Cameron Mackintosh celebrated two important anniversaries last night (28 June 2007): the first birthday of his show Avenue Q at the Noel Coward Theatre, and his own 40 years in the theatre business.

At last night’s performance of Avenue Q, which opened in London on 28 June 2006 (previews from 1 June), the impresario emerged from a giant on-stage birthday cake to join the cast of humans and puppets for the curtain call. For Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand to capture the moment.

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Billed as an adult version of Seasame Street, Avenue Q began its life at Off-Broadway’s Vineyard Theatre before transferring in July 2003 to Broadway’s Golden Theatre, where it went on to win three 2004 Tony Awards including Best Musical. In London, its accolades include the Variety Club Award for Best Musical and the Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Ensemble Performance.

A cast of seven – three of them playing humans, the rest manipulating multiple puppets that include a closet gay puppet called Rod, a porn-addicted puppet called Trekkie Monster, and a puppet looking for love called Kate Monster – tell the characters’ tales of love and hardship on the downtown street. The current cast are original company members Julie Atherton, Jon Robyns, Simon Lipkin and Sion Lloyd along with Mary Doherty, Jennifer Tanarez and Delroy Atkinson.

Avenue Q has a score by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, and a book by Jeff Whitty, with puppets conceived and designed by Rick Lyon, musical supervision by Stephen Oremus, and choreography by Ken Roberson. Mackintosh co-produces the musical with Kevin McCollum, Robyn Goodman, Jeffrey Seller, Vineyard Theatre and the New Group.

Cameron Mackintosh’s many other productions during his illustrious career have included Anything Goes, Side by Side by Sondheim, My Fair Lady, The Witches of Eastwick, Five Guys Named Moe, Carousel, Moby Dick, Mary Poppins and the international blockbusters with which he’s most readily identified, The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Miss Saigon and, the West End’s longest-running musical Les Miserables.

- by Terri Paddock