Doma has done it again with a highly successful Tony award musical, Avenue Q. A wonderful exploration of social issues- sex, gayness, internet porn, unemployment, drinking and dreams, both the singing puppets and their human counterparts are expressive and talented.
From the moment you walk into the theater and see the set of Avenue Q, designed by Staci Walters with lighting designed by Johnny Ryman, you knew it was going to be fun.
Taking the story of several unemployed and under employed newly graduated college students, it tells the story of Princeton (Chris Kauffmann) struggling for his purpose in life and relationships, while his counterpart, Rod, also struggles with coming out of the closet. Kate Monster (Danielle Judovits) struggles with the need for a relationship and dealing with her dreams, while her counterpart Lucy, the Slut, shows her what relationships shouldn’t be. Brian (Chris Kerrigan) and his finance, Christmas Eve (Janelle Dole) determine their relationship and marriage as they decide about moving on. Nicky (Mark Whitten) deals with friendship and homelessness and giving while Gary Coleman (Benai Boyd) acts as the supervisor of the apartment complex, watching the coming and goings of the various events. Trekkie Monster (Mark Whitten and others) dealt with porn on the internet.
The cast includes Chris Kerrigan, Benai Boyd, Janelle Dote, Danielle Judovits, Chris Kauffmann, Libby Letlow and Mark Whitten. Casting, as usually, was perfect I especially liked Danielle Judovits for her ability to do both Kate Monster and Lucy, the Slut at the same time as did Chris Kauffmann for his dual role of Princeton and Rod. Benai Boyd's voice rang out strong. My favorite songs “If You Were Gay,” “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” and “The More You Ruv Someone.” There was a lot of truth in the words of the puppets and left you moved. You come away from the play not only enjoying, but thinking, as well.
Directed by Richard Israel and teaming with musical director Chris Raymond, the production is choreographed by Angela Todaro and puppet master Libby Letlow. Called a “breakthrough musical” by the New York Times, the play garnered three Tony Awards for best score for composer Robert Lopez and lyricist Jeff Marx with best book for librettist Jeff Whitty.
Sound design was by David Crawford and costume design by Haleh Risdana with props by Hallie Baran. The band, consisted of Antonio Dangond, Ian Roller, Molly Miller, Antonio Rodrigo and Martin Diller added immensely to the enjoyment of the play.
Donations made during the play go to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Developed by Dolf Ramos and Marco Gomez, the Doma theatre has a history of providing a platform for young talent. After partnering with the Hope & Union Foundation, it began staging award winning revivals and musicals.
On a limited run from November 9 through Dec 16, it’s something that you’ll want to see. Warning, thre is mature language and puppet nudity, but it’s all in good fun. Bring your teens only if you think they’re really cool. Shows are Friday, Sat and Sunday as well as Sunday matinee. General admission is $30 with VIP service at $34.99 and special pricing for students and seniors. The Doma is located at 1089 N. Oxford in LA. Limited secure parking is available behind the Catalina market for $5. For reservations call 323 802 4990 or go to www.domatheatre.com