USD Theatre sets the stage for Tony Award-winning ‘Avenue Q’

The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre presents the one-of-a-kind musical comedy, "Avenue Q," Dec. 1-5 in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.

Eleanor Petersen as Kate Monster; Kendra Bolan as Gary Coleman; and Josh Kolb as Princeton rehearse a scene for the University of South Dakota Department of Theatre’s upcoming production of “Avenue Q,” Dec. 1- 5 in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre. Although the musical contains cute puppets, it is important to note that the play contains adult situations and strong language and is not appropriate for children (Photo by David Lias)

"Avenue Q" is a Tony Award-winning production that combines puppets and live performers in a story that addresses issues like unemployment, relationships and racism.  The action focuses on Princeton (Josh Kolb of Loveland, CO), a recent college graduate who ventures to New York City. Unemployed, Princeton can only afford to live on Avenue Q, an unusual neighborhood and home to some extraordinary characters, including Brian (Cody Strand of Brandon), a man who dreams of becoming a standup-comic; Christmas Eve (Jessie Atkinson of Sioux City, IA), Brian's fiancée and a therapist with no patients; Kate Monster (Eleanor Petersen of Valentine, NE), a kindergarten teaching assistant; roommates Rod (Steve Schaeffer of Sioux Falls) and Nicky (Tim Huggenburger of Sioux City, IA); Trekki Monster (Gabriel Gomez of Fargo), a surly, computer-surfing recluse; and the building superintendent, Gary Coleman (Kendra Bolan of Lincoln, NE.).

The cast of "Avenue Q" trained in puppet technique with two professional puppeteers: Douglas Strich, a USD alum who is employed at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in New York City; and Jennifer Barnhart, a professional actress and puppeteer who was also a member of the original Broadway cast of "Avenue Q." Because of mature themes and strong language, "Avenue Q" is not appropriate for children.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 1-3 and Dec. 5 with a matinee show at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4 in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre on the USD campus.  Tickets ($15 adults, $9 K-12 & non-USD students with ID, and $4 USD students with I.D.) can be reserved from noon to 5 p.m. starting Monday, Nov. 21 by calling the USD Theatre Box Office at (605) 677-5400 or by going online at

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