Avenue Q Musical
Theater: New World Stages – Stage Three
Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes (1 intermission)
Starring: Ben DuRocher, Nicholas Kohn, Elizabeth Ann Berg
Avenue Q Musical – Act 1
Princeton, a recent college graduate, is anxious to discover his purpose in life; but first, he must find an apartment and a job, with no work experience and an English degree. (“What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?”) Beginning his search on Avenue A, he finally finds an affordable apartment on Avenue Q. His new neighbors are Kate Monster, a kindergarten teaching assistant; Rod, an anal-retentive Republican banker; Nicky, Rod’s slacker roommate; Brian, an aspiring comedian recently laid off from his day job; Christmas Eve, Brian’s Japanese fiancée and a therapist with no clients; Trekkie Monster, a surly recluse who surfs the Internet all day in search of porn; and Gary Coleman, the building superintendent.
Arguments ensue over whose life sucks the most. (“It Sucks to Be Me”)
Nicky, who is straight, suspects that Rod is gay, and assures Rod it is okay with him if he is; but Rod insists he is not. (“If You Were Gay”) Princeton finds a lucky penny and longs to discover his purpose in life. (“Purpose”) Kate dreams of starting a “Monstersori” school for young “people of fur”. Princeton innocently asks Kate if she and Trekkie are related, since they are both monsters, but Kate angrily pronounces his assumption racist. Princeton, taken aback, counters that Kate’s Monstersori School would discriminate against non-monsters. They and the neighbors agree that racism is an adult reality. (“Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist”)
Princeton receives money from his parents, and the Bad Idea Bears, two charming troublemakers, convince him to spend it on beer. Kate’s boss, Mrs. Thistletwat, assigns Kate to teach the next morning’s kindergarten class, her first solo teaching opportunity. She decides that her lesson will be about the Internet and all its educational attributes, but Trekkie Monster and the male neighbors explain another reality of adulthood: Lots of adults—even “normal people”—use it to find pornography. (“The Internet is for Porn”)
Princeton gives Kate a mixtape. His song selections are puzzling, making her wonder what message he is trying to send, but eventually she decides that he must like her. (“Mixtape”) Sure enough, he invites her on a date to the Around the Clock Café. Brian, the café’s MC, does his raunchy standup act. (“I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today”) He then introduces Lucy the Slut, a skanky chanteuse who wows the guys, especially Princeton, with a seductive cabaret number. (“Special”) The Bad Idea Bears suggest that Kate and Princeton order some “harmless” Long Island Iced Teas, and once Kate is totally inebriated, that Princeton take her home to bed.
Kate and Princeton have enthusiastic, high-decibel sex. Gary fields angry calls from other tenants but refuses to intercede. (“You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want When You’re Makin’ Love”) Meanwhile, Rod hears Nicky say, “I love you, Rod,” in his sleep, and is jubilant—but eventually realizes it was he who was dreaming. Kate and Princeton profess their mutual love, and Princeton gives Kate his lucky penny. (“Fantasies Come True”)
The next morning, a hung-over Kate oversleeps and misses her teaching assignment. Mrs. Thistletwat berates her, and Kate angrily quits her job before she can be fired. Christmas Eve decides unilaterally that it is time she and Brian were married. At the wedding Nicky blurts out his suspicion that Rod is gay. Rod, furious, insists he has a girlfriend named Alberta in Vancouver (“My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada”) and tells Nicky he is no longer welcome in their apartment.
