PLAY REVIEW

Avenue Q bridges gap from hilarity to ’90s nostalgia

After the solemn and sincere Our Town, the RPI Players switch gears as they prepare for this season’s musical, Avenue Q. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it is an homage to Sesame Street that satirizes the story of a young man entering adulthood and the many disillusioning realities he has to face.

Princeton, our protagonist, is fresh out of college with a desire to find his life’s purpose—the thing that makes him special. Along the way, he stumbles onto Avenue Q, a neighborhood that is in his price range. There, he meets a series of characters, some, like himself, presented in puppet form. They help him navigate this coming-of-age story, which spans a series of issues from unemployment to relationships and more.

Bryce Miller ’16 takes on the role of Princeton, presenting a well-meaning, if a little naive, persona that is a killer impression of the original cast’s John Tartaglia. It’s no surprise, however, that this veteran of one of RPI’s a cappella groups, Partial Credit, can take on such a role in broadway style. Alongside her is Pixie Sirois ’18 playing the part of Kate Monster, a sweet and romantic young lady with a dream for young monsters like herself. Once again, Sirois delivers in her performance. Last season, she displayed her strong and high voice in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. This season, she, like Miller, brings out the reminiscent feeling of watching characters on PBS, presenting a wonderfully entertaining character.

This production’s cast is one of the most convincing and talented that I have had the pleasure to view. Pranav Suppal ’19 will have you laughing with his Cookie Monster impression. Chiara Mancinelli ’19 will have you questioning yourself “Am I attracted to a puppet right now?” And Bill Geltzeiler will do everything in his power to convince you that his character is not gay. In all seriousness, this cast has put in some major effort to coordinate their puppet’s gestures with their own, all while singing, dancing, and telling a simple, yet relatable, story.

If my review of the stellar performance can’t get you to go, how about some raunchy and inappropriate humour? As mentioned before, this show takes on a wide variety of social topics, which include race, sexuality, and promiscuity. The characters tackle these issues in song with titles such as “If You Were Gay,” “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” and a personal favorite “What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?”

While this show is a guaranteed laugh, the Players’ sets are no joke. Upon the stage is a backdrop of familiar city-style homes. Scattered about are a series of old CRT televisions that periodically display words and images, contributing to the reminiscent feel of Sesame Street. Off along the sides are more sets, extending the performance area.

This is a truly entertaining show with well-rendered characters, fun and lighthearted musical numbers, and a touching story to tell. I encourage all to check it out this Friday at 8 pm. You can reserve your tickets ahead at https://poly.rpi.edu/s/players.

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