By Sara Boyd, WCCO

Puppet sex is coming to Mixed Blood Theatre, for the first time ever.

OK, not just the fluffy fornicating but all the hilarious boundary-pushing, inappropriate behaviors of the titillating cast of “Avenue Q.”

Yes, this Broadway smash hit is making its Mixed Blood debut, starting this weekend — taking all the puppet nudity and nasty language from the show audiences have fell in love with and adding a “Mixed Blood” twist.

Director Jack Reuler said it’s truly been a production in the making since the show’s inception.

In 1999, Reuler hired a young director who eventually went on to direct his own show at New York’s Off-Broadway company, the Vineyard Theatre.

He called Reuler and said, “There’s a show we’re doing here, that I think would be an interesting take for Mixed Blood. It’s really about the street on which people with differences come together and they’re better off for having come together and that’s very much what Mixed Blood is all about.”

That show was “Avenue Q” — a show with humble roots that went on to a six-year run on Broadway and multiple worldwide tours. Not to mention a huge following of faithful fans. The show even made a stop last year in April to the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Orpheum stage, with a rave response.

“I just stayed patient and waited for it because I thought all along that it was a good match, Mixed Blood and ‘Avenue Q,'” Reuler said. “So my interest in it goes all the way back to the beginning of the show.”

The Mixed Blood show will have all the familiar characters that audiences around the world have come to love — Kate Monster, Nicky and Rod, Christmas Eve and of course, Lucy T. Slut. But Reuler said they’re putting a bit of a different spin on the show and taking advantage of Mixed Blood’s intimate setting. Plus with more than 300 local actors auditioning to be in the show, he said the cast truly is the best of the best.

The songs are all the same, but some of the music has been punched up a tad, and some of the puppets take a different form, whether in full mascot form or with a slightly different look than the original show.

“It started as sort of a naughty Sesame Street, but in the 10 years that the play has been around, it’s got its own life. People know the songs and what not. There’s a nod to Sesame Street, but it’s really got a life of its own,” he said.

While it has been a bit of a wait for “Avenue Q” to make its way to Mixed Blood, the fundamentals of the show and the west bank theater really make it a perfect match worth the wait — one that the public is also eager to see.

“Very excited, people that have season tickets and people in the public seem to be clamoring to see what it’s going to be like in a 200-seat theater when the only chance anyone had to see it was when it was in the 2,000-seat Orpheum,” he said.

Taking a crew that includes puppet masters, one who even worked for The Jim Henson Company, plus choreographers and a multi-talented cast (Reuler compared the cast’s multitasking in the show to a 90-minute sprint) and what you’re left with is a jam-packed production full of good ol’ fashioned irreverent fun.

“Avenue Q” runs from March 25 to May 1 at Mixed Blood Theatre. Tickets are $10 to $28. For tickets and more information, head to the website. Thought puppets are involved, the content of the show isn’t always appropriate for kids — check the disclaimer on the website to make your judgment call.


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