The Norman Transcript

Headlines

November 8, 2012

‘Avenue Q’ musical has different view of Generation X

NORMAN — Today’s teenagers (and their families) continue to believe a college degree guarantees professional success and living the American Dream. The University of Oklahoma’s current musical “Avenue Q” begs to differ.

Conceived by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, their music and lyrics were expanded by Jeff Whitty’s book into what can only be called an in-your-face musical that throws out the book of politically correct. In fact, puppets are the medium chosen by Yale graduate Lopez and New York Bar lawyer Marx to satirize Generation Xers and their quarter-life crises.

Cast members assigned puppets either voice and/or act one of nine characters. The puppet faces are equivalent to an average human with a miniaturized body that fits easily over a puppeteer’s hand and forearm.

Shawn Churchman, director and choreographer, changes very little from the 2004 Tony Triple Crown for best musical, best score and best book. In just less than two months, Churchman — with the aid of guest puppeteer instructor Cullen R. Titmas — transformed musical theatre majors into puppeteers.

Having seen the original Broadway cast, I can attest that OU performers Jamie Butemeyer, Ethan Kahn, Courtney Nevin and understudy Aaron Bourdreaux (for the ill Ethan Spell) moved with the same ease between the various puppet roles and often pushed my attention to watching the puppet over their own animated faces.

Lawton native and OU senior Butemeyer plays Kate Monster and Lucy T. Slut. In the blink of eye, she moves between the unassuming teacher Kate and, shall we say, experienced Lucy. Her voice dipping down for a sultry effect, it is clear by voice alone when Butemeyer is portraying Kate and Lucy. Butemeyer’s gorgeous singing voice fills a room without force.

Kahn plays three characters, ranging in size from a child’s teddy bear to Oscar the Grouch. Often aided by Nevin to perform Trekkie Monster, the two actors sync their movements, with Nevin gently holding Kahn’s back with Trekkie extended in front of them each playing a single hand.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Coaches Luncheon Mixon question off-limits at coaches luncheon

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived Wednesday at Journey Church....

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mixon will not participate in practice

    Preseason practice begins for Oklahoma today. Freshman running back Joe Mixon will not be there. The school announced the decision Wednesday night....

    July 31, 2014

  • Nova Pettigrew Music community bands together to raise money for 2-year-old’s battle with rare form of cancer

    Two-year old Nova Pettigrew was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks ago. Her father, former Deli sound technician and musician James Pettigrew, noticed something was wrong when running turned to walking, then limping, then ...

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deputies cleared, return to work

    Two deputies involved in a deadly shooting earlier this month are expected to return to work today after being cleared by the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office. “They (the Sheriff’s Office) gave me their investigation, I ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Sales tax-free weekend set to begin this weekend

    When stores open Friday morning, shoppers may be waiting. Oklahoma’s annual sales tax holiday is slated to run this weekend with the special exemption beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and ending at midnight on Sunday....

    July 31, 2014

  • India landslide kills 21

    NEW DELHI — Rescuers worked in rain today to dig through a remote village in western India where at least 21 people died as a landslide swept away scores of houses, possibly trapping many more people under debris, officials said....

    July 31, 2014

  • Israeli strike hits UN school

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli artillery shells tore through the walls of a U.N. school crowded with sleeping war refugees and back-to-back explosions rocked a market filled with shoppers Wednesday as Israel’s stepped up campaign against ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Busted water main dumps 20 million gallons of water into UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion and adjacent garage

    LOS ANGELES — The rupture of a nearly century-old water main that ripped a 15-foot hole through Sunset Boulevard and turned a swath of the University of California, Los Angeles into a mucky mess points to the risks and expense many cities ...

    July 31, 2014

  • GOP-led House gives go-ahead for suit

    WASHINGTON — A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Just a day before ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Randall Lee Sherrill, 34, possession of juvenile pornography · Dewey Leon Kinsey, 37, possession of controlled dangerous ...

    July 31, 2014