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New York Dolls 

Sesame Street wannabes talk sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll in the Big Apple.

With characters named Lucy the Slut and Mrs. Thistletwat, Avenue Q raises red flags signaling that its Sesame Street facade isn't tailor-made for preschoolers. But that doesn't mean their parents won't double over in laughing fits as its potty-mouthed cast of characters tackles racism, porn, and gay civil unions. Set in the heart of New York's Greenwich Village, the Robert Lopez-Jeff Marx musical is about a fresh-faced college graduate, Princeton, who's looking for a purpose in life. Along the way, he meets a gay Republican investment banker who looks like Bert from the PBS-TV kids' show. There's also a Cookie Monster look-alike, who's addicted to online porn, as well as a Japanese therapist named Christmas Eve, the vixenish nightclub singer Lucy, and a kindergarten teacher called Mrs. Thistletwat. Even the show's song titles suggest edgy material, from "If You Were Gay" and "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" to "You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Makin' Love)." The show has won over critics since its 2003 Broadway debut; the next year, it won three Tony Awards, including the Best Musical trophy. Avenue Q is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays, through Sunday, January 27, at the Palace Theatre, 1615 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $10 to $57.50. Call 216-241-6000 or visit www.playhousesquare.org.
Tuesdays-Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 1:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Starts: Jan. 16. Continues through Jan. 27, 2008

Speaking of Highlights

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