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Avenue Q at the U

Oneonta students bring puppets to life

Story by SUNY Oneonta April 21st, 2016

If you were to mash up Sesame Street with Master of None, what would you get?

Probably something like Avenue Q, a Broadway musical about life after college. Puppets and their human neighbors search for love, careers and their purpose in life. We’ve been following the SUNY Oneonta production of Avenue Q from audition night in November to opening night in April. Here is what we’ve seen.

AUDITION NIGHT

On a cold night in November, students come one by one to Goodrich Theater to try out for this bizarre, funny musical, which one student calls “Sesame Street on crack.” The next night, a dozen top performers are called back to sing songs from the musical together, while director Drew Kahl listens intensely. A few hours later, Kahl posts the final cast list in the hall outside the theater.

FIRST REHEARSALS

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Voice conditioning, puppet training and set design make for months of long rehearsals and little sleep. Cast and production crew work hand in hand creating the visual elements of Avenue Q.

IN THE PUPPET SHOP

Puppet-maker and theatre major Shadow LaValley explains how to bring fabric and cardboard to life.

FINAL REHEARSALS

Opening night is less than three weeks away, and some actors don’t know all their lines, especially in Act II. Most of the puppets are ready, but three versions of Kate Monster are still in the puppet shop.

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Despite a few rough spots, the show is already funny — sometimes crass and sometimes sentimental. The set looks great, but in a run-through of the entire show, the cast discovers they really don’t have enough time to get from one position to another between scenes.


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OPENING NIGHT

The moment is here and the cast rises to the occasion. Backstage there are some jitters, but from the house, the show looks and sounds fabulous. Here’s how one song, There’s A Fine, Fine Line, sung by Kate Monster, progressed from audition night to opening night.