Avenue Q. How was your first Broadway experience?
Avenue Q, my first REAL Broadway experience (Editor's note: Avenue Q is technically Off Broadway, now). I was not expecting this one. Hours leading up to the show I really expected it to be more of the "typical" Broadway show, which, in my mind consisted of a Shakespeare type of performance. I didn't really feel like I would be compelled by this show and part of me even expected it to be a bit boring. I was tired from spending a majority of my day walking the streets of Manhattan, so my attention span was super short. Entering the theater I began to feel a sense of importance. Our seats were closer to the stage that I had initially thought and for some reason just being by the stage I felt different. Somehow, I was ready to be drawn to the performance. Then we moved even closer, center stage in the front row to be exact. This made me feel even more important, as if the actors would notice me because I was sitting right in front of them.
Before the show several thoughts ran through my mind: What if the performer forgets a line?, What if they fall? and even the thought of Who is this actor? After the fact, I notice that these thoughts remained with me throughout the show.
At one point the actress playing Gary Coleman made direct eye contact with me; It was during "The Money Song". It was almost as if I could have reached on the stage and pulled her off...like I had that power. I would never do that of course, but I saw how much trust is put in the audience and how they're dragged onto the ride. That part was a great element because they did things that were unexpected. Things like coming into and joking with the audience and laughing in the middle of the song (when I personally didn't think they were supposed). It was interesting to see if the audience would go for it and play along. That's the point when I felt great about coming. Spending my money on the show was worth my time.
The puppeteers too. I kept checking in with the actors and the puppets to see if their facial expressions matched. They did. It was as if actor and puppet were one. Even when small details in the puppets would change I'd notice. Such as Kate straightening her hair, Nicky growing a beard, or Princeton's hair getting shorter. I was wondering how they made those transitions so quickly. I suspect that there were several different character puppets used, but I might be wrong.
These were some of the moments that made me think that eventually I could possibly get into this whole "theatre" thing. After the show my perspective on theatre changed. I saw a more comedic side to it, it's not all about tragedy and there's even a softer side to it, a side that I like. Over the course of the day my views on theatre went from basically a negative stereotype, to a fondness, to an acceptance in the world of the arts.
-- Michael M.