"Avenue Q" at Venture Theatre

Venture Theatre made some bold moves when investing in its production of “Avenue Q.” In addition to the cost of the puppets, the playhouse also brought in professional set designer Amber Felker. Its run has been extended to include shows March 23, 24 and 30 and 31. Call the theater at 591-9535 for tickets or information.

If there were a more perfect cast for "Avenue Q," I would be hard-pressed to name them.

Lynn Al did such a fine job casting and directing this show, now in its final two weekends, that it feels like you are seeing it at a professional theater in a much-larger market. It will be staged March 23, 24 and 30 and 31. You'll be sorry if you don't catch this show.

Andrew Seeman's voice is so soothing as the voice of Nicky and so deliciously gruff as Trekkie Monster, it sounds like he is right off the set of "Sesame Street." And if you don't melt at the sound of Vanessa Dent's lovely voice as Kate Monster, your heart must be obscured by fur.

For the uninitiated, it's tough to describe the charm of a show like "Avenue Q." It takes that warm fuzzy connection we have to our beloved "Sesame Street" and mixes it up with "South Park" humor. The melodies are so sweet, but lyrically they bust our chops. Yet there is a nugget of truth behind them.

"Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" sounds like a right-wing victory song, but it makes a point. We are all a little bit racist in little ways that we should acknowledge before they become a big deal.

When Trekkie Monster cuts loose on "The Internet's for Porn" much to Kate's chagrin, we can laugh because he's the stereotypical basement boy (only he lives upstairs on ‘Avenue Q').

Chaslee Schweitzer does such a steamy job as Lucy T Slut, it brings down the house when her puppet slides across the piano to seduce Princeton, played by Christopher Jennings. And Sofia Gomez Lohrenz playing Gary Coleman is a wonder because in real-life the Billings actress is so feminine.

 One of my favorite's and an audience favorite is Wendy Carlin's critical, but lovable Christmas Eve. Gus Belotta looks cute in his plaid shorts, perfect for a spoof of a kids' show, and Kevin B. Schweitzer is an odd combination of loud, but sensitive as Rod.



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