'Avenue Q' (2003)
Don't let the puppets fool you — "Avenue Q" is not a musical meant for kids ... or even prudish adults. The show unapologetically handles any number of mature themes, like internet porn, sex and alcohol use. In fact, it is often described as "Sesame Street" meets "South Park," the long-running adult cartoon show featuring foul-mouthed elementary school-aged children [source: Osborne]. Indeed, some of the original "Avenue Q" cast members worked at "Sesame Street" and some of the puppets are take-offs of well-known "Sesame Street" characters.
More than half of the cast members are puppets operated by visible puppeteers. Complicating matters is the fact that the actor voicing the puppet may not be the one holding it — and different puppeteers may operate the same puppet in different scenes. The show's success is said to have laid the groundwork for the blockbuster Tony Award-winning production, "The Book of Mormon," created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the hilarious, but potty-mouthed guys behind "South Park." The beauty of both musicals is that they push the boundaries of the standard, respectable Broadway show, and can likely be credited for enticing many theatergoers who probably wouldn't have bothered to otherwise fill theater seats.