Winchester Thurston will be one of first schools to perform 'Avenue Q: School Edition'

by: Carly Noel Updated:

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Winchester Thurston will be one of the first schools to perform “Avenue Q: School Edition.”

“I got an email from MTI (Musical Theater International), saying it was available for licensing, and I applied immediately.  They responded right away, I signed the contract and the whole thing was done in a week.  The folks at Music Theatre International are very helpful and easy to work with,” said Barb Holmes, Winchester Thurston’s musical director.

“Avenue Q: School Edition” was recently created to facilitate production of the popular musical by high schools.  Most of the profanity was removed from the script and score, and some of the characters names were changed. 

“It has all of the same jokes as the original Broadway production,” said Winchester Thurston student director Jason Cohen.

Winchester Thurston is one of the first schools nationally to get a license.

“There were a few schools that previewed the show before licensing.  At the time we signed our contract, we were one of four groups that had licensed the show. Only two of them were schools.  So we will be one of the first, certainly the first in this area,” said Holmes.

The actors who were in the “Avenue Q” on Broadway went to puppet school before performing the show.  I asked Cohen if anyone at his school has ever worked with puppets.

“To my knowledge, none of the actors have ever worked with puppets before. Mrs. Holmes has worked with puppets,” said Cohen.

“I took a puppet class in 2002,” said Holmes.

Winchester Thurston plans to make its own puppets.   

“I have been watching a lot of demonstrations online and have been reading many books. It does not seem hard to make, and one source also compared it to making a really big doll,” said Cohen.

“We have armed ourselves with books, patterns and tutorials.  We have a good one from a professional puppet maker that goes into great detail.   I am surprised to know that there are so many suppliers of puppet materials and accessories.  This will be an exciting process for us,” said Holmes.

Winchester Thurston’s production dates are April 26-28 at 8 p.m. and April 29 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for adults.

“Avenue Q” ranks 21st on the list of longest running shows in Broadway history.  The show ended its Broadway run in 2009 and opened in the New World Stages complex, where it continues to play as an Off Broadway production.