Single Puppet Looking for Love

Avenue Q NYC Broadway Show

photos by Carol Rosegg

 

Avenue Q
at the Golden Theatre
252 West 45th Street

Monday-Friday at 8pm;
Saturdays at 2 and 8pm;
Dark on Sunday.

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Single Puppet Looking for Love

Interview with Stephanie D’Abruzzo a.k.a. "Kate Monster"
from the hit show Avenue Q
by Corine Cohen

Avenue Q, about the search for “Purpose” and love in life, is a boy meets girl story told in a very edgy, sweet and clever way. "Kate Monster" searches for her soul mate and even though she has a big dream: to share her life with a boyfriend and start a school to help monsters through life.

Avenue Q, a brilliant love story with heart, the little show that could, started off its Broadway life at the off-Broadway Vineyard Theater. With such success it quickly moved to Broadway proper. I had the opportunity to interview Stephanie D’Abruzzo as well as her character, Kate Monster.

Last year Stephanie was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance off- Broadway while also nominated for a Tony Award. Avenue Q, won three Tonys this year. Best Book, Best Score and Best Musical.

Corine Cohen: So what was it like growing up in McMurray, Pa?

Stephanie D’Abruzzo: It was a rather conservative town - but with great schools and a great arts program, so I was very fortunate to have experienced a lot of exposure and opportunities in that area - our high school did 5 shows a year.

CC: What is your passion or should I say "purpose" in life?

SD: I just want to make a living performing. I don't want fame, I don't necessarily want a billion dollars, but I'd like to be able to do what I enjoy and still make enough to keep me and my hubby in high-quality electronics and DVDs and to take the occasional fancy-schmancy cruise.

CC: Who is Stephanie? Do you relate to Kate Monster?

SD: Stephanie is a happily married actress who struggles with her weight and is constantly fighting against failure. She is a very bad housekeeper. I relate to Kate Monster in the way that I think most people do - she is longing for the perfect life she dreamed of as a child, but finds the real world to be too much for her sometimes.

CC: We have so much in common darling! What is it like to work with the cast?

SD: The cast is great - we've been through a lot together. We often go out for dinners together between shows (we call it "family dinner"), although we haven't had a good family dinner lately since so many people spend their between-show time entertaining their out-of-town friends who have come to the show. Because we all share dressing rooms, there are a lot of hijinks that ensue, mostly right before the show...someone isn't quite ready when they call five minutes, or we're still laughing about something that went wrong the other night, or sharing stories about what happened to us during the day, like heinous audition stories and the like.

CC: Any funny dressing room stories you would like to share?

SD: I can't think of any offhand. You really have to know us well to appreciate them.

CC: Damn, I wanted to hear the dirt. And to quote one of your songs “It Sucks To Be Me.” Question to Kate Monster: Any advice to other single monsters (female) out there?

"Kate Monster": Well, I say never give up. Oh sure, you may want to chuck it all in and devote your life to sampling every ice cream flavor known to man, but you never know when true love will come your way. Or true like. Or just plain lust.

CC: Question to Kate Monster: So how are you and Princeton doing? Are you in love? Do tell!

Kate Monster: I have a tough time using the "L" word. I think it's too soon for us (me and Princeton, that is) to be using any words that start with "L." Really. Not "love," not "like," not "lust," not even "lemon."

CC: Kate you are a smart Monster, maybe you need to publish a book on the rules of dating for us Monsters that need it! I will buy a copy. To Stephanie: Tell me more about Sesame Street other things that are coming up.

SD: Well, I'm actually performing with some of the Sesame Street characters at a tribute to Bill Irwin that the Signature Theatre Company is hosting next week...I'll just be a backup Muppet to Zoe and Grover, but it should be a lot of fun. Season 35 starts airing in April, and I have a few scripts where I appear as Baby Bear's little sister Curly Bear, plus I also have a couple of other fun shows, like the one where I play Cinderella who gets turned into a chicken by Andrea Martin. Season 36 probably won't start taping until the fall of 2004.

CC: Anything else you want to do (Movies, stage etc)?

SD: Like I said before, I just want to make a living as a performer, and I'll gladly work in whatever medium that will have me. That said, I love television and its history and I'd love to do a TV show someday (without a puppet, that is)...but I really would love to be in another Broadway musical, and I'd also love to do a straight comic play sometime soon. Of course, what I'd really love more than anything is live to see the day when science makes it so you can eat anything you want without gaining weight. But that's a pipe dream.

Thank you Stephanie and Kate Monster for taking the time to talk to us today. Congratulations on winning three Tony Awards. Avenue Q is a must see show!

Corine Dana Cohen, Associate Producer of the Drama Desk Awards, works as a freelance writer.

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