Theater Info for Maryland

Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre Avenue Q

By • Jul 10th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Avenue Q
Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre
Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, Annapolis, MD
Through July 29th
2:00 with intermission
Reviewed July 7th, 2012

American musical theatre has come a long way since traditional shows such as Showboat, The Sound of Music, and Guys and Dolls. Through the years there have been many ground breaking musicals such as Hair, Cabaret, Rent, and In the Heights. But in June 2004, when the entire theatre community was predicting Wicked to take the 2004 Tony for best musical, a dark horse now known as Avenue Q took home the top prize.

Picture it, actors on stage in plain view holding a cornucopia of rod and hand puppets, singing, dancing, drinking, fornicating, cussing, and in the midst of all that, telling a truly beautiful story of coming of age searching for the inner you, looking for love, and most importantly “purpose.” Filled with a plethora of beautiful, witty, risqué burst out laughing melodies and lyrics combined with a charming and well thought out script, this show will touch your heart, make you think, and take you back to the days where things were simpler or at least seem to be.

Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre brings this iconic production to its stage. With a cast of versatile actors, singers, and puppeteers, a perfectly executed ala “Broadway set,” phenomenally pitch-perfect vocals, energetic and clever choreography and uniquely clever and professional direction by the puppet master himself director Darnell Morris.

Collin Hood (Princeton/Rod) shines with a 100 mile per hour energy, descriptively perfect facial expressions, spot on comic timing, and what seems to be a full understanding of every word he utters. His performance is touching and honest, especially with his partnership with Malinda Markland (Kate Monster/Lucy), who absolutely nails every emotion and nuance. Her connection with a puppet becomes one. Markland also possess a beautiful vocal ability and expertise range which shows in “There’s a fine fine line” and totally transforms “Special.” Harrison Smith (Nicky) is especially a standout. A recent high school graduate, Harrison possesses an immense talent and professionalism for a performer of such young age, a sharp and crisp tenor voice, and a flawless delivery of dialogue. Tim German (Trekkie Monster/Puppeteering Consultant) first of all masterfully handles the puppetry and cleverly teaches the rest to do the same, and is quite convincing of the sexually deprived, heart of gold creature. Ruben J. Vellekoop (Brian) and Kyra Koh (Christmas Eve) portray the two of the three non-puppet characters. Vellekoop adds the touching and heartwarming comedy of a wannabe comedian searching for his big break. Koh practically steals every moment with an incredibly politically incorrect portrayal of an Asian American searching for that American dream. With the strongest voice in the show her interpretation of “The More you Ruv Someone” is absolutely flawless. Nia Smith (Gary Coleman), yes I said it “Gary Coleman” the child star of “Different Strokes” who sued his parents for the money they embezzled from him, is now the superintendent of the broke down apartment on Avenue Q. Smith attacks the role well with a beautiful, sultry, gospel sound, however she falls a bit flat on some of her delivery and understanding of the comic lines. Anastasia Sophia Herne (Mrs. Thistletwat/The Bad Idea Bear) and Henry Pazaryna (The Bad Idea Bear/Puppeteer) round off the ingenious cast of these wacky misfits alternating between puppet after puppet, duty after duty, and challenge after challenge.

The show is done well, very well. Now it is most definitely not for children, anyone who gets offended easily, and for those who have absolutely no sense of humor. Otherwise come, enjoy, lose yourself, and open your heart. The doors of Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre are open! “But Only For Now!”

Cast Of Characters

  • Princeton/Rod: Collin Hood
  • Kate Monster/Lucy: Kate Markland
  • Nicky: Harrison Smith
  • Trekkie Monster: Tim German
  • The Bad Ideas Bears/Puppeteers: Anastasia Sophia Herne
  • Henry Pazaryna
  • Mrs. Thistletwat: Anastasia Sophia Herne

Human Characters

  • Brian: Ruben J. Vellekoop
  • Christmas Eve: Kyra Koh
  • Vanna Dela Cruz, July 26-27
  • Gary Coleman: Nia Smith


  • Piano/Conductor: Ken Kimble
  • Keyboard: Laura Brady
  • Bass: Rob Weaver
  • Drums: Zach Konick
  • Guitar/Banjo: Ahren Buchheister

Production Team

  • Director: Darnell Morris
  • Music Director: Joshua Konick
  • Choreographer: Nicole Martin
  • Production/Stage Manager: John Nunemaker
  • Puppeteering Consultant: Tim German
  • Rehearsal Accompanist: Laura Brady
  • Puppets Crafted by: Joseph Lopina, Theatre Alliance, Winston Salem, NC
  • Video Designers: Zach Rosing and Ben Phillippe
  • Technical Director: Matt Mitchell
  • Assistant Technical Director: Scott McCormick
  • Sound Engineer: Dan Caughran
  • Lighting Designer: Garth Wells
  • Production Intern: Kenny Milman
  • Puppet Dresser: Grace Canfield
  • Set Design: Matt Mitchell
  • Set Construction: Matt Mitchell, Jerry Vess, Dan Snyder
  • Grace Canfield, Anastasia Herne,
  • Harrison Smith, Sean McKavitt
  • Scenic Artist: Kevin Wallace
  • Set Painters: Kevin Wallace, Jerry Vess, Sandy Wallace
  • Marquee and Program Cover: Jim Gallagher
  • Publicity Photography: Rachel Parker
  • Headshots: Natalie Franke
  • Board Liaison: Nikki Gerbasi
  • Program: Carolyn Kirby

Disclaimer: Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

Tagged as: , ,

This article can be linked to as:

worked for twenty years as a professional actor and director, as well as worked a myriad of other theatrical production roles at various levels. In recent years, he served as Artistic Director/President of STROyKA Theatre in Washington, DC. Roman privately teaches acting, voice, and piano and serves as a consultant to various groups and schools. His primary role is stay-at-home dad and full-time college student. He also directs the Voices Unlimited Youth Choir at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Bel Air, MD.

One Response »

  1. Appreciate the review. Saw the show last weekend, and it’s fantastic, one of the best community theater productions I’ve ever seen. I was laughing even before the show started, with the puppet delivering a hilarious twist on the usual “turn off your cellphones” speech that really gets you in the mood for what’s to come. Like the best of satires, it’s very un-PC, but done in such a witty way that it really makes you think. The entire cast is phenomenal, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a great, fun show. Don’t bring your kids!