Saturday evening I arrived out of the cold winter air of the first snowfall in Ann Arbor, to the warm lobby of the Power Center. The atmosphere of the crowd making their way to their seats for MUSKET’s Avenue Q was festive; joy at the first snowfall is precious and limited, as snow soon turns into a miserable obstacle to plans and getting places in later months.
But Saturday, the audience was still enthralled with snow and the good mood grew as the show began. The musical’s energy and satirical nature had the audience laughing from the first opening animation. The masterful use of puppets occasionally invoked giggles at the interactions between human characters and puppet characters, as the relatable struggles of being adults enfolded. Princeton, the main character, strives to discover his PURPOSE while he and his friends battle making rent, holding jobs, and finding love.
I was pleasantly surprised by the numerous touching moments this production teased out. Scenes showcased friends supporting each other, sad moments of disappointment that elicited “oohs’ of sympathy from the audience, and beautiful technicolor numbers about love. I came expecting the songs about topics like sex and “Schadenfreude” whose satirical tones seek to create discomfort to further prove their point about the changes each of us can make in society, but I was pleasantly surprised by the balance between satire and kindness. The audience was engaged and eager; you could feel the good energy all around your seat and we showed our appreciation for the laughs by standing at the curtain call. College students like myself, happy we have yet to face many of the difficulties awaiting us in adulthood as portrayed in the musical, and parental adults alike, both enjoyed MUSKET’s energetic romp along Avenue Q!