Sexual puppets, crude humor, live music and roaring laughter from the audience filled Risley Theatre last weekend as The Melodramatics Theatre Company put on their fall semester musical.
“I thought they did a really good job and clearly put a lot of effort into it,” Dimitris Salas ’26 said, who watched the Nov. 5 evening performance. “The show was very funny and entertaining and I loved the songs.”o
The Melodramatics Theatre Company’s student-run production of the Tony-award winning Avenue Q played to three sold-out shows, resulting in waiting lists for each showing.
“We were shocked, we were not expecting it,” said first-time director Thomas Myers ’26, who co-directed the show alongside Emily Rubinstein ’25.
Avenue Q is a Broadway musical comedy and parody of beloved children’s show Sesame Street. The musical follows numerous twenty-something characters—puppets and not—as they navigate challenges such as sexuality, racism, love and finding one’s purpose in life.
Premiering off-Broadway in 2003, Jeff Whitty, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx wrote the show as an unfiltered and humorous look at adulthood. Avenue Q is distinct in its politically incorrect and offensive humor, paired with its ironic use of unassuming puppets.
According to Liv Licursi ’25, who played puppet Kate Monster, Melodramatics Theatre Company had many conversations acknowledging its controversial content, making sure that the actors were comfortable in their portrayals.
This past weekend, a few hundred lucky people had the privilege of seeing something truly special at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. I, like most people, had heard of West Side Story but had never seen it. I had hopes of being treated to an entertaining production, something a little more fun and high energy than the highbrow, somewhat pretentious theater you would usually encounter at the Schwartz. (Full disclosure: I adore that type of theatre.) But I knew that this was not an official Cornell-sponsored production, but rather a largely student run and conceived show, with students from both Cornell and Ithaca College coming together as part of Melodramatics Theatre Company to present their vision. Add in the fact that these students had but a short two months to bring this classic production from conception to the stage and, needless to say, I was not expecting anything too grandiose.