Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Q Rating

The passes to the swank Avenue Q "closing night" party at Del Posto Sunday night contained a subtle clue about producer Kevin McCollum's surprise announcement that the show wasn't actually leaving New York but returning to Off-Broadway glory next month at New World Stages. "A 'for now' closing party," they read, and given the size and the scope of the festivities (three levels in a Meatpacking District enclave), I'd say producers aren't terribly worried about selling enough tickets (top price now down to $86.50) to keep the show solvent.

I hope the move pays off. I agree that Avenue Q's final Broadway performance was nearly as solid as it was when I first caught it at the Vineyard in 2003, and the show has aged gracefully. I was happy to see two actor-puppeteers that I interviewed a couple of years ago for an article about the touring production were part of the cast, Robert McClure (one of John Tartaglia's successor) and Christian Anderson.

There were only a couple of instances when it seems as if the times had caught up with the show. Closeted gay puppet Rod's fear of coming out to his roommate and neighbors didn't seem as weighty as it did six years ago — a positive sign of how far we've come. On the other hand, the scene where he sighs to Christmas Eve, "I'm an investment banker. And a Republican," and she replies, "Stay in the closet then. You're good for nothing" drew quite the applause — also a sign of the times.

I was among those clapping at that and, along with many others in the audiences, at the line, "Crabby old bitches are the backbone of this nation!" Perhaps that was in honor of my late grandmother — or perhaps because I feel I'm already on my way to crabby-old-bitchdom!

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