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Burton Weaver (at left, holding puppet) portrays the lead character, Princeton, in this scene from Avenue Q. (Photo: Taylor Rankin)

Former Broadway hit 'Avenue Q' at CSUEB's University Theatre through March 16

  • February 3, 2014

The longtime Broadway hit musical “Avenue Q,” referred to by many as “Sesame Street for adults,” will be presented by the Cal State East Bay Department of Theatre and Dance for its final three performances, March 14-16, in the University Theatre of CSUEB’s Hayward Campus, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd.

The Tony Award® winning show will be on stage for Friday and Saturday 8 p.m. performances March 14-15, and a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on March 16. Tickets are $20 for general admission; $15 for CSUEB faculty, staff, alumni and seniors 60 and older; and $10 for CSUEB students.

“Avenue Q” is a coming-of-age parable, addressing and satirizing the issues and anxieties associated with entering adulthood.

Inspired by the children’s television show Sesame Street, the Avenue Q storyline follows a young man named Princeton, who has just graduated with a degree in English. Unfortunately Princeton is unable to find a job after graduation and has to find low cost housing in a building managed by former child star Gary Coleman, best known for his starring role in the 1980s sitcom, “Different Strokes.” It is there that Princeton falls in love with Kate Monster and befriends his neighbors Rod, a closeted gay Republican; his slacker roommate Nickie; Brian, an aspiring comedian; and Brian’s wife, Christmas Eve.

“‘Avenue Q’ looks like Sesame Street for adults, with actors operating furry, adorable puppets that represent a group of 20-something persons as they navigate life after college in a tough economy,” said Marc Jacobs, the show’s director and associate professor of theatre and dance for Cal State East Bay. “The show takes subjects not normally talked about in musicals and puts them into hysterical, hummable songs with titles such as ‘It Sucks to be Me,’ ‘If You Were Gay,’ ‘Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,’ and ‘The Internet is for Porn.’

“Because of the mature – but very funny – subject matter, the show is recommended for audiences 18 years of age and above,” Jacobs noted.

“Avenue Q” was created by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez. Lopez went on to create another Broadway hit and Tony Award® winner, “The Book of Mormon.”

In addition to Jacobs’ direction, this production of “Avenue Q” is choreographed by Laura Ellis, with musical direction by Sierra Dee. They are the same leadership team that headed the Cal State East bay hit production of “Bat Boy, the Musical.”

This “Avenue Q” production features the cast of Burton Weaver of Lafayette, who stars as Princeton; Leslie Tammone of Fallbrook (Kate Monster); Marie Ibarra of Newark (Christmas Eve); Tristan Scheving of Newark (Brian); Kevin Redrico of Vallejo (Rod); and Daniel Banatao of Union City (Nicky and Trekkie Monster). Beth Campbell of Fresno and Adrienne Hernaez of Vallejo portray the Bad Idea Bears, with Wendy Amador of Livermore playing “Lucy the Slut” and Sandra Young-Cellilo of San Carlos as Mrs. Thistletwat.

The show’s chorus includes Nick Berk of Mission Viejo, Jasmine Williams of San Lorenzo, Destiny Coleman of San Lorenzo, Eleanor Ortega of Los Angeles and Rebecca Soltau of Union City.

For additional information about “Avenue Q” – as well as to purchase tickets – call (510) 885-3118 or go online to www.csueastbaytickets.com.

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