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“The poor actors have to say the lines, sing, get the notes right, make the freaking puppet move and run backstage to change the puppet’s costumes,” Mayes said. To prepare for their roles, actors did early sessions with just a sock puppet. Two more sessions were done with rehearsal puppet characters just working on puppetry. Mayes said there’s usually a dance captain to make sure choreography is being done correctly. In this case, the Players are using a “puppet captain” to watch the puppetry and make notes.

“I would say it took two rehearsals to get basic fluidity down and then two freed pointe shoes near me to three weeks for the actors to get super comfortable,” Mayes said, adding that actors keep the puppets on their hands even between scenes, Actor David Mister plays Nicky and is the only actor in the cast to have done “Avenue Q” before, Mister said that was about four years ago in Los Altos, and it was his first and only puppeteer experience, He said holding the puppets for two hours, even the light ones, can be more of a strain than many people realize..

“As light as they are made…the physical stress of holding your hand in those positions is not trivial,” he said, adding that other challenges include training actors to look and respond to the puppets rather than speaking and controlling them. Conveying emotion through puppets and getting the audience to accept them as equal characters also takes skill. “When you’re in the audience, you believe that chunk of foam and fake fur is smiling or sad or drinking a Long Island (iced tea) or whatever, which is pretty cool,” Mister added.

“Avenue Q’s” style even has a few cast members nervous about who might attend the show, Mister said he loves the show’s humor, but won’t be inviting his parents to see it, Mayes’ day job is as the librarian at an all-girls middle school in Palo Alto, and while he would be “mortified” if one of his students attended, he heavily encourages musical theater fans over 18 to come out, Welch and Mayes both acknowledged that the risque show, while hilarious, could give some people pause, but are hoping that the story resonates with young adults freed pointe shoes near me or parents who have had young adults..

“If anyone needs an excuse to laugh, come and just laugh for awhile,” Mayes said. Steve Shapiro, the Players’ board president, said the company has grown considerably since he came on with a new board in 2014. It has better marketing, more refined graphics and materials, and a new online ordering system that makes it easier for people to purchase tickets. He said attendance has steadily risen and this season got off to a great start with the sold-out run of “Fiddler on the Roof” last month.

“It’s a team effort,” he said, “The No, 1 priority was to get people in the theater and remind people we’re still there.”, He said taking on a classic like “Fiddler” and a modern, edgier show like “Avenue Q” shows his theater group’s range, “What I love about this company is we can do a wide variety of things,” Shapiro said, “Avenue Q” begins Saturday and runs through Nov, 19 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m, and freed pointe shoes near me Sundays at 2:30 p.m..

Disney really put the magic touches on the eye-popping “The Lion King” but it can’t quite recapture that enchantment in the far less mesmerizing “Aladdin.”. Make no mistake, this is a visually ravishing feast of swirling silks, shining sequins and high-flying knife-eaters, choreographed within an inch of its life by Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon”) who also directs. But it’s hard to lure the genie from the bottle with this cookie-cutter fable and its formulaic plot — based on the hit animated film — an amiable but forgettable score and generic performances.

Bob Crowley’s richly adorned set design, from the sun-drenched marketplace to the bedazzling cave of wonders, often upstages the performers such, including the fresh-faced Bay Area native Adam Jacobs in the title role, The actor, who originated the role on Broadway, makes a suitably dashing Aladdin (his BFFs freed pointe shoes near me call him Ali), the bare-chested street urchin destined for greatness, and Isabelle McCalla makes the pampered Princess Jasmine appropriately sweet and sassy, But despite the genuine charisma between these two actors, the unfolding of their romance feels a bit pat, If this critic had three wishes, one would be that they’d paid as much attention to detail with the characters (book by Chad Beguelin) as with the sets and costumes..

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