AVENUE Q Reviews
Chicago Tribune - Chris Jones
"★★★...The two actors in the two most important roles — that would be Jackson Evans as Princeton and Leah Morrow as Kate Monster — are delightfully sweet and vulnerable. Morrow rises and falls with her monster with such empathetic unity, you really fall for the furry gal with her dreams of the Monster-sorri School and all. Evans could not be more fun or charming to watch!"
Chicago Sun-Times - Hedy Weiss
"Now, thanks to the immensely talented and easily likable cast in the new Mercury Theater production that has been ideally directed by L. Walter Stearns, the overly smarmy edge of the Broadway original has been diffused, and the laugh-out-loud mischief has been paired with heartfelt truth and greater intimacy.
To be sure, nothing is sacred in this show as it breezily deals with everything from race and closeted sexual preferences to dashed career hopes, useless college degrees, porn as a mainstay of the Internet and misguided relationships. But nothing is mean, either."
Showbiz Chicago - Michael Roberts
"...For Mercury Theater’s new Broadway quality production, director L. Walter Stearns has created his best work to date. With a cast that innately understands the actor/puppet relationship and a technical team that lets the show seamlessly unfold, this is a production that could run for years."
New City Chicago - Aaron Hunt
"...The fresh production running at The Mercury Theater continues to teach the coming-of-age lessons, delivered with the gentle distance provide by our puppet friends, manipulated by unconcealed actors, interacting with other actors...the seamless theatrical calm underlying the fun-fun-fun of this production is provided by the guidance of director L. Walter Stearns; the connectivity established rushes like electricity around the stage, and zaps its way right into the heart of the audience."
Time Out Chicago - Kris Vire
"★★★★ The Mercury’s small stage is sized just right for this small-screen-inspired satire, with just enough square footage to accommodate a colorfully dingy city block without seeming swallowed up. And Stearns’s near-ideal cast rips into the material with equal parts heart and comic brio."
ChicagoCritic - Tom Williams
"I have seen and enjoyed several productions of Avenue Q and I must report that the Mercury Theatre’s production, under the steady direction from L. Walter Stearns, was the funniest and most heartfelt production of the adult puppet show - Avenue Q!...Avenue Q is a light-hearted, yet sophisticated musical that speaks to a generation struggling to find their purpose. Along the way, Avenue Q thoroughly entertains. Caution: due to the adult sexy content, Avenue Q is not for children yet is absolutely a "must see" for adults."
Around The Town Chicago - Alan Bresloff
"★★★★★...Try to imagine "Sesame Street on Crack" and you will get a little insight into what "Avenue Q" the musical, now onstage at The Mercury Theater is. A rip roaring , laugh a minute satire on the characters of the famous "Sesame Street" that many of today's theater audiences grew up learning from. Well, this "very ADULT" version, continues to teach us, but perhaps topics that are just a bit different and perhaps a might naughtier.With a book written by Jeff Whitty and music and lyrics by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez ( the same guys who brought us "The Book of Mormon") we are looking at a very "South Park type of entertainment that will take your mind off your day. In fact, you may find yourself being taken away from the week- it is that funny."
Chicago Theatre Review - Colin Douglas
"...Blessed with a gifted cast, a talented musical director and a script that will delight and titillate audiences with its bawdy, adult humor (warning: this is not a children's show despite its cast of puppets), Mr. Stearns has once again worked his magic on Southport Avenue. This show, with its wise humor, irreverent situations and full frontal puppet nudity is sure to become the hottest ticket in Chicago this Spring."
Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Dan Zeff
"...L. Walter Stearns directs with the surest sense of pace, the scenes proceeding with a zesty natural flow that draws a continuous giggle from the audience. Presumably Stearns is responsible for the casting, which couldn’t be better. This is not a dancing show but Kevin Bellie’s spritely choreography still embellishes the action. Musical director Eugene Dizon conducts the spot-on small orchestra. A special shout-out goes to puppetry coach Kevin Noonchester and puppet designer Russ Walko who make the show the triumph it is. And going back to first causes, credit Robert Lopez who helped conceive the original 2003 show and wrote the music and droll lyrics. Lopez later co-created “Book of Mormon” and wrote the music for the movie “Frozen.” He must be the richest man in the solar system by now."
Chicago Reader - Jack Helbig
"The brilliance of this foulmouthed 2003 Broadway musical comedy (book by Jeff Whitty, music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx) is not just that it skewers a certain long-running PBS kids show, but that it does so while telling a compelling story, about a callow recent college grad coming to grips with the real world and all the downwardly mobile misfits he meets in his edgy New York neighborhood. L. Walter Stearns packs his production with adept quadruple threats (they sing, they act, they dance, and they work puppets). Jackson Evans earns lots of laughs as the hapless hero who finds himself all the way out on Avenue Q. But the heart of the show belongs to Adam Fane and Daniel Smeriglio, playing closeted knockoffs of Sesame Street's odd couple, Bert and Ernie."
Chicago Stage Standard - John B. Boss
"★★★★ Mercury Theater Chicago again has a real winner with their production of Avenue Q playing through June 29, 2014. A racy cross between South Park and Sesame Street, Avenue Q is a modern musical focusing on a group of unique 20–somethings making their way in the big city, seeking their purpose in life. Avenue Q features Music and Lyrics by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez(co-creator of The Book of Mormon and recent Academy Award winner for FROZEN) and a Book by Jeff Whitty. Director L. Walter Sterns explains that the real magic of the show is when the audience “forgets that the puppets are nothing more than fur and felt and start to believe they have a mind, heart and soul.” Although Avenue Q addresses humorous adult issues, it is similar to a beloved children’s show: a place where puppets are friends, monsters are good and life lessons are learned."Read More
Chicago Theatre Beat - Lauren Whalen
"★★★½ Mercury Theater gets it right: despite its very adult content, Avenue Q leaves its audience with warm fuzzies. Thanks to the excellent production team, musicians and cast, this show is not to be missed. I attended Avenue Q with a friend who, despite being a big fan of the soundtrack, had never seen the musical live. Half the fun was listening to her delighted squeals, giggles and claps, as – to paraphrase a song from the show – her fantasy came true.."Read More