Valley View: “Avenue Q”

Remember back in the day, when we used to learn from puppets? They’d teach us the importance of sharing or how to spell “cat” and, ultimately, they made learning fun. If you’re nostalgic for those fuzzy friends or in need of a few life lessons, look no further than Penn State’s production of “Avenue Q.”

If you haven’t heard of the TONY award winning Broadway veteran musical, here’s a quick summary: recent college grad, Princeton, moves to NYC and can’t afford to live anywhere but Avenue Q where child star, Gary Coleman, is his landlord. Princeton continues to make friends, become unemployed and fall in love all while trying to discover the true meaning of life.

The performance showed its message through humorous and somewhat vulgar show tunes. Some of Valley’s favorites were, “It Sucks to Be Me,” “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” “I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today”and the feel-good finale, “For Now.”

The coming of age comedy is not only entertaining with its absurdly honest music, but also painfully relevant for its Penn State student audience. Princeton’s struggle to find his purpose, Kate’s search for love and Brian’s search for a job are all issues we, young adults, are faced with. It was refreshing to have these rather serious concerns presented in light-hearted song and witty banter. While the bitter-sweet ballade, “I Wish I Could Go Back to College,” ensued some sorrowful reflection, the resounding “For Now” conclusion left the audience feeling reassured and satisfied.

Courtney Young, who is directing the production for Penn State Centre Stage, said, “I saw the original Broadway production of ‘Avenue Q’ and was blown away by the show’s inventiveness, irreverence and humor. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to direct a show that tells the story of finding one’s purpose in life with such candor, humor and heart.”

While it’s not the appropriate production for a night of theatre on the town with grandma, thanks to songs like “The Internet is for Porn,” “Avenue Q” will keep you thoroughly entertained while a few of our old fuzzy, puppet friends walk us down memory lane and teach us some noteworthy lessons about life post-college.

Be sure to take a 90 minute break from studying or Netflix this week to catch “Avenue Q” on campus at the Playhouse Theatre through February 28!