If you’re looking for an absolutely delightful and silly way to spend an evening examining racism, sex, the internet and even naked puppets, the Palisades High School production of “Avenue Q” will not disappoint.
Director (and resident) Nancy Cassaro-Fracchiolla writes, “The thing I love about satire is that it gives you a way to process uncomfortable things.”
The audience, which was masked (as were the performers), was laughing throughout most of the show. And if they weren’t laughing, I know they had huge smiles – because I did.
This is just a lovely, silly show that unfortunately will end this coming weekend. The musical features a cast of puppeteers and human actors and won for Best Musical, Book and Score at the 2004 Tony Awards.
The story revolves around a recent college grad named Princeton (Desi Friedberg), who has a degree in English and moves into a shabby New York apartment on Avenue Q, singing “What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?”
I laughed at “It Sucks to Be Me,” a song with Brian (Jacob Accardo), Kate Monster (Ella Hobert), Rod (Theo King), Nicky (Sam Levitt), Christmas Eve (Nicole Chang), Gary Coleman (Shelbe Zanders) and Princeton. I laughed during “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and “The Internet Is for Porn.”
As always, the talent at this high school is deep—the vocals were so beautiful, particularly Hobert as Kate Monster and Friedberg.
But the entire ensemble was so good, it’s almost impossible to single out any one performer.
I laughed out loud at the Bad Idea Bears (Carlie Given and Riley Stoler), who were filled with lots of bad ideas, such as suggesting that the best way to drink a Long Island Iced Tea is fast.
This is “Sesame Street” for adults. Kevin Noonchester, who runs Avenue Q Puppet Camp, worked with the students for 15 hours on how to operate the puppets. The performers and the puppets mirrored each other’s emotions and movements, which was fascinating to see as they started to blend as one.
Cassaro-Fracchiolla said, “We could not have done the show without Kevin.”
Also to be commended was the orchestra led by Elizabeth Stoyanovich.
All tickets must be purchased online: go.palihigh.org/avenueq and there are only three more shows — on October 14, 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $17 for general, $10 for students and $25 for VIP. Proof of vaccination is required or a PCR Covid test result within seven days of entering the campus.