When Kate catches Christmas Eve’s wedding bouquet, Princeton panics, confesses a fear of commitment, and asks Kate if they can just be friends. Kate retorts that she already has plenty of friends, and breaks off their relationship. (“There’s a Fine, Fine Line”)
“The Avenue Q Theme” – Company
“What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?” – Princeton
“It Sucks to Be Me” – Brian, Kate Monster, Rod, Nicky, Christmas Eve, Gary Coleman, and Princeton
“If You Were Gay” – Nicky with Rod
“Purpose” – Princeton and Company (via “singing boxes”)
“Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” – Princeton, Kate, Gary, Brian, and Christmas Eve
“The Internet Is for Porn” – Kate, Trekkie Monster, Brian, Gary Coleman, Rod, and Princeton
“Mix Tape” – Kate and Princeton
“I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today” – Brian
“Special” – Lucy the Slut
“You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You’re Makin’ Love)” – Gary, The Bad Idea Bears, Princeton, Kate, and Company
“Fantasies Come True” – Rod, Kate, Nicky and Princeton
“My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada” – Rod
“There’s a Fine, Fine Line” – Kate
Avenue Q Musical – Act 2
A despondent Princeton has been holed up in his apartment after breaking up with Kate, but is coaxed out by the neighbors. (“There is Life Outside Your Apartment”) Lucy is looking for a place to crash and seduces the rebounding Princeton. Kate is angry, but Christmas Eve explains that she would not be angry if she were not in love with him. (“The More You Ruv Someone”) Kate writes a note to Princeton suggesting that they rendezvous at the Empire State Building and leaves it with Lucy, who promptly destroys it. A homeless Nicky laments his fate to Gary, who confesses that he is deriving pleasure from Nicky’s misfortune. (“Schadenfreude”)
On the Empire State Building’s viewing platform, Kate, thinking that Princeton has stood her up, throws his lucky penny away. A hundred stories below, Lucy, walking by on Fifth Avenue, is knocked unconscious by the penny. Kate and Princeton unsuccessfully attempt to work out their problems over Lucy’s comatose body. Rod is too proud to accept Nicky’s repeated apologies, despite clearly missing him, and tearfully consults Christmas Eve. Princeton, Kate, and Nicky dream of returning to happier times. (“I Wish I Could Go Back to College”)
Princeton gives a still-homeless, panhandling Nicky a quarter, and marvels at how fantastic he feels. Since thinking only about himself has gotten him nowhere, he decides to raise money to build Kate’s Monstersori School. He solicits everyone, even breaking the fourth wall to shake down the audience, (“The Money Song”) with disappointing results; but Trekkie Monster, recalling his own traumatic school experience, donates ten million dollars—explaining to the astonished cast, “In volatile market, only stable investment is porn!” (“School for Monsters/The Money Song (Reprise)”)
Kate joyfully opens her new school. Brian lands a consulting job and Christmas Eve finally has a paying client (Rod), so the newlyweds move to a better neighborhood. Rod finally comes out, to no one’s particular surprise, and takes Nicky back in. Nicky finds Rod a boyfriend—Ricky, a muscle-bound hunk who otherwise looks and sounds exactly like Nicky. The Bad Idea Bears discover Scientology. Lucy, recovered from her head injury, becomes a born-again Christian and takes a vow of chastity. Kate and Princeton agree to give their relationship another go. (“There’s a Fine, Fine Line (Reprise)”)
A new college graduate inquires about the vacancy in the building, (“What Do You Do with a BA in English (Reprise)”) and Princeton has an epiphany: maybe his purpose is to put everything he learned into a Broadway musical. Everybody, especially the new guy, immediately ridicules him. The cast reminds Princeton that in the real world many people never find their purpose; but life goes on, and everything—both good and bad—is “only for now.” (“For Now”)
“It Sucks to Be Me” (Reprise) ‡ – Princeton
“There Is Life Outside Your Apartment” – Brian, Princeton, Christmas Eve, Gary, Nicky, Trekkie Monster, Lucy the Slut, and Company
“The More You Ruv Someone” – Christmas Eve and Kate
“Schadenfreude” – Gary and Nicky
“I Wish I Could Go Back to College” – Kate, Nicky and Princeton
“The Money Song” – Nicky, Princeton, Gary, Brian and Christmas Eve
“School for Monsters” – Trekkie Monster and Company
“The Money Song” (Reprise) – Nicky, Princeton, Gary, Brian and Christmas Eve
“There’s a Fine, Fine Line” (Reprise) – Princeton and Kate
“What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?” (Reprise) – Newcomer
“For Now” – Company
Other Avenue Q songs
Eight additional songs were written for Avenue Q or associated promotions, but are not part of the show itself.
