Avenue Q, the outrageous musical comedy with a face of felt, a heart of gold and an ammunition of curse words is back in Sydney thanks to the efforts of amateur superstars the Canterbury Theatre Guild.
Pyrmont local Stefan Jamal couldn’t be more pleased to be taking on the lead role of Princeton, a recent graduate anxious to learn all the lessons life has to throw at him – which is exactly what he gets from the colourful characters he meets in his new neighbourhood.
“What intrinsically is really unique and special about it is that it’s one of those shows that non-musical-theatre-people can really enjoy,” said Stefan when talking to City Hub. “I think it uses a really familiar and nostalgic format…it harkens back to that Sesame Street vibe, and I’m sure most of us watched something like Sesame Street…as a kid.”
Don’t be fooled by the seemingly innocent exterior of this show, Avenue Q is intended for mature audiences. The characters in this show may be made of felt, however their very human stories (and very adult way of talking) are more than a bit of fluff.
No stranger to Avenue Q, Stefan has seen four different productions – the most recent of which was Off-Broadway, as he was conveniently in New York at the time he found out about his casting.
When pressed to select the song he was most looking forward to performing, Stefan couldn’t help but pick two: ‘Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist’ as it “captures the essence of the show, which is using these smiling, excessively happy faces and puppets…to talk about a very outrageous issue”, and ‘I Wish I Could Go Back To College’ as it’s “just such a beautiful piece of music” as well as being personally relatable.
Stefan initially underestimated how different it would be to perform with a puppet, but says it has been “a brilliant and amazingly fun challenge” and credits the incredible cast and creative team.
He added: “There’s a point early on [in the show] where you just forget that they’re puppets and you find yourself really relating to a piece of felt.” (AM)
May 20–29; Wed, Fri + Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm. Bexley RSL, 24 Stoney Creek Road, Bexley. $30-$35+b.f. Tickets & info: canterburytheatreguild.com