The Axelrod Performing Arts Center (APAC) opens its 2022-2023 season with the wacky, unconventional and hilarious musical with adult puppets, AVENUE Q. The show is now on stage and runs until November 20. The show that New York critics called “ingenious” and “loudly wicked” played on Broadway and then Off Broadway for 16 years, beating Nasty for the first three Tony Awards which included Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book for its writers Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty. The APAC production is the first to appear on the Jersey Shore since the musical closed in New York in 2019.
street Q tells the timeless story of a bright-eyed college graduate named Princeton. When he arrives in town with big dreams and a tiny bank account, he has to move into a seedy apartment at the very end of Avenue Q.
The cast includes Clint Hromsco (as Princeton/Rod), Miranda Wolf (as Kate Monster/Lucy The Slut), Adam Zeph (as Trekkie Monster/Nicky), Beau Bradshaw (as Brian), Né Lasheé (as Gary Coleman) and Amelia Fei (like Christmas Eve). The set includes Francesca Saccomagno, Luke Pearlberg and Justin Sudderth.
Broadwayworld had the pleasure of interviewing Clint Hromsco about his career and Avenue Q
Clint is thrilled to make his Axelrod debut with this show! He is a New York-based actor, director and choreographer and has performed in five national and international tours and in countless regional theaters across the country. Clint also starred in New York productions of Flash/Frozen at Theater Row, It came from beyond and Lili Marlene at St. Luke’s Theater and Flight school the musical, for which he was part of the original cast recording. He has been featured in several New York, regional and international commercials, print ads and television shows. His work can be seen in Before I gowith Annabella Sciorra, currently streaming on Amazon Prime and in the upcoming movie Resilient. As a director Clint has worked at the Ogunquit Playhouse, Little Theater on the Square, Virginia Children’s Theatre, Westchester Sandbox Theatre, Write Act Rep. and Vital Theater. He is currently a puppet director for the development workshops of For lost children from Paris, written by two-time Tony Award nominee Carrie Robbins. Clint holds a BFA in acting, with a minor in dance from Ithaca College.
We’d love to hear about the very first show you were on and what role you played!
My very first show was Fiddler on the Roof, Jr in 6th grade. I played the rabbi and had a line that I still remember to this day. During the opening night of this production, a cast mate gave me a good luck hug before going on stage for the Sabbath prayer scene where we carried lit candles. Unfortunately, her candle got too close to my yarmulke and it caught fire while it was on my head. All I remember is being knocked to the ground by other cast members in order to put it out. My mother kept the burnt yarmulke as a souvenir of my stage debut.
Tell us a bit about your BFA experience in Ithaca.
My years at Ithaca College were some of the most challenging and rewarding times of my life. Going through their extremely rigorous conservatory training program prepared me to be able to conquer the ups and downs of this tough industry. Ithaca’s acting program is one of the best in the country and I’m so grateful for the “toolkit” they gave me.
You have experience in many areas of entertainment. What advice can you give people for a career in the performing arts?
My best advice is to find a work-life balance. It’s very easy in the performing arts to feel like you have to say “yes” to every opportunity for fear of missing your big break (something I still struggle with on a daily basis). However, it is the places we travel, the times we experience, the people we relate to that make us stronger and more complete actors. Downtime is just as important as work. Stay true to who you are and focus on your work, not the “you” people want to see.
When did you first become interested in puppets?
My first experience with puppets was when I was on Storytime Live! national tour with Nickelodeon. I’ve always been a very movement-oriented actor and was drawn to the challenge of bringing inanimate objects to life and figuring out how to effectively communicate their emotional journeys. During the pandemic, I was cast as the star puppeteer in the New York production of Voyeur: The Windows of Toulouse-Lautrec which has rekindled interest and deeper exploration of this art form. From that experience, I was brought on board as a puppet maker for the development workshops and filming of For the Lost Children of Paris, a new play written by two-time Tony Award-nominated costume designer Carrie Robbins. However, Avenue Q was my first experience working with what we call mouth puppets, which have their own exciting and challenging limitations.
It’s exciting that you’re making your Axelrod debut. How do you like working in theatre?
I have had such a great experience at Axelrod Performing Arts Center so far. Everyone was super welcoming and did their best to support the entire cast through a rigorous rehearsal process. It takes a family to put on a show and it’s very clear that the Axelrod team cares about each other and the quality of the work they produce. I think the programs they provide for young performers and the high caliber entertainment they provide is extremely important to the surrounding community.
Tell us a bit about the roles you play Avenue Q.
I play two roles in Avenue Q. Princeton who recently graduated with a BA in English and is looking for her purpose in life. The show follows the struggles of his inevitable push into adulthood such as moving to New York, unemployment, relationships, and his existential crisis of figuring out his purpose in life. The second character I play is Rod who is a conservative investment banker struggling to come to terms with his own sexual identity as a gay man.
The cast of Avenue Q is incredibly talented. Can you share a bit of your experience with them.
The cast has been so wonderful to work with. We are small enough that I feel like we have become one big family. It’s such an ensemble-based show and everyone’s lead is extremely vital to its success. You must have great trust in each other when working with puppets in such a fast-paced show and I’m so grateful to know that we all have each other’s backs every night. Each track on this show brings their own set of responsibilities and skills and I feel like I’m continually learning just by watching what they all bring to the table.
What would you like the public to know about the show?
The really wonderful thing about the show is that it deals with themes and topics that we as humans all go through in life, but don’t necessarily talk about with each other. It allows us to go out there with the characters and say “you know what? yeah. I deal with that too and it’s funny and we all have that in common.” The real reason this show was written was because the creators kept asking the question – what if those puppets we grew up with on TV as kids grew up with us? What happens when they come home after being on TV? And the music really leans into that whimsical, childlike feel with each song teaching a lesson. The show has a lot of heart and carries the message that no matter how difficult things may seem, “everything in life is only for now”.
Can you share with us some of your future projects?
Just after closing Avenue QI’m heading to Sullivan, Illinois to direct white christmas at the Petit Théâtre on the Place. I directed their production of La Cage Aux Folles last July and I am delighted to return. I will also be heading to the Virginia Children’s Theater in April to direct and choreograph their production of James and the giant peach.
Everything else, absolutely everything you want BWW NJ readers to know.
Come visit us at Avenue Q. You will love it here!
You can follow Clint by visiting his website at www.clinthromsco.com and on social networks @chromsco
The Axelrod Performing Arts Center is located at 100 Grant Ave., Deal Park, just five minutes from downtown Asbury Park, with plenty of free parking. Tickets cost between $32 and $65 and are available at (732) 531-9106, ext. 14 or www.axelrodartscenter.com.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Clint Hromsco and Axelrod Performing Arts Center