It's a common misconception among casual theatre patrons that when a show is Off-Broadway, it's less prestigious or of lower quality than a Broadway show in New York. In fact, Off-Broadway has nothing to do with the quality of the show -- it has not been "kicked off Broadway," as the name might suggest. It simply means the show is housed in a smaller venue, seating anywhere from 100 to 499 audience members. The shows provide a more intimate theatre experience, and they're definitely worth seeking out.
Original Kids Theatre Company Alumni are presenting the first local production of the Tony Award-winning smash hit Avenue Q later this month. The Canadian troupe has learned all the right tricks with life-size replicas of the puppets used on Broadway, so I took my interview to the true stars of the show -- the puppets themselves!
Composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died recently, may be the last of the Broadway-Hollywood composers with a Hassidic soul. Hamlisch wasn't Hassidic of course -- he grew up in a Reform Temple and didn't appear to be particularly observant. But at its core, Hamlisch's search for the perfect melody calls up the emotional and connective power of a good tune that the Hassidic tradition knows so much about.