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Avenue Q

Nobody is ever ready for the onslaught of adulthood that leaps on you, like a rabid raccoon, soon after you graduate from college. But this is the trauma that's expertly rendered in Avenue Q, the 2003 musical that opens tonight at 8 at the Akron Civic Theatre, where 8 p.m. performances also take place tomorrow and Saturday. This adult and unauthorized spinoff of Sesame Street features puppets attached to their very visible puppeteers and a list of songs that are as witty as their titles. Created by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (music and lyrics) and Jeff Whitty (book), the play supposedly takes place in an outer borough of New York City where the rent is cheap for twenty-somethings. Princeton is the new kid on the block and he is instantly indoctrinated into the neighborhood zeitgeist as the folks croon, "It Sucks to Be Me." From dating inaction to job disasters, it appears no one is having a good time. But hey, all is not lost: There's still sex. And these puppets are a randy bunch, willing to be, ah, felt up at a moment's notice. (Quite a feat, since none of them exists from the waist down.) Even with some anachronisms — what's a mix tape again? — most of the jokes still resonate. By the end, you'll wish you could find a flat on Avenue Q. Tickets start at $20. (Christine Howey)

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