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August 31, 2007

Only for now

I saw the Vegas production of Avenue Q with Eric Case this week. As Case attests, I enjoyed myself very much.

A raunchy, puppet musical may be the ideal form of entertainment for San Francisco. And compared to when I saw Avenue Q in Vegas, the show was definitely raunched up a bit for the SF crowd.

In Vegas, there were a number of walkouts during the intermission. But for San Francisco they both increased the athleticism of the muppet sex scene and played up the gay jokes. The crowd loved it.

At its heart, the musical works as yet another recontextualization of childhood nostalgia. While this is well-trod territory, it's also very funny. But there are also a couple of genuine, unironic moments in the musical that make Avenue Q much more interesting than something like Robot Chicken.

The final number, with its dharma of "Only for now" is about as good a way to end a coming-of-age musical as you're likely to find. Also, I think the song "I wish I could go back to college" is a great number. For one thing, it hass one of my favorite jokes of the show: "I wish I could just drop a class / or get into a play / or change my major / or fuck my TA."

But it's also got a line from the main character Princeton who sings, almost as an aside, "I wish I had taken more pictures." When I saw the show on Wednesday, laughed at this line; they'd been laughing at everything. But as it sunk in, it seemed like everyone realized a little too late that it wasn't really a joke. Not a bad trick for a puppet show.

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