Monday, August 4, 2008

Music Monday/Toronto Week: Avenue Q




For other tales of musical adventure, please visit Soccer Mom in Denial.

D and I spent a blissful five days in Toronto last week. This week, I'll share some of the highlights.

By far, the greatest highlight was staying at A Seaton Dream Bed and Breakfast , and meeting wonderful Jamie and Alan Read-Chua, our hosts. Soon after we had reserved our room, I got an e-mail from Alan asking if we'd like to join a group of their friends to see Avenue Q.

Would we?

Heck, yeah!

I've loved the score ever since my Swedish daughter, M, introduced me to the score on a road trip last year.

After a nice dinner with Jamie, Alan and a group of their friends, we crossed the street and slipped into our seats at the Elgin Theatre moments before the lights dimmed, and Avenue Q did not disappoint.

I loved the score because although most of the songs are comedic, they also hold important grains of truth. The stage show, however, brought new dimensions to the songs. For those who are completely unfamiliar with this unusual show, it's a modern story of young people (and Gary Coleman) living and struggling on Avenue Q, an NYC avenue so far to the Lower East Side, that it's "Q" in the alphabet (avenues in that area get less desirable the farther east you go, so you can do the math - or alphabetization - here). The show begins with a number asking "What do you do with a BA in English?", and goes on with such reality crashers as "It Sucks to be Me", "The Internet is for Porn", "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist", "There's a Fine Line between Love and Nothing", and well, you get the idea. Despite what sounds like a downer, all of these songs are upbeat and set within a Sesame Street-like setting. The action is done by a mix of live actors and muppet-like puppets, including some dead ringers for Bert and Ernie who are truly hysterical. In addition, giant monitors drop down and give word explanations, just like the show, but in quite inappropriate (and hysterical) ways.

This is not a show for kids.

Let me repeat that. This is not a show for kids.

It's the only Broadway show I've been to that carries an age "warning". (I was too young for Oh Calcutta). Trust me, the warning is appropriate.

And yeah, if you've ever wondered what it looks like for muppets to go at it in a variety of sexual positions, this show's for you. 'Nuff said.

Despite that, the show is brilliant and hysterical, and I may have to see it as many times as my budget will allow.

As usual, youtube is not speaking to my blog (and if anyone can help me with this, I'd be EVER so grateful!!!), so I'm posting links to some of my favorite versions of Avenue Q songs. The Disney Princesses singing "The Internet is for Porn" is over-the-top.

Enjoy! And buy tickets, if this comes your way.

an overview - promo for the show

It Sucks to be Me

If U Were Gay

The Internet is For Porn

Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

34 comments:

anno said...

Oh, it's good to see you back! It sounds like you had a wonderful time, and I am glad to hear about it. Did I mention that it's good to see you back?

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

It's good to BE back. And we did have a great time. ;-) It's good to see you, too! I should find out if I can truly see you this week...

Dingo said...

I've never seen Avenue Q but I know the score after a 12 hour road trip with my flamboyantly gay friend who sang it incessantly the entire time. Complete with choreography. Have you ever tried changing lanes with someone doing jazz hands and show kicks in your face?

I am glad you had a great vacay. I'm going to take a look at the B&B for a future visit to Toronto.

April said...

I traveled to Vegas to see this with most of the original cast! And saw it again last year at the Music Center. I love Avenue Q :) Thanks for spotlighting it.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Dingo, haven't had that particular driving experience, but I'm sure it was entertaining! Avenue Q rocks - you should think about it. As talented as your friend may (or may not) have been, it's such a fun show. The B&B was amazing!

April, oh, me, too! I should have known you'd love it. ;-)

glamah16 said...

I havent heard of that show. I think I tuned out a lotof new Broadwayshows, but this sounds great. Glad you atre back and had a great vacation.Toronto is a great theater town!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Oh my goodness, Glamah, it was SO funny - and I think there are many songs you'd just love. Many of the things we discussed when we met seem to be part of the themes of the show.

