Broadway import Avenue Q has posted closing notices at the West End’s Noel Coward Theatre. The award-winning “puppet” musical opened in London on 28 June 2006 (previews from 1 June) and, after numerous extensions, had been booking until 29 April 2009. It will now finish on 28 March 2009, making way for the transfer of screen-to-stage play Calendar Girls in April (See Today’s Other News).

Billed as an adult version of Sesame 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.

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 West End cast is led by Any Dream Will Do’s Daniel Boys (See News, 6 Nov 2007).

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. Amongst the London show’s accolades, it won the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Award for Best Ensemble Performance.

A notice sent to ticket agents with the closure announcement today said: “What started out as a limited run, is now in its third year and about to celebrate 1000 performances. We are delighted that the show has lasted so long and has also helped to bring a new audience to the West End.” Aimed particularly at younger audiences, Avenue Q introduced a pricing structure well below West End averages, particularly for musicals, with tickets for weekday performances ranging from just £10 to £35.

- by Terri Paddock