Sunday, October 29, 2006

The community of Broadway actors is very small. It is an exclusive club that requires dues paid in years of dedication to your chosen art. Because it is such a small family, tonight was very special.

I had never seen Avenue Q before tonight. Given my art form you would think I would have seen it many, many times. But, I was always performing my show at the same time and never had a chance to see it. Because we start our last Sunday night show earlier than Q, tonight was the night. With two minutes to spare Murphy, Paul and I ran over to the Golden Theater after we finished our show.

Avenue Q is everything you have heard it is, a Tony Award winning musical that is clever, funny, charming and unique. The show was wonderful, but it was more than just another exciting evening of theater. After five years of performing with the show both here and in Las Vegas, Rick Lyons is leaving. I got to see his last performance tonight.

Rick Lyons is the master puppeteer for Avenue Q. He designed and made all the puppets and has been performing in the show since it began in workshops. He is my friend. We met many years ago in an airport waiting for baggage. I wrote about Rick in this blog when he came to see my show a week or so ago.

My eyes never left him when he was on stage. Whether he was performing as Nicky, Trekkie Monster, the Bad Idea Bears or others, the life he created with each puppet was totally real to me. Everyone on stage is a great actor, but to be a "puppet actor" is a skill for which Rick is uniquely qualified. Perhaps it is also a skill that I am also uniquely qualified to understand and fully appreciate.

At the end, Rick gave a tearful curtain speech to the cast and crew to say goodbye. I wasn’t expecting that. I’m not sure I have gotten over it yet. He ended his heartfelt thanks by looking at Nicky, the puppet, on his arm and said, “I will miss you the most.”

Rick, you are a good friend. I will miss knowing that you are just around the corner entertaining the crowds. To us puppeteer’s on Broadway there is one less light on the Great White way. Best wishes, you and Tonya enjoy your time off. I’m richer for having seen you perform.
As you were,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Write me at