This weekend I went to see the Drexel Co-op Theater Production of Avenue Q. This was one of those plays that I had heard of, but really didn’t know any of the details. I knew it involved puppets? And that it covered adult themes? But I didn’t know that it would hold one of the best coming-of-age stories I’ve seen.
Avenue Q is a great commentary on the coming of age most people experience in college or post-college. Its main theme revolves around the idea that when we are young, we are surrounded by media telling us that we are special, that everyone can accomplish their dreams, and that everyone must find their purpose in life. It is easy to become jaded when you realize that none of that is true or easy, and that it “sucks to be me.” However, the musical ends on a more positive note, and suggests that all of these things are only “for now.”
I watched many of the lessons I learned for myself in college play out on stage. From what the internet is used for, to the realities of love and finding a purpose, the musical covers it all. I appreciated that, unlike other coming of age stories, Avenue Q doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of life. At the end of the musical, the main character is still unsure of what his purpose is. He leaves with the realization that what sucks is only for now, and hopefully things will improve in the future.
The musical is a good deconstruction of Sesame Street, and could be seen as the adult analog to the show. In fact, some of the puppeteers from Sesame Street performed in the original cast of Avenue Q.
The Co-op Theater did a great job presenting this musical. The acting was good, and the puppeteers operated their characters skillfully. I also think that the company made a prescient choice in portraying this musical now. As the Playbill said, “We need Avenue Q now more than ever.” This is absolutely true. Not only is it a good choice for a college setting in general, but it reflects greatly upon the direction in which our society seems to be heading recently.
When the main character asks, “What Do I Do With a BA in English?” I thought of my friends that are recent arts graduates, all struggling to get by. I find it troubling that we can’t pursue the careers of our choice and expect some degree of success if we put in the effort. Watching people fail while working hard is disheartening, but it’s all a part of the real world. Avenue Q puts a fun spin on these topics, without getting too heavy.
While there will be no more performances in the Mandell Theater of this play, I’d suggest checking out the soundtrack! It’s highly relatable for all of us in college. Next time you’re feeling down, remember that all of this is only for now.