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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

Avenue Q – 3D Theatricals

A few weeks ago, I went to a local production of Avenue Q. This production was put on by 3D Theatricals at the Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton, California. It was great. Even though I already saw it five years ago, and I pretty much knew what was going to happen next, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

According to the person making announcements before the show started, they were going for an authentic Broadway experience. They got the original Broadway / Las Vegas production set. The puppets were also of the original design (though I doubt that they are the original ones since these things do go through their wear-and-tear). Although I have not actually seen it on Broadway, everything was just like the North American tour that I saw a few years ago, down to the blocking and movements.

I think these local / regional productions are great. They are often in smaller theaters, in terms of the size and the name, so for the same price, you can get a much better view than on Broadway or a national tour at bigger cities. These productions try their best to have an end result as close as possible to the original. The performers are quite superb as well. I don’t know if it’s the same case anywhere else, but here in the Los Angeles area (well, technically the production is in Orange County, but close enough), the pool of talents is certainly big enough to fill a bunch of productions with quality performers.

Another interesting about local productions is that they often have a “wink, wink” at the local audience. For example, when Brian and Christmas Eve were moving away and asked where they were moving, they answered Santa Ana, which would mean nothing unless you are familiar with the area. Also, in the original version, there’s a song about what’s only “for now”, and the examples are sex, your hair, and George Bush. Now that George Bush is no longer president, they chose to replace it with “Prop 8”, which would not make sense unless you are in California. (From what I’ve been told, the script has “George Bush” with an asterisk followed by a list of possible words to replace it with. Prop 8 was one of them.)

To go off on this tangent about productions adapting to the local audience, I also recently saw a production of The Producers at the Hollywood Bowl. In one scene, the main characters were fighting with each other and the microphone of one of them got knocked out of place. They were fixing it while he was off stage, so he made his entrance late. When he finally ended up on stage, he blamed it on that “damn traffic”, which, of course, we could all relate to, considering that most of us had just drove into Hollywood not so long ago. And in one song, the line “don’t forget the balcony” is changed to “don’t forget the people in the cheap seats”, since the Hollywood Bowl doesn’t have a balcony. That was fun, and of course, we, the people in the cheap seats, gave him a big cheer. (By the way, I got the ticket for free. Yay!)

Okay, back to Avenue Q. It’s always fun to see people you know perform on stage. In this production, Camille Chen played Christmas Eve. She was great. And although her character “tried to worked at a Korean restaurant” but she “was Japanese”, she blurted out some Chinese too, which I found really amusing. Also, the Director of Puppetry is Christian Anderson. He was part of the North American tour that I watched (didn’t know him back then), and I later ended up taking classes taught by him. He really emphasized the breathing when he taught us, and during the performance I could see the performers did a great job remembering to have the puppets take a breath before singing. I could tell that he really drilled on those.

And of course, what was really exciting for me to watch was the “I Wish I Could Go Back to College” song. Why? Because we did this in class over and over and I was curious to see if the version they would do was any different. Well, nope. It was the exact same thing! That certainly brought back memories for me…


  1. September 3rd, 2012 | 7:53 am

    Hey, the blog post doesn’t mention that you sing in this clip! I love your parts — I hope you don’t mind me mentioning it in the comments. Are you going to work on any productions any time soon?

  2. September 3rd, 2012 | 1:58 pm

    Not my best singing because I was still recovering from a cold, but yeah, I will always have fond memories for that song.
    The last thing I worked on was a music video that I couldn’t talk too much about yet. As for my own stuff, I am still thinking about it. But hey, I cleaned my room. That’s a good start for getting anything done. :-)
    Kelvin Kao recently posted..Avenue Q – 3D TheatricalsMy Profile

  3. September 4th, 2012 | 11:20 am

    Kelvin — It’s nice to see a post up at your site. I know I’ve seen that video, but it was fun to watch it again. You should visit Chris Edgar site — He’s planning a puppet musical:~)

    I wish we had more puppet productions, but we don’t. I’ll just have to rely on you to keep me posted of different ones to check out. Thanks~
    Sara recently posted..Under ConstructionMy Profile

  4. September 4th, 2012 | 11:37 pm

    Oh yeah, I saw that. Also I saw there’s another musical that he’s writing. I plan to find some time and go through a few blog posts of his. I am definitely interested in the process and what he has done so far.

    Your blog is sort of on a break right now, so it’s nice to have you swing by so I know what’s going on!
    Kelvin Kao recently posted..Avenue Q – 3D TheatricalsMy Profile

  5. Michelle
    September 8th, 2012 | 6:34 pm

    Free is definitely cheap! 😀

    Wow — you sing very well! Of course, now I envision you talking like a Muppet. 😉

  6. September 8th, 2012 | 6:57 pm

    Yep, it’s nice. There’s no way that I am going to get that every single time but it’s nice to have.

    Thanks, Michelle!
    Kelvin Kao recently posted..Avenue Q – 3D TheatricalsMy Profile

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