Arts and Entertainment | Theater

Avenue Q’s Lyrics Must Change with the Political Times

Yes, Bush is stepping down, we know. The fateful date flashes on television screens, T-shirts, countdown clocks and bumper stickers: “1.20.09” is an ever-present phenomenon that not even Broadway can escape.

President George W. Bush has become a valuable comedic asset during his two terms in office—a sort of entertainment joker card—but once he forgoes his post, his name will lose value. Something or someone must take its place.

This is the dilemma the creators of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Avenue Q were faced with. Their final song, “For Now,” cites George Bush—along with happiness, pain and sex—as one of the things in life that are “only for now.” The musical must revamp its lyrics to match the changes in the White House.

A general crowd pleaser since the opening of the play in 2003, the query of what would replace the Bush lyrics remained unanswered. Having received numerous suggestions from the audience, the producers and creators of Avenue Q decided to resolve the issue in the most democratic of ways: a contest.

The show’s creative team was curious to see what spectators had to say. "People have been asking us for six years what we'd change 'George Bush' to and I've always said 'we have no idea.' Now that the time has finally come, we're still searching for the best way to celebrate the end of the Bush regime," said Avenue Q creator Jeff Marx.

The “Only For Now” lyric contest began on Dec. 22 on the show’s website. Contestants were encouraged to “Enter a suggestion for a new person, place, thing, event, fad, etc to be considered as a substitute for the soon-to-be-outdated reference to George Bush in Avenue Q’s finale.”

The contest ended on Jan. 12, and a panel of judges consisting of the play’s creators, producers, and writers determined the winner of the challenge, to be announced Friday. The phrase will make its official theatrical debut on Inauguration Day. What will be up to par with Bush? It seems America will have the final word.


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