‘Avenue Q’ lends B’way its hands

Puppets were absent at packed post-preem party

NEW YORK — An unlikely three-year trek from Brooklyn to a church basement on Lexington Avenue to a smash run Off Broadway paid off big time Thursday night as the cast and producers of Gen-Y Muppet-like musical “Avenue Q” took up residence at Broadway’s Golden Theater.

The opening night crowd — which included Rosie O’Donnell, Cynthia Nixon, Leelee Sobieski, Molly Ringwald, Marc Shaiman,Scott Wittman and Swoosie Kurtz — seemed to have little trouble relating to the angst-ridden post-collegiate denizens of the show’s eponymous Brooklyn nabe.

“Anybody who grew up watching kids TV and ‘Sesame Street’ will relate to this,” said producer Robyn Goodman.

“I lived this life,” said 28-year-old writer-composer Robert Lopez of his protags’ existentially aimless ways, “although I actually was living at my parents’ at the time.”

The puppets themselves were the only notable absentees from the packed post-preem party at the West Side’s Splashlight Studios. On hand: producers Kevin McCollum and Jeffrey Seller; choreographer Ken Roberson; puppeteers John Tartaglia, Stephanie D’Abruzzo and Rick Lyon; and human actors Ann Harada, Jordan Gelber and Natalie Venetia Belcon.

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