Interview: Bibo Reynes and Rachel Alejandro for Avenue Q

What first drew you to this show?
Rachel Alejandro: It’s so funny yet so real. I think the use of puppets is genius because that way the show is able to tackle serious issues like racism, being gay and even not-so-serious things like internet porn without being sleazy or offensive. The story is told in a light-hearted, funny way and yet the audience is drawn to feel for the puppets.
How did you train to work the puppets and make the required voices?
RA: We had professional puppeteers train us. It took me a while to get used to holding the puppets because my hands and arms are so tiny. I have always been good at doing different voices. I can easily switch musical styles from pop to rock and R&B.
What’s your favorite song in the show?
Bibo Reynes: It has to be “Purpose”. A lot of songs in the show may be catchier but this is an anthem for any young person about to take on the world. Its hopefulness is pure and resonant. I also like “The Internet is for Porn.” Any musical audacious enough to have a song about viewing adult content on the net being the one thread all men have in common definitely gets my attention!
RA: The heartbreak song of Kate Monster, “Fine Fine Line”. My favorite line is “I guess if someone doesn’t love you back, it isn’t such a crime…” It reminds of the countless times I would meet and start dating someone completely wonderful. They would have been perfect except for the fact that they just didn’t feel the same way about me. It doesn’t make them bad people.
What do you think accounts for the show’s lasting appeal?
BR: The characters portray many stages of hardship a person goes through in life, so people of every age group will have something to look back on, relate to and dread. I think that’s why it lasts, because something seemingly light-hearted can mean so much to so many.
Bibo Reynes and Rachel Alejandro perform in Avenue Q on September 27-Oct 7 on at the Grand Theater (MBS).