September 10 2008, 3:02 PM
If you read the CliffsNotes to Avenue Q before heading to see the musical at the Ellie, you might be tempted to bring the kids. The Tony Award-winning show is a nod to PBS' beloved Sesame Street, complete with elaborate hand puppets (think Burt, Ernie, and Cookie Monster) and a plotline strung together with truthful life lessons. But Avenue Q in its full-length version is raunchy and lewd--if absolutely hilarious--and definitely not for the kiddos. Here are a few reasons, confirmed by Tuesday night's opening, to spring for a sitter. 1) All the show's puppets (and human characters, too) live in a rundown New York City apartment building managed by Gary Coleman. Just imagine explaining Coleman to a kid who's never seen Diff'rent Strokes? 2) Whatever innocent ideas your kids have of Burt and Ernie are sure to shift when they meet their lookalikes, Rod and Nicky, roommates who struggle to come to terms with Rod's closeted homosexuality. 3) Sure, kids' TV is more overtly sexual everyday, but you can turn the TV off. When puppets have loud, passionate sex onstage, there's no power button. 4) Think of your daughter's heartache when she hears Kate Monster, the show's female lead, sing this line from her post-break number: "There's a fine, fine line between love and a waste of time." 5) Trekkie Monster (sounds a lot like Cookie Monster, doesn't it?) is the worst of the show's bad influences, and his song "The Internet Is for Porn" has no message you'd actually want kids to walk away with. 6) There's not enough time between the end of the show and bedtime to explain this musical's big words and bad concepts. Where do you start with "Schadenfreuden" (Coleman's signature musical number and the German concept of deriving pleasure from another's pain)? 7) Even older kids should be left at home, unless you want to deal with another post-college panic attack when your recent grad hears the song "What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?"