Best described as an X-rated Sesame Street, Avenue Q returns to the Arts Theatre this month. Jenny Shelton speaks to the show’s star, college graduate Princeton, about life as a furry, four-digited twenty-something in search of his purpose in life.
Q: Firstly, describe yourself in three words:
A: Ambitious, romantic, handsome!
Q: What is your aim in life?
A: At the start of the show, I arrive in New York to find my purpose in life! I’ve just graduated from college and now I’m trying to work out what to do with a BA in English… if any of your readers have a clue, let me know! I started off looking at apartments in the middle of Manhattan, but with my budget I ended up way out on Avenue Q. It’s not the smartest neighbourhood, but everyone is super friendly!
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I like to hang out at a bar near Avenue Q called the Around The Clock Café. It’s local, cheap, and there’s always some entertainment going on! Sometimes my neighbour Brian does stand-up comedy there, although he’s pretty awful. He sings a song called I’m not wearing underwear today. Nobody laughs.
Q: Singing without a larynx must present some problems. Can you enlighten us?
A: I think you need to take a lesson in puppet biology! I do actually have a larynx – it just happens to be made out of felt and cotton wool.
Q: Do you ever struggle with chopsticks?
A: My neighbour Christmas Eve is Japanese so has helped me learn how to use them, but it’s not easy with no thumbs! The biggest problem is getting soy sauce in my fur, it’s a nightmare to get out.
Q: Do you have a favourite musical?
A: The Book of Mormon is one of my favourite musicals, it’s totally hilarious! It’s co-created by Robert Lopez, who also co‑created Avenue Q. He also co-wrote the songs for Disney’s Frozen, so he’s to blame for every five-year-old screaming Let It Go over and over again.
Q: How would you describe your sense of style?
A: I would say my style is ‘golfer chic’. Think sleeveless knitted jumpers with diamond patterns on. I try to find colours that match my natural fur tone.
Q: I’m sure you were orange last time you were in Cambridge. Is yellow ‘in’ this season? Or have you just lost your tan?
A: Well, I’ve been in England for a little while now, and I think I’m a little sun deprived. I’m definitely more of a buttercup-yellow colour these days.
Q: You’ll be visiting Cambridge again soon – what are you looking forward to doing while you’re here?
A: I’ve never been punting so I think we’re all going to give that a go! I also hear there’s a delightful fudge shop near the theatre, which I will most definitely be checking out.
Q: What is your biggest weakness?
A: Being around the Bad Idea Bears (see above). It’s just a recipe for disaster! If you don’t know them, they are the cutest little bears you have ever seen, but they really like to convince you that it’s a good idea to do some bad things…
Q: What about your greatest strength?
A: My greatest strength is my ability to sleep with my eyes open, owing to the fact I don’t have any eyelids. I haven’t exactly found a use for it yet, but it sure as hell scared my roommates at college!
Q: Do you have any body confidence issues?
A: For a while, having no legs made me kind of self-conscious, but I’ve learnt to embrace it! My favourite body part would probably be my round, fuzzy yellow nose.
Q: Who’s your biggest hero?
A: Kermit the Frog is a huge inspiration to me. He is by far the biggest puppet star of all time and has put puppets on the map. He has duetted with Kylie Minogue, met Johnny Depp… He’s pretty much my idol!
Q: What’s your life motto?
A: If Plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters!
Q: Finally, tell us a secret…
A: Okay, don’t tell anyone, but there is one scene in the show where I get completely naked! So if anyone has an unsettling desire to see what puppet nudity looks like, get yourself down to the Arts Theatre!
Avenue Q is at Cambridge Arts Theatre, 31 August-5 September; tickets from £15. Show times differ, see online.