Avenue Q Synopsis

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Act I

The lights dim and the two television screens flanking the stage illuminate with an animated cartoon of Mr. Sun heading home to Avenue Q, parodying the introduction to Sesame Street as the cast sings the opening theme ("The Avenue Q Theme").

We first meet Princeton, a recent college graduate with the "useless" B.A. degree in English, who still remains optimistic that he will eventually be of use to the "whole human race." Brian (one of the three live characters) comes out of his apartment to talk to Kate Monster as they bemoan their respective situations in life, ten or so years out of college themselves: Brian is jobless with his dreams never realized, and Kate is just the perfect girl for any available guy but is still, for some reason, single. Rod and Nicky, the arguing roommates and best friends, declare that their lives are much worse than Kate's or Brian's because they spend almost every minute together in their very small apartment where everything they do irritates the other. Christmas Eve, Brian's Japanese fiancée (and the second live character), comes outside and explains that she once tried working in a korean deli and then earned two master's degrees in social work as a therapist but has no clients. According to her, "it sucka-sucka-sucka-suck!" Princeton arrives, looking for a place to live and speaks with Avenue Q's superintendent, none other than Gary Coleman (the third live character), who finally answers the question of whose life sucks more. ("It Sucks to be Me")

Rod is excited to have an afternoon alone to read up on some old Broadway shows without his meddlesome and talkative roommate Nicky there to bother him. His plan is thwarted when Nicky arrives home and recounts an experience on the subway to Rod about a guy that was definitely hitting on him. Rod gets very offended that he would bring this up, but Nicky thinks as roommates it should be an entirely open subject. Rod objects to this heatedly, and Nicky lets him know that if Rod was gay, he'd still like him ("If You Were Gay").

Princeton is struggling to find what to do with his life. The TV monitors explain to him that he needs to find a purpose because that's what everyone has. He finds a lucky penny and decides things are looking up in his search ("Purpose"). Kate comes out of her apartment, and Princeton decides to ask her a burning question, "Are you and Trekkie Monster related?" Kate takes great offense to this, believing Princeton was a little racist in assuming two monsters are automatically related. Princeton calls attention to the fact that Kate is also racist in wanting to build an exclusive school for monsters only. As they discover the fact that everyone tends to be a little racist, Gary Coleman learns that Polack jokes are just as racist as black jokes, Brian learns the correct term for Orientals is Asian-Americans, Christmas Eve declares the ways of the world ("The Jews have all the money and the whites have all the power!"), but it's still hard for everyone to believe Jesus was actually Jewish. ("Everyone's a Little Bit Racist")

Princeton thinks he may have finally arrived at his purpose, but before he gets too close, The Bad Idea Bears arrive to spoil the fun in the most adorable way possible. So irresistible, the Bad Idea Bears can make any bad idea sound wonderful. They tell Princeton to forget about finding a job and use his parents' borrowed money to get drunk on some beerinstead.

Kate gets called up by Mrs. Thistletwat, the kindergarten teacher, who says that she will not be in for the first few periods of the morning and that Kate (her assistant) may teach whatever subject she likes. Kate wants to teach something "relevant" and "modern": the internet! But Trekkie Monster, the porn-loving monster, soon destroys any sort of positive credibility for "this new technology." ("The Internet is for Porn")

Christmas Eve springs the idea that Brian and she are going to marry soon. "Think of it as a surprise," she tells him. Rod has come to Christmas Eve for advice on a "friend." What should he do if he thinks he's gay? Christmas Eve says there's nothing wrong with being gay; he should come out of the closet and embrace it. Rod complicates the matter though when he adds that his "friend" is a Republican. And an investment banker. "Oh. Then he should stay the hell the closet. He good for nothing!" reasons Christmas Eve.

