HART’s production is being directed by Charles Mills, and all of the puppets have been rented from New York for the production. The cast is stellar, including: Kristen Hedberg (the mother in last fall’s “Light in the Piazza”), James Meador (the lead in HART’s “Honk!”), Justin Slack (a lead in HART’s “Putnam County Spelling Bee”) Strother Stingley (lead in HART’s “The Producers” ), Jordana McMahon and Samantha Alicandri (leads in “Brigadoon” and “Side by Side”) Sean Bruce (“Buddy Holly” “Lost in Yonkers), and newcomers Daniel Hensley, Brad Mercier and Kirby Gibson. The show’s music director is Chuck Taft.
Music and Lyrics by Robert Lopez and John Marx
Book by Jeff Whitty
Directed by Charles Mills
Music Director: Chuck Taft
Sept. 20, 21, 27, 28 Oct. 4 & 5 at 7:30 and Sept. 22, 29 and Oct. 6 at 3pm
Tickets; $24 for Adults, $20 for Seniors, Students $10
Special $8 discount tickets for Students for Thursdays and Sundays
Box Office Hours Monday-Saturday 1-5pm
Call 828 456 6322 for reservations
Tickets available on line at www.harttheatre.com
Performing Arts Center at the Shelton House, 250 Pigeon St. Waynesville, NC 28786