Feisty ‘Avenue Q’ hits Delta stage

A puppet and his puppeteer get set for the performance.

“Avenue Q,” an original New York musical, is a “foot in mouth” type of production staged for the Spring 2017 semester at San Joaquin Delta College.

The show, which won a triple crown award in 2004, is still running on Broadway.

Delta College drama students put on six shows a year.. “Avenue Q” is jumping into new beginnings being the only musical done at Delta with only three people performing roles.

The rest of the cast being puppets.

Greg Foro, play director at Delta College said this musical is “an adult Sesame Street.”

It’s “main goal is to be outrageous.”

This play’s cast consists of all Delta Drama students from this semester, but anyone is able to audition and participate in future productions. Since this production is a first of its kind at Delta College a professional puppeteer, Katherine Jennings, flew from London to the college to teach a week of intensive puppetry to the cast.

Cast member Sam Hohn said Jennings was helpful.

“It was such a neat experience to work with someone who had worked with puppets professionally for such a long time … and she was able to give us so many pointers from both onstage and offstage,”  he said.

A lot of the actors expressed the battle of consistently holding the puppets in the air.

“I think the main thing for me was keeping her up and active with the pain that’s going on in my arm,” said Yessenia Mendieta, puppeteer of Lucy.

Hohn joked about his fear of getting arthritis in his arm.

With full projection and an orchestra with choir “Avenue Q” takes Delta College all the way to the full potential of the play’s ill-suited nature.

Some of the featured songs are: “It sucks to be me,” “Everyone’s a Little Bit racist” and “I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today.”

All of the cast has a lively sense of humor both onstage and offstage and it’s no doubt there is a bond between the puppets and actors.

Hohn exclaimed his love for his puppet “Rod.”

“…Rod has a very beautiful journey throughout the show that I think is relatable to a lot of people,” said Hohn “I see parts of like me from who I used to be to who I am now to who I want to be.”

The energy and persona of this musical targets the 17 to mid 30s audience with its whimsically insulting message.

While parental guidance is advised, the play is rated 14 and up and is sure to hit the right funny bone in audience members.

Every character has its own vibrant personality that seems to give the play a priceless display. Take Mendieta’s character, known as “Lucy” or “Lucy the Slut,” is described by Mendieta as “big and fun and sassy.”

Big as in bra size maybe?

Although “Avenue Q” can maybe be described as provocative, Mendieta said it brings back memories of shows like Sesame Street “only with adult context.”