Bear Facts 

Bears are bad. And not just the big mean ones that will eat your face. The little, cute, fuzzy, stuffed ones can be a menace too, especially the ultra-happy Bad Idea Bears puppets of Avenue Q, a very adult kid's show that opens at Playhouse on the Square this weekend.

Say you're broke, for example. And your parents send a check to help with rent or groceries. You probably shouldn't spend that money on beer. But if the Bad Idea Bears show up, they'll say things like, "Your parents are crying thinking about you not having any fun." And they'll remind you that, beer for beer, a case is cheaper than a six pack. You're wasting money in the long run if you don't buy in bulk."

"There have been plenty of Bad Idea Bears popping up during rehearsals," director Jordan Nichols says. "Working with puppets would be challenging for even the most seasoned actors and directors, but I think we've overcome the challenges and have managed to have a few Good Idea Bears show their faces as well."

Avenue Q is an off-the-wall musical about grownups who are still growing up. And in spite of the colorful puppets and songs, the message is a somber one: Endurance is a kind of victory. Songs like "It Sucks To Be Me," "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," and "You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Makin' Love)" are blunt, funny, hummable odes to all the seemingly intractable circumstances that make patience a virtue.

"It's universal in its message of wanting to find our true calling or purpose," Nichols says of Avenue Q. "Why are we here on earth? Is it love? Is it success? Is it porn? The show tries to answer those questions." Bears and all.

"Avenue Q" at Playhouse on the Square, October 7th-30th. playhouseonthesquare.org

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