What happens when the Artistic Director* of Madison’s queer theater troupe talks with Rod, Avenue Q’s investment banker?
They both have “Q” in the title, and they’re both connected to theater. What else do Madison’s StageQ and Broadway’s Avenue Q have in common? Well, in case you didn’t know, the “Q” in Avenue Q doesn’t stand for “queer.” In New York, the lettered avenues on the east side of the city are the toughest neighborhoods, and the poorest. So Avenue Q is code for where the beautiful people don’t go. Oh, and the residents of Avenue Q are puppets. That’s right: big, cute puppets, sort of PBS-children’s-programming-run-amok kind of puppets. But don’t let the cuteness fool you, since the storyline is adult all the way (including a soundtrack with a“parental advisory” warning label). The songs include titles like “The Internet is For Porn,” and “I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today.” The show follows a group of working folks who live in an apartment building on Avenue Q as they struggle to find jobs, make a living, pay off their student loans and fall in love.
To see if we had more in common than the letter “Q,” I decided to interview Rod from Avenue Q. Rod lives with his best friend, Nicky, and despite his protestations about his girlfriend in Canada (uh huh), he feels like family to me! Other than our mutual love of show tunes, Rod’s not copping to anything else we might share. Still, I’m going to see him and his pals on Avenue Q this season, though!
StageQ: How did you end up living on Avenue Q?
Rod: After graduating college, my dear friend Nicky and I decided to make a move to the big city! We were roommates in college, so it was natural that we continue living together. I wanted a penthouse in Chelsea, and Nicky wanted a studio in the Village, and we ended up on Avenue Q because the rent was cheap. Now that I am making a lot more money, I suppose we could move to a nicer part of the city, but we love it here. We’ve met some of our best friends on Avenue Q.
StageQ: Can you tell us about your roommate, Nicky?
Rod: Nicky is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. He has a heart of gold. He’s not the most productive person, but his friendship is priceless.
StageQ: What is your relationship with Nicky like?
Rod: It’s a love/hate relationship. We butt heads… a LOT. But it’s over stupid things. He doesn’t put the toilet seat back down. He puts his feet on my chair. He leaves his clothes out. Getting the point?
StageQ: Avenue Q seems pretty diverse. Know anyone gay there?
Rod: I don’t know… but I AM NOT GAY. Absolutely not… at all.
StageQ: Tell us about being an investment banker. Do you have a lot in common with your co-workers?
Rod: I don’t have a lot in common with them. After work, we part ways. They are off to Hooters, and I am off to see the revival of “Damn Yankees” at City Center. P.S. Jane Krakowski is hot, but she’s no Gwen Verdon.
StageQ: So, I hear you have a girlfriend in Canada. What’s her name, and where does she live? How did you meet? Any long-term plans? How often do you see each other?
Rod: Her name is Alberta, and she lives in Vancouver. And let me tell you… She is SMOKING HOT! We met in an online chat room called “Investment Spanking.” Long-term plans? Not yet. I’m not the settling-down type at the moment. I like to play around with my hot straight chicks. We see each other often enough to have sex … hot, steamy, straight sex.
StageQ: I heard a rumor that you like piano bars. Do you sing or just listen? What’s your favorite song to perform or hear?
Rod: I SING! Who goes to a piano bar to listen???!!! COME ON!!!!!! I have a little binder of sheet music I take when I go. It includes selections from “Funny Girl,” “Funny Lady,” and “Carrie: The Musical.”
StageQ: Why should our readers come visit you on Avenue Q?
Rod: You will meet friends you will never forget; Friends who will be there for you when times are good or bad, happy or sad, straight or… curvy.
*Editor’s Note: Since this article was published, Tara Ayres retired from being the Artistic Director of Stage Q at the end of the 2012-13 season. Audrey Lauren Wax joined the theater company as the new Artistic Director, effective September 1, 2013. For more on Stage Q, go to: http://www.stageq.com.