Kate has a feeling Princeton has a crush on her, and when he comes over to deliver a mix tape, she's sure of it. But then she starts reading the songs. What could this mean? Princeton, who was using her bathroom ("You may not wanna go in there for a while...") returns to read the second side of the tape which gives a much clearer signal. Princeton then asks Kate to go out with him to the Around the Clock Café that night. "He does like me!" Kate decides. ("Mix Tape")

Everyone is ready for the show to begin at the Around the Clock. Brian gives the opening act. It may be deemed a little too much information. ("I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today") With a lackluster response, Brian decides to go ahead and introduce the star of "Girls Gone Wild, parts 2, 5, and 7..." Lucy the Slut. Lucy makes everyone feel a little better about themselves. (And she makes Trekkie feel quite a bit of himself.) ("Special") After the set, Kate and Princeton are ready to go home after an enjoyable evening, but the Bad Idea Bears arrive to suggest that they should have some harmless Long Island Ice Tea and play some drinking games. After the first round, Kate says it's her treat for the next round. While Kate is away retrieving the next set of drinks, Lucy, tired from her set, comes and speaks to Princeton, telling him when he's ready for a real woman, she'll be around.

In their drunken state, Kate and Princeton are convinced by the Bad Idea Bears to go home and have sex. Gary Coleman (backed up by the Bad Idea Bears) is called by other tenants to tell Princeton and Kate to stop making love so loudly. Gary refuses. Brian and Christmas Eve are also getting some action on the side. And Trekkie Monster seems to be enjoying himself just fine. ("You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Making Love)")

An animated TV short illustrates the differing perspectives of a man and woman through an The Electric Company parody: a silhouetted male head on the left states very clearly, "come" while the silhouetted female head on the right stubbornly insists, "mitment." They repeat this several times until the female takes over and says, "commitment."

Rod cannot sleep, and Nicky snores loudly in the bed next to him. Before Rod can shake him to wake him up, Nicky begins to talk in his sleep...About Rod! Nicky is fantasizing about Rod, and Rod is jubilant because his dreams are finally coming true. Meanwhile, Kate and Princeton lie in bed and explain how happy they are with each other. Princeton gives Kate his lucky penny as a gift to let her know how much she means to him. Kate begins singing the same jubilant chorus as Rod but sadly for Rod, his is only a dream. "Rod, buddy?" Nicky shakes him, "You were talkin' in your sleep." "What? Oh...I thought you were talking in your sleep!" "No, I just came to bed! You were dreamin' is all." "Oh. Right..." "Must've been a nice dream, though." "Yes. Yes it was a nice dream." "Good night Rod!" Disappointment mounting in his voice, "Good night Nicky..." (Fantasies come True.)

The next morning, Kate wakes to Mrs. Thistletwat's voice on the phone, yelling at her that she missed the morning classes she was supposed to teach. Kate, angered by all this, quits her job. Princeton calls her very brave and asks her to be his girlfriend and to accompany him to Brian and Christmas Eve's wedding.

Everyone is present for Brian and Christmas Eve (who is apparently dressing for Christmas and Independence Day in addition to the wedding), including the rabbi Gary Coleman (he apparently does everything in Avenue Q). Everyone calls over Nicky, wondering if there's any truth to the rumor that Rod is gay. Nicky confirms that without a doubt, Rod is a closeted homosexual; Rod overhears him and is dumbstruck. "I am not...a homo-whatever!" He in fact has a girlfriend no one has ever heard of or seen; he quickly creates a girlfriend named Alberta who lives in Vancouver. ("My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada") The wedding ends with some awkwardness, especially when Rod throws Nicky out of their apartment.

Princeton gets scared by the two TVs that animatedly transform the word "purpose" into "propose", and it doesn't help when Kate catches the bride's bouquet. Scared of commitment, Princeton breaks up with Kate. A disappointed Kate ends the first act with a note of defiance. ("There's a Fine, Fine Line")

