"Avenue Q," which beat "Wicked" for the Best Musical Tony in 2004, is one of the longest-running shows in
Frankly, he said, a lot of theater companies tend to get cold feet if there's a possibility of upsetting their audience.
"I've seen people get offended by all sorts of things, and I'm sure that's what steers most theaters away," Green said. "They're worried about losing patrons, about losing ticket holders, maybe even sponsors. ... If an artist is intentionally trying to offend someone, they're making a very poor business choice. That should never be the goal. The goal is to present information that's thoughtful and insightful, that will drive conversation and have our community evolve and think."
"I can't worry about that," he said. "I have to focus on what I think is right for the show, and how people take that on and how they react to it is up to them."
So don't say you haven't been warned: "Avenue Q" might be a puppet show, but its salty language, sexual content, dicey subject matter and raunchy humor make it suitable for adults only. Imagine a public television kids' show as reimagined by
Our hero is a recent college graduate named
One of the more interesting aspects of "Avenue Q" is its treatment of the puppeteers, who are always in full view, and part of the appeal of seeing the show live is to witness the relationship between the puppets and their operators.
"They become one in the sense that you're watching the puppet, but the human is still supplying the emotion," Nickerson said. "If the actor's acting too hard, or if he's not giving enough energy to the puppet, he's upstaging his puppet and you start focusing on the actor. It's a tricky balance to find where that lies so that the magic happens."
The show's songs were penned by
But the show isn't just about laughing at puppets saying inappropriate things. There are, like in your typical episode of "Sesame Street," lessons to be learned, even if they're approached in a more provocative way.
"If we can laugh at ourselves, it's easier to accept these things about ourselves," Nickerson said. "The thing about the puppets is that you can go so much farther. I don't know if a group of people in some of these moments could get away with what the puppets are doing. It's a strange thing."
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