The Tony-winning musical, which had its last Broadway performance Sunday night, will move to off-Broadway next month, said producer Kevin McCollum, who announced the news from the stage of the Golden Theatre after the cast took its final bows. The closing-night audience cheered.
The show about twentysomething New Yorkers — both human and puppets — searching for life and love will begin performances Oct. 9 at New World Stages.
"I just want to keep the show alive because that's what I do for a living," said McCollum, the Broadway producer of "Rent" as well as the current revival of "West Side Story."
"We love 'Avenue Q.' It's the kind of show that is all about the aspiration of what coming to New York is all about, finding your purpose and having your dreams come true," he said in a telephone interview. "As long as people are doing that, this show belongs in New York."
McCollum said it would cost about $1 million to move the musical to a 499-seat theater in the New World Stages complex near Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets, not far from the Golden, which seats a little over 800.
The off-Broadway production will use the Broadway set — with some modifications, McCollum added. Casting will be announced, McCollum said, and there may be one alteration: The role of Gary Coleman in the show may be played by an actor, rather than an actress as it was on Broadway.
The top ticket price off-Broadway will be about $86, according to the producer, compared to around $120 for Broadway.
"Avenue Q," which features a score by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, and a book by Jeff Whitty, actually is coming full circle. It originally began life off-Broadway, opening at the Vineyard Theatre in early 2003 before moving to the Golden that summer for a more than 2,500 performance run. It won three 2004 Tony Awards including best musical.
Said Lucy the slut, one of the show's most outrageous puppets, about the move: "I always wanted to get closer to my audience. Frankly, honey, whether you're serving 500 people a night or 800, after the first hundred, they all sorta blur together."
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