Winter 2012

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Senior Amelia Hefferon and the puppet Kate Monster of Avenue Q. Photo by Rafi Letzter (J15).

Monster Jam

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Student puppeteers bring Avenue Q to Northwestern.

Arts Alliance brought Avenue Q and its cast of furry monsters home to Northwestern in October.

In 2003 Jason Moore (C93) directed the Broadway debut of the show, the story of a group of 20-somethings struggling to find their purpose. Stephanie D’Abruzzo (C93) starred in the Broadway show. Both Moore and D’Abruzzo received Tony Award nominations for their roles in the puppet musical. (See “From Sesame Street to Broadway,” winter 2004.) 

“Puppeteering takes a lot of practice,” D’Abruzzo told the Northwestern cast, “but remain true to the character, and the puppets will work.” 

The Northwestern production of Avenue Q — produced by sophomore Dylan Pager and held at Shanley Hall, a venue with “the perfect amount of grunge for that show,” according to D’Abruzzo — featured a full cast of puppeteer-trained student-actors.

Colleen Werle (C12) helped with the training. Since 2009 she has trained with master puppeteer Michael Montenegro at Evanston’s Theatre Zarko.

“It’s such a unique and intricate art form, entrenched in traditions and cultures from around the world,” Werle said. “With every puppet I discover something new.”