Congratulations, Gary Coleman. It sucks to be you a little less over at Avenue Q.
Although the role of child star Gary Coleman has been played by a handful of talented African-American women (including original star Natalie Venetia Belcon, Carla Renata, Danielle K. Thomas and Haneefah Wood) during the six-year Broadway run of the show, the production is now looking for a man to take on the part off-Broadway.
According to a casting notice, the show is searching for African-American men who are strong singers with great comedic timing for the part of the former celebrity who now lives and works on Avenue Q. Previous productions of Avenue Q have also cast men in the part, including the popular West End staging.
As previously announced, Avenue Q will start performances at New World Stages on October 9, 2009. The Tony winner for Best Musical, it ran for 2,534 performances at the Golden Theatre, becoming the 20th longest-running show in Broadway history.
No explanation was given for the change. Then again, no explanation was ever given for casting a woman in the role in the first place!