What would happen if the characters from the PBS show Sesame Street grew up and went a little wild? That’s the premise behind Avenue Q, a Tony Award-winning musical coming to Palatine's Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center.
From June 2 to 17, Music on Stage will present the Chicagoland premiere of Avenue Q, a comedy intended for adult audiences that features the use of puppets by the actors. The musical tells the story of Princeton, a recent college graduate who moves to New York and meets several colorful characters along the way.
Becky Lugovsky of Barrington is producing the local show. She previously choreographed Music on Stage performances of Miss Saigon and Jesus Christ Superstar and acted in Music on Stage's performance of Dracula, the Musical.
“This is a new hat for me to wear,” Lugovsky said. “I love telling a story and seeing how everyone joins together.”
Music on Stage decided to perform Avenue Q on somewhat of a whim. The rights to the show became commercially available around the same time Music on Stage was looking for a show to end their season.
“We jumped on it,” Lugovsky said.
Teresa Arnold, who is playing the role of Kate Monster, said it was always one of her dream roles. She said the added challenge of controlling a hand puppet was difficult at first.
“It’s physically taxing,” she said. “It’s a truly unique experience. This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Mike Miserendino, who teaches English at Fremd High School, is starring as Princeton in the musical. He has been involved in theater since he was a child and was familiar with Avenue Q when he heard about auditions.
“I was definitely going for the role of Princeton,” he said.
While Avenue Q does feature puppets, it is not intended for young children.
“The language is colorful if not questionable at times,” joked Avenue Q director and choreographer Mark Mahallak. For more than 20 years, Mahallak has been directing shows and working as a professional actor. Avenue Q will be the fifth Music on Stage show he has directed.
“It’s a fun show to do,” Mahallak said. “There’s 11 actors, and they’re all very talented. Every day I see something they do that impresses me.”
“We have an incredible group of people. Every time I see the show in rehearsals, I’m still laughing. It sweeps you up. It’s edgy and bawdy, but it has a whole lot of heart.”
Tickets for Avenue Q are available online or by calling the Cutting Hall box office at 847-202-5222.