Goofball said...

I never heard of Avenue Q , but it looks like a fun show. Although I'd probably need subtitles or an upgrade of my english. It seems to go very quick so I miss out on the lyrics too much.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm afraid it's a pretty language-dependent musical, Goofball - the jokes are often referencing pop culture, slang, double entendres, etc.

eatclosetohome said...

Holy cow- when we were in Toronto last year, we stayed at the B&B across the street from yours! Yours looks better, though. I bet their Hollandaise didn't come powdered in a can...

Dru said...

welcome back. I loved Avenue Q.

Los Angelista said...

Toronto is such a great city (in the summer)! Glad you had such a lovely trip there and nice to have you back! I'd never heard of that show either so I'll be on the lookout for it. The titles of the songs were definitely making me laugh.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

That's so funny, Emily! Was it actually on Seaton, or was it one of the places up on Carlton? And no, our breakfasts were totally fresh. ;-)

Thanks for the welcome back, Dru. And Avenue Q is SUCH fun!

Liz, I think you'd really enjoy Avenue Q - it's great food for thought as well as being hysterical.

Virtualsprite said...

I saw a preview for the show on Regis and Kelly when it first came out and I thought it was absolutely hysterical. I really enjoyed your review and now I can't wait to see it!

Brittany Noel said...

Sounds like you had a great time in Toronto! I've always wanted to go. Glad you got a nice vacation in :)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Virtual - it's totally worth it - just not with the kids, lol!

Brittany - it's only about a 4.5 hour drive from here (not including the border crossing). I'd highly recommend it. The B&B we stayed at was at the higher end, but you can get a room for as little as $85 CN and there are tons of cheap (and excellent) food options. E-mail me if you want more info.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

LOL! I am so glad that you guys had a nice time and got to see a show! Nice to have you back - but I am glad you have been good to yourself lately! You deserve it before school starts!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

It was really a great time, Jenn. The nicest vacation I've had in a long time. And boy, is Toronto a foodie paradise! Yowza.

Marianne Arkins said...

Dang it... I'm DYING to click the YouTube links, but DD is only a foot away.

Botheration. I hate waiting.

And, yes... welcome home :-)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Wait, Marianne, wait... ;-) Trust me.

Brillig said...

Uh... wow! It sounds hilarious, though perhaps too grown up for me.

:-Dc c

Brillig said...

(Okay, those letters at the end of my last comment were added by my baby who managed to hit the keyboard JUST as I was clicking on publish. I guess he missed you too, and wanted you to know that he's also glad that you're back.)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Hey Brillig! Well, that was very sweet of Fuzzles. ;-)

BTW... did you get my e-mail? I finally sent it yesterday.

TeacherPatti said...

Nothing to add...just so glad you are back!! :)

Flower Child said...

I so desperately want to see this! Muppets doing it! That's for me! Speaking of which, did you ever see the movie Team America? Puppets doing it. Hilarious!

Flower Child said...

And we went to Toronto last summer and loved it. Great town!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Flower Child, I have a feeling you'd absolutely love Avenue Q - muppets doing it or not, lol. We haven't seen Team America, but I'd like to.

Toronto rocks!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Oh... oops, Patti! Thanks for the welcome back!

soccer mom in denial said...

I SOOOOOOOOOOOO want to see Avenue Q. Now you want me to see it even more.

Thanks for playing. You've brightened up my mood.

Sandy C. said...

This sounds right up my alley! I'd love to see this :) Thank you so much for posting. I will have to keep an eye out to see if they're coming here.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Soccer Mom and Sandy - this is something I think you'd both enjoy. It's so funny and truthful and real. A great combination these days.

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StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Muppets having sex? Oh my! Even those grumpy old guys in the balcony? Now, there's a visual I'm not sure I'm ready for. Good thing the music was great! ;)

painted maypole said...

i LOVE that show! did you know I sang it sucks to be me for several auditions? hee hee i would love to be Kate Monster some day