‘Avenue Q’ Has an Important Message for the World: Covid is ‘Only for Now’

New Video Reunites Original Cast with a Hopeful Plea

Original cast members Ann Harada (Christmas Eve) and Jordan Gelber (Brian)

By Jonathan Spira on 24 November 2020
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The cast of the award-winning Broadway show “Avenue Q” has a message for the world in a new video: Covid “is only for now.”

“Nothing lasts,” a line from the song “Only for Now” tells us, including the pandemic.

After calling out “sex” and “your hair” as the standard faux ad libs in the course of the song, the third original faux ad lib “George Bush” from 2003 has been updated multiple times to include “Fox News” and “Prop 8” among other things.  To the surprise of no one, the faux ad lib that the returning cast members will shout out will be no other than “Covid.” (It was “Donald Trump” for the show’s final few years before it closed in March 2019.)

For the uninitiated, “Avenue Q,” which opened on Broadway in 2003, is, as I put it in a review years ago, Sesame Street… for grownups… on acid.    It’s a darker and much more fun place.

Members of the original cast along with members of subsequent casts following the final performance of “Avenue Q” in 2019.

Over 40 puppets and humans including the entire original cast of the show minus one as well as members of subsequent Broadway and Off-Broadway casts appear in the video. The list of notables includes including (original cast) puppeteers John Tartaglia as Rod, a blue, well groomed, and closeted Republican; Jennifer Barnhart as the Bad Ideas Bears, two adorably cute teddy-bear types who occasionally whisper bad ideas into another character’s ears, and the ancient Mrs. Lavinia Thistletwat, the school principal and Kate Monster’s boss:, Rick Lyon as Princeton, a fresh-faced college graduate, Trekkie Monster, a porn-obsessed Cookie Monster-type recluse, the vamp Lucy the Slut, and Nicky, a slacker who is Rod’s roommate; and Stephanie D’Abruzzo as Kate Monster, a Kindergarten teaching assistant who falls in love with Princeton.

“We use puppets to talk about subject matters that would be too blunt people delivered it,” Rick Lyon, who conceived and created the puppets that star in the show and who also originated the roles of Trekkie Monster and Nicky, told me in a discussion about the show last year. “The fuzzy friends we remember fondly from our childhood make good messengers.”

Humans were represented by Ann Harada, the original Christmas Eve, a struggling therapist who moved to Avenue Q from Japan; Jordan Gelber, the original Brian and Christmas Eve’s fiancé and later husband, performing from his bathroom, with Christmas Eve’s unmentionables hanging in full view behind him.  Christmas Eve, meanwhile, now has kids.

Carmen Ruby Floyd, the original understudy for the role of Gary Coleman, the superintendent of Avenue Q, whose “made a lot of money, that got stolen by my folks,” appears in that role on the video.

“Everyone stay safe,” Princeton says at the end.  “Ruv you.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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