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Friday, February 18, 2011

Review: Production of Avenue Q Works -- But It's Best for Newbies

Posted By on Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Kerri Brackin (left to right), Nicky, Jason Heymann, Nigel Jamaal Clark in Avenue Q. - JOHN DAUGHTRY
  • John Daughtry
  • Kerri Brackin (left to right), Nicky, Jason Heymann, Nigel Jamaal Clark in Avenue Q.

If you know anything about Avenue Q, the unlikely Broadway phenomenon that won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical, you already know that it's a gleefully adult send-up of Sesame Street, complete with puppets getting blowjobs. You probably know that one of the puppets reminds us that "The Internet Is for Porn," including the admonishment to "grab your dick and double-click." And you're almost certainly aware that at one point the puppets insist, very sensibly, that "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist."

All of that is old news. You're probably most interested in knowing if the new touring production of Avenue Q, now making a brief stopover in San Francisco, is worth your time and money. The answer? Well, it sort of depends.

If you've already seen the play, there's no need to catch this stripped-down, somewhat uneven production. But if you haven't seen it yet -- and in particular, if you've never heard the brilliant cast recording from the show's Broadway run -- you won't necessarily know what you're missing. The songs are still relevant and clever, the actors are a talented crew, and the production's relatively low energy levels are still high by most standards.

But it's not a must-see event by any means. In fact, rather than spend cash for tickets, you could do far worse than grab the original cast album on iTunes. The lyrics have always been the star of Avenue Q anyway, so you'll probably laugh just as hard.

Avenue Q continues through Feb. 27 at the Orpheum Theatre. Admission is $50-$200.

For more events in San Francisco this weekend and beyond, check out our calendar section.

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Chris Jensen


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