Theater preview: CATCO’s Avenue Q

From the August 2, 2012 edition

Last summer CATCO’s campy production of “Evil Dead: The Musical” featured songs such as “What the F--- Was That?” and “Blew that B---- Away.” This summer, with musical comedy “Avenue Q,” CATCO brings us a whole new set of songs with inappropriate but awesome titles: “The Internet is For Porn” and “You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You’re Makin’ Love),” to name two.

CATCO Artistic Director Steven Anderson says he’s trying to bring back something Columbus used to take for granted: summer musicals.

“There used to be a great tradition of musical comedy in the summertime in Columbus. I’m sort of interested in finding a way to do that,” Anderson said.

“Avenue Q” stars live actors and puppets controlled by actors who are essentially extensions of the puppets. Don’t be fooled by the puppets, though: This is no show for kids. There’s even puppet sex.

“It’s really like an X-rated ‘Sesame Street,’” Anderson said.

Puppets can get away with more than people can on stage. For example, one of the puppets spends his time watching porn, and he sings about his favorite pastime.

“We’d probably be a little bit squeamish about a live actor doing that,” Anderson said with a laugh. “But when a puppet does it, it’s just hysterical.”

The show has a serious side, too. It deals with breakups and other traumas that young adults experience.

“It’s really about twenty- or thirtysomethings discovering that life isn’t all peaches and cream,” Anderson said. “It’s those humorous things that we all discover as we figure out how to be an authentic grown-up.”

Photo by Meloney Buehl, LightSwitch Creative