Reviewed by Stephen Radosh

AVENUE Q is making a welcomed return to the Coachella Valley with the Palm Canyon Theatre’s excellent production of the Tony Award winning musical. 
Often described as Sesame Street for Adults, this hilarious and clever musical has a cast which is a mix of puppets and actors.  The puppeteers are fully visible at all times but they do their work so wonderfully that you soon forget that they are even there and their puppets take on a life of their own.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, it centers on a recent college grad, named Princeton (Nicholas Sloan), who is wondering what to do with his useless degree in English and trying to find his purpose in life.  With limited funds and in need of a place to stay, he finds himself an apartment on the much less posh but much more affordable Avenue Q.  That the apartment’s superintendent happens to be TV’s Gary Coleman (Ceisley Jefferson), yes that Gary Coleman, doesn’t seem to be a bit out place with any of the building’s other eccentric collection of residents.  Kate Monster (Jamie Leigh walker) yearns to open a school for other monsters and develops a fast crush on Princeton.  There’s Brian (m. Carrick O’Dowd), an unemployed wannabe stand-up comic and his heavily accented Japanese wife named Christmas Eve (Jovi Olivas) who is the source of many non-pc but very funny jokes.  Another apartment is home to a pair of roomies, Nicky (Anthony Nannini) and Rod (Nicholas Sloan) pulling double duty), one straight and one gay but still closeted, who immediately remind one of Sesame Street’s Bert & Ernie.  Also in residence is Trekkie Monster ( a very funny Alden Dickey) who, more than anything, loves internet porn.  Additionally there are some very funny characters with whom the residents interact.  These include Lucy the Slut and the Bad Idea Bears, among others.
Luke Rainey’s direction keeps the show moving at just the right pace and gets the most out of his very talented cast.  Each has his or her moments to shine, making it a truly ensemble cast and a very talented one at that.  For the most part, the score is bright and upbeat with sharp and funny lyrics.  There is also one very touching ballad called “There’s a Fine, Fine Line” which is beautiful sung by Ms. Walker and is a real standout.
So do yourself a favor and grab a ticket for a fun, laugh filled evening in the theatre.
AVENUE Q is at the Palm Canyon Theatre and runs through November 18, 2018.