Avenue Q is Definitely The Show For You!

Blank Canvas Theatre
Professional Theatre

Book and Lyrics by: Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez
Book by: Jeff Whitty
Based on an original concept by: Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx

How can you not love a show that has a printed warning that reads: This Show Contains Adult Content and Puppet Nudity. Thank you.
And who is bringing the crazy to Avenue Q? These fabulous people......

P.S. Remember the two bears in the inner windows from the picture above. We'll come back to them.

This hilarious musical tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton (Shane Patrick O'Neill), who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. He soon discovers that, although the residents seem nice, it's clear that this is not your ordinary neighborhood. Together, Princeton and his new-found friends struggle to find jobs, dates and their ever-elusive purpose in life. Of course, the fact that almost everyone has a puppet partner makes this an insane ride. Although the show addresses adult issues, it does so in a humorous way. It is similar to a beloved children's show; a place where puppets are friends, Monsters are good and life lessons are learned. But this version doesn't always turn out the way the traditional TV shows do. In this interpretation, things really get real, and we can't get enough of watching it.

O'Neill is a great leading puppet, I mean, leading man. HIs voice is terrific and very expressive, which matches his puppet alter ego well. Great timing and his innocence really pay off when he experiences some mating rituals. Kate Monster is played to the hilt by Leah Smith. She has great chemistry with O'Neill, and has a powerful set of theatrical chops. She really nails her character voice and puppet work. She is a blast to watch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Rod, an anal-retentive Republican banker is inhabited by a beautifully expressive Scott Esposito. He is serving mouth open realness.  He is full out everything, and the audience can't get enough of it. Wonderful solid character. Everyone probably has known a slacker roommate in their life, and Rod certainly has one in Nicky (Trey Gilpin). Gilpin is a delightful hot mess, with fabulous timing. His right arm sidekick (Kate Michalski) does well to bring their puppet to life and snag quite a few laughs.

I can't say enough about Neda Spears as Gary Coleman. What a great star turn. She commands the Colemanisms, in both physicality and vocal energy. She sings with soul-infused handyman realness and churns out phrases that keep you in stitches throughout the show.

One of my favorite performances is Brett DiCello as Trekkie Monster. Soooooooooo funny, Everytime that window opens, and that hot red haired mess comes out of the window, it is always for a killer reason, and a hilarious bit. Voiced with maniacal gusto, and working with his puppet partner David Turner, they turn in a show-stealing presence. 

Now we come to the hussy puppet of the show, Lucy. Katie Gucik arrives in full sass as the man killer Lucy. Equipped with a dynamite voice, and sultry acting chops, she makes her own star turn as the puppet gone bad. Really terrific fun. She really gives you a penny for your thoughts.

Remember those two bears from the first picture. David Turner and Becca Ciamacco play the Bad Idea Bears. From the name you can see that giving appropriate advice is not on the menu. Thank God because these two bears are a mess. Turner and Ciamacco just take their fuzzy little pastel-colored bears to the point of no return. When they introduce a drinking game to Princeton and Leah, it leads to some of the most violent puppet sex I have ever seen. Well, actually, I've never seen puppet sex, but wait, I did see Team America: World Police. That was on a movie screen, but this is right. up. in. your. face. I was convinced that oxygen masks were going to be dropped from the ceiling for the audience to breath. Hilarious. And in a featured puppet bit, Michalski is a scream as Mrs. T. When you hear with T stands for, make sure you aren't drinking something.

Director Patrick Ciamacco outdoes himself again. Directed with his unique gift of comedy, this is an all-out comedic puppet fantasy. He adds a few Cleveland references that enhance the local production. The projections, that have Ciamacco written all over them, are creative and many are new to the show. The EKG screen is completely out of control, The best is listening to the audience slowly get it. Amazing fun. He also contributes to Puppet, Projection, Set Design, and pulling all the elements together as Technical Director. Matt Dolan leads a kick-ass band and certainly brought some tight vocals to the company. The opening number is wrought with harmonic bliss. Katie Zarecki added just the right amount of movement on the stage. Well done since most actors have a puppet as well. Stage Manager Whitney Miller called a great show. Noah Hrbek added with additional puppet design and Projection Animations/Renderings. Costume Design on point by the fabulous Jenniver Sparano. Specific Puppet Design credited to Dave Haaz-Baroque for Kate Monster, Trekkie, and the Bad News Bears. Great Lighting Design from Jeff Lockshine.  Clear Sound Design by Richard B. Ingraham.

Great individual and ensemble work. Definitely worth putting yourself on the waiting list, since the entire run is Sold Out. 

All Photo credit: Andy Dudik
Ticket Information
and Promotional Materials

December 7 - December 22

8pm Thursdays
8pm Fridays
8pm Saturdays
7pm Sundays

Runtime: 2h 15m
Content Advisories: Rated R, This show contains adult language and content

$18 General Admission

(440) 941-0458
Order Tickets Online

Blank Canvas Theatre
1305 West 80th Street, Suite 211
Cleveland, OH 44102