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How to get to ‘Avenue Q’: Sierra Stages leads the way

Get ready for some ridiculous, riotous and downright raunchy puppet behavior in “Avenue Q,” the smash-hit Broadway musical presented this summer by Sierra Stages. The three-time Tony Award-winning musical for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book plays for 15 performances only from Wednesday through Aug. 3 at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City.

Meet Princeton, a fresh-faced college grad, and his wacky new neighbors living way, way out on the outskirts of New York City on Avenue Q, where everyone’s looking for the same things he is: a decent job, a stable relationship, and a “purpose.” The life lessons come fast and funny as Princeton learns that “It Sucks to Be Me,” “The Internet Is for Porn” and “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.”

With a cast of 11 humans and 28 puppets, “Avenue Q” is like “Sesame Street,” only for adults. (Think more “South Park” or “Family Guy” than “Sesame Street.”) Entertainment Weekly claimed it was “one of the funniest shows you’re ever likely to see!” “Avenue Q” has music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, book by Jeff Whitty, and is based on an original concept by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx.

The Sierra Stages production of “Avenue Q” is directed by Robert Rossman with musical direction by Ken Getz. The cast includes Nevada County actors Isaias Acosta, Kristine Alcamo, Lyra Dominguez, Nancy Haffey, Kate Haight, JR Lewis, Erick Lindley, Danny McCammon, Conor Nolan, Jordan Thomas-Rose, and Kim Wellman. The Avenue Q Band, conducted by Getz, includes Nevada County musicians Kit Bailey, Jesse Burke, Nancy McRay, Steve Nicholson, Kirsti and Bill Powell, Dave Riddles and Jesse Rodrigue.

“‘Avenue Q’ is one of a small number of musicals that appeals to both hard-core musical fans and audiences whose impulse is to avoid musicals at all costs,” said Sierra Stages Board Member Peter Mason. “It shares this quality with the more recent Broadway musical ‘The Book of Mormon,’ which also has music by ‘Avenue Q’’ Robert Lopez.

“Part of the genius of the show is that the authors constructed it with puppets singing many of the songs, and as a result, it is easier to suspend disbelief when characters break into song.”

Musical Director Getz offered that “‘Avenue Q’ has a very ‘20-something’ sensibility and an abundance of ‘frat boy’ humor (which in many cases is intended to shock audiences and succeeds!), but at the same time, it has the heart and soul of a traditional Broadway musical: It is laugh-out-loud funny with ribald humor in the tradition of ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ and ‘The Producers,’ even as it teaches life lessons about tolerance and charity in the tradition of shows like ‘South Pacific.’”

Please note: Due to adult situations (like puppet nudity) and adult language (which we cannot repeat here), “Avenue Q” is not for the little ones or the faint of heart. However, your teenage kids will think you are cool if you bring them, according to Getz and Mason.

Performances of “Avenue Q” will be at 7 p.m. Thursdays and 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays with a special 7 p.m. Wednesday preview performance and two Sunday matinees — 2 p.m. July 21 and July 28. General admission tickets for the preview performances Wednesday and Thursday (July 11) are $15. General admission tickets for all other performances are discounted to only $20 if purchased before July 12. Thereafter, general admission tickets are $25. For those audience members who prefer a specific seat location and wish to provide additional financial support for Sierra Stages, reserved tickets for all performances are available for $35. Tickets are available online at http://SierraStages.org or by calling the Sierra Stages ticket line at 530-346-3210. Tickets are also on sale at BriarPatch Co-op on Sierra College Boulevard in Grass Valley.

Sierra Stages is a tax-exempt not-for-profit community theater with a goal to enrich the culture of western Nevada County by offering a wide range of quality theatrical experiences. For information about “Avenue Q” and Sierra Stages, visit http://SierraStages.org.


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The Union Updated Jul 4, 2013 07:31AM Published Jul 10, 2013 03:19PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.