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Avenue Q puppet

"Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to … Avenue Q?"

This is not your parents' Sesame Street.

Lakeland University will stage the raucous comedy "Avenue Q," an award-winning Broadway musical featuring puppets that's filled with laughs. The content includes adult themes and is intended for mature audiences.

The show will be staged at Lakeland's Bradley Theatre on April 5, 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. and April 8 at 2 p.m. Purchase tickets online at Lakeland.edu/theatre or at the box office shortly before each show.

"I haven't had this much fun working on a musical in a very long time," said Lakeland Theatre Director Charlie Krebs. "At rehearsals, we can't stop laughing. While the show is R-rated, it's not crude—I mean it's puppets, so the adult themes are funny. It's irresistibly funny, charming, moving and inspirational."

Rehearsals took an unexpected twist when there was a snafu with the puppets. The plan was to rent puppets, but there was a problem with the order, and Krebs and his students were faced with the challenge of making their own.

"The shock quickly turned to excitement when we deployed a fleet of students under the direction of Lakeland alumna and costume designer Della Jahnke," Krebs said. "She taught herself puppet making, and then trained these amazing students to make them all from scratch. They are in every color imaginable, representing diversity in a very playful way."

Krebs said while humor and some colorful scenes will have people laughing, there's an underlying theme of acceptance that resonates throughout the show.

"These characters learn to accept themselves and one another," Krebs said. "Avenue Q is actually Quentin Avenue in Brooklyn where these characters live, learn and grow by living next door to each other. The stage has been transformed into a Sesame Street neighborhood that reeks of joy.

"The music is infectious, and I think the audience isn't going to be able to get it out of their heads. It's the first musical in a long time where both full-time music faculty have worked with me on a show. We're discovering that it's a perfect combination, and our enthusiasm is infecting the cast."

Cast and Staff

Kate Monster Emily Sonntag
Princeton Brandon Herrin
Brian Ben Tengowski
Christmas Eve Sathena Thao
Gary Coleman Aaliyah Lewis
Trekkie Monster Caleb Bailey; Alyssa Olsen
Rod Dustin Holmer
Nicky Reggie Nimmer; Connor Siemers
Bad Idea Bear Megan Sullivan
Bad Idea Bear Abby Kelly
Mrs. Thistletwat Chloe Skibinski
Lucy Kristen Brusky
Vocal Director John Guarente
Pit Director Evan Chancellor
Costume Designer Della Jahnke
Lighting Designer Ethan Richmond
Audio Director Chris Wylie
Stage Manager Maia Reed

Orchestra:
Cyndall Gorde, Flute
Heather Vrba, Saxophone
Chris Kletzien, Trumpet
Alex Turicik, Guitar
Sarah Dahm, Cello
Dylan Zastrow, Electric bass
Ryan Hoey, Auxiliary percussion
Zach Mock, Drumset
Dennis Boettcher, Piano

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