The cast of ’Avenue Q’ pose for a photo. From left: Sean McComas (Brian), Olivia Mendez (Gary Coleman), Aaron Dalton (Rod), Randy Robbins
The cast of 'Avenue Q' pose for a photo. From left: Sean McComas (Brian), Olivia Mendez (Gary Coleman), Aaron Dalton (Rod), Randy Robbins (Princeton), Blake Aburn (Nicky), Marissa Hoover (Kate), and Dimitra Skouras (Christmas Eve). (SUBMITTED)
Among the theater world's most interesting creations is "Avenue Q." The cast mixes naive young adults, grown Sesame Street puppets and now deceased child star Gary Coleman.

The resulting Broadway smash meant stardom for Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, who wrote the music and lyrics.

Its creators described the show as an "autobiographical and biographical" coming-of-age parable that mocks the issues and anxieties associated with entering adulthood.

"It's been called the adult Sesame Street," said Tatiana Dalton, who is directing an adaptation of "Avenue Q" at York Little Theatre, opening this weekend. "It is definitely a unique show in the juxtaposition of the puppets with the adult actors."

The characters tackle their childhood, specifically how they were coddled by their parents, and assured they were "special" and could accomplish anything. However, as adults, they realize they find few opportunities and finally conclude they are no more special than anyone else.

Lopez and Marx grew up in New York City and have said the show is based on their own experiences coming of age. The book was written by Jeff Whitty and the original show was directed by Jason Moore. It ran on Broadway for more than 2,500 performances before closing three years ago.

Dalton said her adaptation is mostly faithful to the original.

"We have actually rented the Broadway puppets for the show," she said. "It's a hysterical play. People will come out of there laughing. ... It touches on the very serious issues, but on a positive note."

The plot revolves around Princeton, a young college graduate who has just moved to New York with big dreams but little money. He moves to Avenue Q, the only place he can afford to live, and manages to forge close friendships as his life trends downhill.

Other notable characters include Brian (the jobless comedian), Nicky (the freeloader), Rod (an investment banker), and Kate (a kindergarten teaching assistant). The musical also features the Coleman character as a building administrator.

Audiences will be entertained by the unusual musical, Dalton said, but should remember that, despite the puppets, it is an R-rated show. The production tackles adult themes such as racism and homosexuality.

Dalton cast Randy Robbins as Princeton. Other roles are filled by Marissa Hoover (Kate), Blake Aburn (Nicky), Aaron Dalton (Rod) and Sean McComas (Brian).


If you go

WHAT: Avenue Q

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15, 16 and 17; 3 p.m. Nov. 18

WHERE: York Little Theatre, 27 S. Belmont St., Spring Garden Township

COST: $23 for adults, $21 for seniors 62 and older, and $18 for students 13 and older

DETAILS: www.ylt.org