Act II

Princeton sits alone in his apartment. After two weeks, he is broke, in debt, unemployed, single, and purposeless. Brian arrives to cheer him up. When that doesn't work, an intervention is set in motion. Christmas Eve, Trekkie Monster, Nicky, and Gary Coleman arrive to take Princeton back outside to enjoy himself. On the way, they meet Lucy the Slut, and Princeton decides to take her home with him ("There is Life Outside Your Apartment"). Kate sees Princeton and Lucy on the way into his apartment. Angry at Princeton, Kate talks to Christmas Eve, wondering why she can be so angry with Princeton but does not hate him. Christmas Eve explains, in the musical's showstopping ballad, that the reason Kate is angry at Princeton is because she loves him so much ("The More You Ruv Someone"). Kate comes to Princeton's apartment to give him a letter, inviting him to meet her at the top of the Empire State Building. He is in the shower when Kate arrives, so she gives the letter to Lucy, who promptly destroys it.

Nicky has been staying with Brian since he was kicked out, but Christmas Eve can't take having a puppet in the apartment anymore. They throw him out on the street, and Nicky has to beg for money. Gary Coleman sees Nicky's downtrodden state and laughs that he can't help feeling a weird sort of satisfaction from the sight. "Sorry Nicky, human nature!" ("Schandenfreude")

Lucy has abandoned Princeton, who goes out looking for her. Kate, angry that Princeton seems to have stood her up, throws the penny he gave her off the Empire State Building. Yards below, an unsuspecting Lucy being pursued by Princeton gets hit in the head by the falling penny. At the hospital, Kate visits Princeton and they attempt to work out their problems, but Princeton just has not matured; he is not ready for commitment. Nicky and Rod encounter each other, and Nicky tries to apologize, but Rod won't hear of it. He consults with Christmas Eve. "Why don't I have someone who loves me the way I love them?" Christmas Eve tells him everything is going to be okay. Nicky is out on the street, Kate is alone on the balcony, and Princeton sits at Lucy's bedside. All of them ponder what it would be like to go back to happier, easier times. ("I Wish I Could Go Back to College")

Passing Nicky in the street, Princeton has a big revelation: he should be worrying about other people. He's going to raise the money to build Kate's monster school. Nicky realizes too he shouldn't just be begging on the street; he needs to find a way to get back to his apartment. "I know! I'll find Rod a boyfriend!" Together with Gary Coleman, Brian, and Christmas Eve, they raise some money, even going out into the audience for it. ("The Money Song (You Can't Help Helping Yourself)") It's not enough, but there's one more person to hit up: Trekkie. He refuses to help, of course, until he finds out the cause is a monster school. He was not accepted at the simple public school he attended, where normal children pulled his fur and made fun of him. ("School for Monsters") He gives them US$10 million for the project. "Trekkie! Where did you get this kind of money!?" Trekkie answers, "In volatile market, only stable PORN!" ("The Money Song (Reprise)")

The school is complete, and everyone reveals it for Kate. Christmas Eve and Brian then announce that they are leaving Avenue Q (for a "nicer neighborhood:"Lower East Side)! Brian is becoming a consultant, and Christmas Eve has a single paying client, a high-paying client with a lot of problems. Everyone believes it's Rod, who arrives on the scene with champagne. He finally reveals that he is gay. No surprise. But he's definitely going to lighten up and invite Nicky back in. And that's great, because Nicky has a surprise for him, a boyfriend: Ricky. "Do I know your type, or what?" Nicky asks. Meanwhile, the Bad Idea Bears have started scientology. Lucy was saved and only the mean parts of her brain were removed. She's teaching yoga now. Kate cannot believe the monster school is finally a reality and definitely cannot believe it when they tell her Princeton devised the whole project. Princeton asks her for a second chance, and Kate says they'll take it a day at a time. ("There's a Fine, Fine Line (Reprise)")

A fresh face arrives on Avenue Q and asks about the vacant apartment. Princeton realizes his purpose: take everything he's learned, teach naïve, fresh faces like this kid about the ways of the real world, and put everything into a show. "No" is the overwhelming response (to put it lightly) ("What Do You Do With a B.A. in English? (Reprise)").

Princeton moans that he may never find his purpose and the others sober him, saying that it may take a while or he may never find his purpose at all. But they remind him that everything in life is only temporary. ("For Now")

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Musicals II