Avenue Q actors give lecture/demo to UT theater students

Maggie and Rob with puppet Nicky
Maggie and Rob with puppet Nicky - photo by Bronson Dorsey

Thursday morning, April 16, Avenue Q touring actors Rob McClure and Maggie Lakis were kind enough to come to the UT campus to present a lecture/demo entitled “Careers for Puppeteers.” This was particularly impressive knowing that they had just performed the Wednesday night and had afternoon and evening shows on Thursday. About forty people were in attendance including UT Professor Jim Glavan’s theater students and several Performing Arts Center staff members.

On stage, Rob plays Princeton and Rod and is barely ever off the stage except to change puppets. Maggie is also on stage a lot playing Mrs. T, a Bad Idea Bear, and the right hand of several two-handed puppets. She is also an understudy for Kate Monster and Lucy who she got to play on the Sunday evening performance. We learned Sunday was Rob’s last performance on the tour as he is going to Philadelphia to start a new job.

For the lecture/demo, puppet wrangler Joel Rosen brought Lucy, Nicky, and Rod for Rob and Maggie to demonstrate techniques they use to bring each character to life. Working as a visible puppeteer requires a lot of thought and practice and we could see how well they had mastered it. We also learned that Maggie and Rob are engaged to be married. They are an extremely talented couple, generous with their time, and very good-natured. The presentation was thoroughly interesting, entertaining, and informative. We are thankful for every minute of it!
More photos can be found here.

Brenda Simms
Education Coordinator
UT Performing Arts Center