Avenue Q is a musical conceived by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, who wrote the music and lyrics, and directed by Jason Moore. The book is by Jeff Whitty. The show was produced by and opened at the Off-Broadway Vineyard Theatre in March 2003. The production transferred to Broadway in July 2003 and won several Tony Awards, including the award for Best Musical. It is still running on Broadway and holds the position of 21st longest running show in Broadway history. The show has spawned a 2005 Las Vegas production, a 2006 West End production and various international productions. An Australian national tour began in June 2009 and will end in June 2010.
The show is largely inspired by (and is in the style of) Sesame Street; most of the characters in the show are puppets (operated by actors onstage), the set depicts several tenements on a rundown street in an Outer Borough of New York City, both the live characters and puppet characters sing, and short animated video clips are played as part of the story.
Several characters are recognizably parodies of classic Sesame Street characters: for example, the roommates Rod and Nicky are versions of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie, Trekkie Monster is based on Cookie Monster and Kate Monster is inspired by Prairie Dawn. However, the characters are in their twenties and thirties and face adult problems instead of those faced by pre-schoolers, thus making the show more suited for the adults who grew up with Sesame Street. Four of the original cast members (John Tartaglia, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Jennifer Barnhart and Rick Lyon) had worked on Sesame Street before.
The characters use profanity, and the songs concern adult themes. A recurring theme is the central character’s search for a “purpose”. Since the musical soundtrack for it was released, the song “The Internet Is for Porn” has become particularly popular on websites such as YouTube and can be downloaded for free from the official website. According to the official site, the musical is appropriate for both adults and mature teenagers.