“Tear It Up and Throw It Away”: Originally performed early in the first act, between “What Do You Do with a BA in English?” and “If You Were Gay”; Kate is called for jury duty, and Nicky advises her to ignore the summons, pretending it was lost in the mail. (“Your civic duty? Who gives a doody?”) Kate tears up the summons and is ticketed for littering. The number was cut during Off Broadway rehearsals because it had no relevance to the plot, and because, according to Stephanie D’Abruzzo, there was no judicious way to dispose of the paper scraps, which remained onstage throughout Act One. The cut came so late that early promotional materials included references to the song, and its main melody can be heard underscoring dialog in “The Money Song” on the original cast recording. It was included on a CD that accompanied the original souvenir program, but not on the cast recording. An original audio clip is available on YouTube.
“Time”: A video created for the London production, and originally shown on the on-stage video screens during intermission, just prior to the second act curtain; Nicky (Simon Lipkin) sits on the toilet in the theatre’s men’s room at intermission, singing about all the “chores” he is getting done between acts. Several audience members waiting to use the stall become increasingly annoyed. British comedian Matt Lucas has a cameo role. The song was cut during early previews for unspecified reasons, but remained on the CD that accompanied the souvenir brochure, and was shown at the final West End performance on 30 October 2010. A video can be viewed on YouTube.
“Rod’s Dilemma”: Written for Tony Award voters, this song spoofs Avenue Q’s competition for the 2004 Tony for Best Musical, and the entire Tony voting process. In the Rotary Club presidential election, Rod cannot decide whether to vote for the guy he has a crush on (symbolizing The Boy from Oz), a wealthy man (Wicked), or an old friend (Caroline, or Change). The neighbors advise him against voting “for your friends, ’cause they say you should vote for the candidate you think is good.” The song was a part of the production’s successful Tony Award campaign, called “Q ’04 Now! Vote Your Heart!”. An audio cut is available on YouTube.
“Only in Vegas”: This parody of Las Vegas-style show tunes was written to promote the Las Vegas production. It featured Rick Lyon operating a Steve Wynn puppet, who tells the cast of Avenue Q how happy they will be in Las Vegas. The song was performed on the Regis and Kelly syndicated television show and in some press and media events.
“Rod’s Christmas”: Found on the CD Broadway’s Greatest Gifts: Carols for a Cure, Vol. 5: Rod headlines at the “Don’t Tell Daddy’s Cabaret and Night Club” (a parody of the New York piano bar Don’t Tell Mama, which is named for a song from the musical Cabaret). Rod sings that Christmas is the time of year where he can combine his two great loves, “Christmas carols and show tunes.”
“The Holi-daze”: Found on the CD Broadway’s Greatest Gifts: Carols for a Cure, Vol. 8. Written by Michael Patrick Walker and Phoebe Kreutz (who both worked on the Broadway and Off Broadway productions of Avenue Q), the members of the company sing about how they cope with the stresses and problems of the Holiday season. The song does not feature any characters from the show, but was recorded by several of the original Avenue Q cast members and band members, and was sub-titled “Drinkin’ Our Way Through The Holidays.”
“Christmas”: “Purpose” with new, festive lyrics. Written by the company of Avenue Q/London for Theatrecares’ “West End Christmas” charity event. It is on a special CD, but can also be heard at Jon Robyns’s Web site.
“How Much Do the People in Your Neighborhood Make?”: A parody on the classic Sesame Street song, “Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood”, the song was written very early in the show’s history, and dropped when the original television show format was abandoned in favor of a stage production.
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