ROCHELLE — Only two more opportunities remain to see “Avenue Q,” the VCCT musical drawing a lot of interest.Crowds approached sell-out numbers for the Friday and Saturday shows this past weekend and sales for the final shows Friday and Saturday, March 16 and 17, are going strong.
“Avenue Q” is an award winning musical with adult themes and language. Director Will Mingus said anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult to see this show.
“Avenue Q” tells the story of Princeton, a recent college graduate. He moves to New York and finds the housing costs on Avenue A are too high, so he keeps looking until he reaches Avenue Q, where the rents are low and the residents unique.
“Avenue Q” is a puppet show with humans.
One of the human characters is Gary Coleman. Yes, that Gary Coleman from “Different Strokes” fame.
While VCCT looked far and wide for a person resembling Coleman’s character, none was found.
So director Mingus cast the show differently — Lindsey Lancaster is Gary Coleman in the show. Lancaster was in VCCT’s “A Christmas Carol: Radio Show” last fall.
“Gary Coleman and I are polar opposites in many ways,” Lancaster noted. “As far as the envisioned character in the show, we both have a lot of heart, and we both have lived through enough bad and good in our lives to be fairly wise. We are quick to serve up that wisdom with a side of laughter.”
“Avenue Q” is a musical, but it is a funny musical.
“I think this show can be raucous and raunchy, and certainly not politically correct, but it has a lot of heart and humor, and I think that everyone who sees this play will have a great time, “ she said.
Bill Wengelewski was in VCCT’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” He described his human character Brian as a happy go lucky out of work waiter who would love to be a comedian.
“But, frankly, he isn’t all that funny,” Wengelewski said of his character.
“I love the easy going nature of Brian,” he added. “ He is open-hearted and generous with his love for others. At my core, I really want others to be happy and have a philosophy of ‘do no harm to others.’ I can also be clueless at times. The role is a good fit for me.”
VCCT veteran Terry Camplain is assistant director on this show.
“Will (Mingus) had a vision and was able to assemble the right people to make it happen and I am honored to have been part of bringing that vision to reality,” Camplain said. “We are going to miss Avenue Q after we close but the friendships and memories that we have formed during this run will stay with us forever.”
He noted that “Avenue Q” is a huge undertaking for the local group.
Camplain has seen the show several times and always enjoyed it.
“I did not think that it would be a show that VCCT would ever tackle, partly because of some of the content and partly because of the technical aspects,” he added.
But they have tackled it.
“The set is incredible, or like Steve Frank (set design and construction) and I always say ‘Brilliant’. Jenna Mingus has done an amazing job as the musical director, not only helping people learn the music but also educating the actors regarding their own vocal skills,” Camplain said.
And the cast?
“They make me laugh every night and their energy and hard work has really paid off,” Camplain said.
In addition to Wengelewski and Lancaster, cast members include Karl Rand, Deitra Colclasure, Ivan Zwinklis, Michele McClane, Amy Frank, Ben Dougherty, Jax Fane, Bonnie Miller, Ken Manning, Matt Frison, Kimberly Ekes and Jenna Mingus. Will Mingus is director and Terry Camplain is assistant director for the show.
Curtain time for Friday and Saturday is 8 p.m. in the Paddock Room in the Hickory Grove complex, 1133 N. Seventh St. in Rochelle.
All seats are reserved and are $20 for this show. Tickets can be purchased online at vcctrochelle.org or at the door the night of the show.
“Avenue Q” won three Tony Awards in 2003 and is the 24th longest running Broadway show, with over 3,000 performances. The show is still running on Broadway.