‘Avenue Q:’ Purpose and where I can find it

What do you do when you are 22, have a Bachelor of Arts in English and are unsure of what your purpose is in life? “Avenue Q” explores all of those topics and more in their production at Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville.

Avenue Q was first performed in 2003 and received many awards and recognition for is production.

According to “Avenue Q’s” website: “Avenue Q is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton, who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. There, he meets Kate (the girl next door), Rod (the Republican), Trekkie (the internet sexpert), Lucy the Slut (need we say more?) and other colorful types who help Princeton finally discover his purpose in life!”

The show is not appropriate for younger kids. However, as stated on the “Avenue Q” website, it is great for teenagers because it is about real life.

The Haywood Arts Regional Theater, or HART, took on the Broadway production and captured much of the humor and fun the original show expressed.

Executive Director Steven Lloyd took to the stage to welcome everyone to the show.

“We try to pick a diverse season, which includes an edgy performance . . . this is the edgy,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd went on to warn the audience that in performing a Broadway performance that none of the lyrics may be changed and that they would be performing it exactly how it was written.

The show starts with Princeton, played by James Meador, singing about his B.A. in English and what he can do with his life. From there, the story evolves into a questioning sexuality, trying to grasp your purpose in life and sex.

The story explores Princeton’s relationship with Kate Monster, played by Kristen Hedberg, who is a member of adjunct voice faculty at Western Carolina University.

Two other performers are Western Carolina affiliated, Jordana McMahon as Lucy the Slut and Samantha Alicandri as Christmas Eve. Both made their HART debut in the summer musical “Brigadoon.”

Other actors include Brad Mercier, who plays Brian; Justin Slack, who plays Rod; Daniel Hensley, who plays Nicky; Kirby Marie Gibson, who plays Gary Coleman; Strother Stingley, who plays Trekkie Monster and Bad Idea Bear; and Sean Bruce, who plays Bad Idea Bear, Mrs. T, Ricky and Newcomer.

This reporter found the show to be good, but nothing spectacular, which might have been due to knowing all that was going to happen before attending the performance.

“It was good. I’m glad to finally get a chance to watch it,” said Matthew Alexander, a senior at WCU who was in attendance. “I have been listening to the music for years, and it was great to finally get to see it.”

Some of the songs throughout the performance are titled “If You Were Gay,” “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” and ‘The Internet Is For Porn.”

“I loved it,” said Sally Mollette, Waynesville resident. “It was cuteness on a stick.”

More information about the Broadway show can be found at avenue.com.

The show’s performance at HART runs until Oct. 6, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday performances begin at 3 p.m. Be sure to mention if you are a student or teacher for a discounted ticket. For more information about HART and its production, you may call the box office at 828-456-6322 or check out their website at harttheater.com.