W.C. Fields is said to have decried the difficulties of working with children and animals in show business; the actors at Le Chat Noir might want to add puppets to the list.
“The puppets are a whole new monster,” said Paul Jones, the actor who brings Princeton to life in Le Chat Noir’s production of Avenue Q, which opens May 11.
As if learning lines, harmonies and choreography wasn’t enough, the puppets add an extra degree of difficulty. The actors aren’t hidden away by a curtain but are on stage with the puppets in full view of the audience and have to draw attention to the puppet.
“These performers have amazing voices and are wonderful actors, but none of them have any real puppet experience,” said Krys Bailey, the director, who brought in some puppet experts to help the actors gain confidence in using them.
Despite the use of puppets, Avenue Q is not a children’s production.
“It’s like Sesame Street for adults, or as our subtext says it’s for ‘immature audiences only,’” he said.
Bailey said the play is perfect for Le Chat Noir and fits in completely with its mission.
“It’s a crazy, popular musical. Now that the rights have been released, every place is doing it except Augusta. This keeps with our mission. We like to do premiers,” he said. “We try to end the season with something a little funny.”
Bailey said ticket sales have been brisk. If there is a high demand for the show, there is a possibility of an extra show being added on May 17, but he said it may also mean revisiting the show next season.
In addition to a great cast, Bailey said he has a great choreographer in Jessica Bailey and musical director in Michael Ray.
Avenue Q will be performed at 8 p.m. May 11-12, 18-19 and 24-26. For more information, call (706) 722-3322.