Avenue Q is the show that stole the 2004 Tony Awards for best score (by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx) and best book of a musical (Jeff Whitty) from Wicked. The non-Equity tour now at the Winspear Opera House stars an adorable cast of young actor/puppeteers: Brent Michael DiRoma, Tim Kornblum, Jacqueline Grabois, Michael Liscio Jr., Lisa Helmi Johanson, Nigel Jamaal Clark and Kerri Brackin.

Mixing puppets and people flawlessly, this hard-R-rated take on Sesame Street asks questions about how to find one's "purpose" in a world wracked with racism, homophobia and poverty. The songs are witty and the jokes are dirty. They've even found a way to work around the sudden death of TV star Gary Coleman, who "appears" in Avenue Q as a building super in overalls and tool belt. The character gets a big laugh in the song "It Sucks to Be Me." And now, like, yeah, it really does.


Black Pearl Sings! continues at WaterTower Theatre in Addison through June 20. Call 972-450-6232.

Wicked continues at Music Hall at Fair Park through June 27. Call 214-631-2787.

Avenue Q continues at Winspear Opera House through June 6. Call 214-880-0202.

Do not take children to Avenue Q. These puppets get drunk and fuck. The material is unapologetically rude. And if it offends some of the stuffed shirts who can afford the $100 tickets at the Winspear, then the show has fulfilled its purpose.

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