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The musical comedy Avenue Q—and its ribald troupe of puppets—premieres for the Tower Theatre Marquee Series on September 11. The musical comedy’s coming-of-age story features puppets. These puppets, however, tell irreverent jokes, surf the web for porn and have sex on stage. The Tower has posted a warning on its website: “Full puppet nudity and other vulgarities will induce laughter.”
Stage Right Productions, a local nonprofit that runs 2nd Street Theater and brought Spamalot to Bend, is producing the play. It’s unlike anything people might expect from theater and reminiscent of a childhood show.
Ray Solley, executive director of the Tower Theatre Foundation, said that the annual Marquee Series showcases the best singers, dancers and musicians in Central Oregon. The musical score comes from the same composer as Book of Mormon. The script is by Oregon playwright Jeff Whitty, who also wrote Head Over Heels, premiering this season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. When Avenue Q made its New York debut in 2003, it won the Tony “triple crown” for best musical, best score and best book.
The show is a blend of human actors and puppeteers visible to the audience. The story follows a group of young adults—in particular a recent college graduate named Princeton—who live in a dilapidated neighborhood and struggle to find jobs, love and their way through life. The song, “It Sucks to Be Me,” sums up the situation. And peppering the plot line are two Bad Idea Bears that encourage irresponsible deeds.