Today, the players, puppets and patrons down at New World Stages are gearing up for a big event — the 10-year anniversary of everyone's favorite foul-mouthed, felt-made Millennials: "Avenue Q."
Yes, it's been a full decade since the first time the phrase "puppet sex" entered the lexicon of theatergoers, thanks to a raunchy scene in this risque show that is, at its heart, about a touching topic that everyone can relate to: finding one's purpose in the world. But it gets there with racism, strippers and Gary Coleman. And it's apparent from the show's ongoing success that audiences wouldn't have it any other way.
The 2004 Tony Award winner for Best Musical (which, memorably, beat out "Wicked" for the title) was conceived by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx to spoof the "Sesame Street" genre with a grown-up parody of what happens to bright slackers who believe that they are special. (Think of a very twisted, new-generation "Pippin.") It takes place in a fictional slum apartment on Avenue Q of New York City. Hit songs include "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," "There's a Fine, Fine Line," "Schadenfreude," "If You Were Gay" and "What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?"
"Avenue Q" is the 23rd longest-running show in Broadway history, though it moved to its new off-Broadway home at New World Stages in 2009. Tonight marks its 4,143rd performance in New York, and the city has henceforth deemed July 31 "Avenue Q Day."