Avenue Q

Ah—gratuitous nudity, graphic sex, toilet humor, and pervasive cynicism. Balagan's homegrown take on the hit puppet musical is perfectly timed for the holidays. The Tony Award-winning 2003 show is a foul-mouthed lampoon of Sesame Street and The Electric Company, stripped of all nutritional/educational content and targeted at a generation that grew up in front of the TV. You'll be either aghast or amused as all those childhood lessons and dewy-eyed PBS promises of a brighter tomorrow are gleefully trashed. In his new neighborhood, recent grad Princeton (Heathcliff Saunders) discovers that people interact with magical felt creatures (controlled by cast members who may or may not be voicing their characters). In this purgatory, a parallel world to Sesame Street, Gary Coleman of Diff'rent Strokes (Rashawn Scott) has been reduced to the building's super after his parents absconded with all that Hollywood cash. There on Avenue Q we also meet a host of bohemians and hear songs like "What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?" and "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist." Director Eric Ankrim has polished the performances to a sparkling sheen, so that even when the show isn't funny, it's surprisingly tender and tuneful (thanks to composers Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx; Jeff Whitty wrote the book). KEVIN PHINNEY [See Kevin's full review.]

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Thursdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Nov. 16. Continues through Dec. 15, 2012

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