Avenue Q – The Understudy Life

by Alycia Sacco, u/s Girl Bear, Mrs. T, Others

When I first saw Avenue Q on Broadway some years ago, I was always hoping to have the opportunity to one day be in the show. When I was offered the job of understudy at the Lyric, I knew that it was a dream come true. My experience learning not only about the show, but puppetry was an amazing experience. 

The skill set of an actor is never complete. We are constantly learning and developing our craft. Avenue Q was unlike any rehearsal process I have ever been a part of. A schedule of a two and a half rehearsal process is usually what I am accustomed to being a part of in Boston. During this time the show is learned, blocked, and teched. Avenue Q was the same – except rehearsals started a tad early for those who would be using puppets. I have so much respect for those who make puppetiring their livelihood. The amount of skill and focus that it takes to make it look easy is extremely challenging. The puppets get quite heavy, and it takes some practice to learn how to make them come alive. The task of perfecting a live performance is always tricky, but with the added skill to learn, tricky became ten times harder.

The cast of Q was incredible. Each performer was extremely dedicated to the project, and very specific when creating their characters. As a result they each helped my job a little easier. I was most worried about not having the same amount of foundational work as the cast did. Meaning, not as many performances under my belt to perfect my puppet skills, but when the time came for me to perform I was more than ready.

My performance was unreal. I have never done so much preparation on my own, Leaning several vocal parts, plus the blocking for a number of different characters, was certainly a stretch for me. I was extremely nervous about mixing up blocking and notes, or my hand cramping, or missing a line, but it all worked out fine. I am so grateful to have had the chance to be a member of the cast of Avenue Q at the Lyric. I truly believe in the work that the theatre provides to the City of Boston, and I am so thankful for every opportunity that is given to me there.