Delaware Theater Spotlight

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Avenue Q at the Wilmington Drama League

This review is co-written by Rick Jensen and Laurie Bick of Thirsty Thursday on 1150AM WDEL

It's only funny because it's wrong. This is the way some of my more demented friends would play with Muppets* if they had them. When they got caught, they'd be grounded for a month. Other than that, this urban tale is not unlike the stories and relationships in the classic "Four Seasons" except the Q characters are funnier, younger and a lot more foul. Yes, that could mean "more real" if you ever lived in South Philly or Bear.

Jim Burns as Rod, Regina Dzielak as Kate Monster, Shawn Kline as Brian, Suzanne Stein as Christmas Eve, and Anthony Vitalo as Nicky. Photo by Kristen Romero.

Personally, I was deeply traumatized watching two of my friends act out teenage fantasies with their muppet*-puppets, egged on by the "Bad Idea Bears, played by Katie Brady and Chrissy Stief." I will never again be able to look them in the eyes.

* Avenue Q is in no way associated with the Muppets or Jim Hensen. The Q cast is quick to make this disclaimer along with multiple admonitions to leave the kids at home. There was one scene during which I wished I had left myself at home. Other than that, I genuinely laughed.

Lucy the Slut (Shelli Ezold) hits on Princeton (Jason Tokarski), while Kate Monster (Regina Dzielak) gives Lucy the stink eye. Photo by Kristen Romero.

As soon as the puppets (and their actor-handlers) came on stage, I remember thinking, "Hmm ... wouldn't Freud have a field day with this one! What if the puppets the cast were wielding and speaking for were the alter egos for the real cast members?" If it turned out to be close to being true, I thought, how sad that the female lead is Kate Monster? Even though it's becoming more common in pop culture today, until relatively recently it's been the guy who's depicted as a monster in plays and movies, not the girl. Think Bride of Frankenstein meets Beaver Cleaver (every pun intended).

Trekkie Monster (Nick D'Argenio) sings about what the internet is REALLY for. Photo by Kristen Romero

In this time of cute and fuzzy monsters (surely everyone and their kids has seen those most popular of animated monster films?), it's next to impossible not to readily accept the overt pornographic double intendres and the juxtaposition of monster-meets-the-boy-of-her-dreams that is Avenue Q. But make no mistake; this is not a musical just for girls. There's something in Avenue Q for everyone, provided you a.) aren't easily offended, especially by profanity; b.) accept "adult themes" between puppets; c.) identify with nostalgia for your long lost (and sophomoric) college days, and d.) have your mental health provider sitting beside you.

Poor Gary Coleman (Tommy Fisher-Klein), the Superintendant of Avenue Q. Photo by Kristen Romero.

Avenue Q runs until October 6 at the Wilmington Drama League. For tickets, call 302-764-1172 or visit

Posted at 11:27am on October 1, 2013 by Rick Jensen

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