With the sudden and tragic death of former child star Gary Coleman, who entertained television audiences as the bite-sized half of “Diff’rent Strokes,” an unlikely tribute came by way of Broadway, or at least Off-Broadway, thanks for the puppet musical “Avenue Q.”
“Avenue Q,” a musical that won a Tony Award for best musical, includes a fictionalized character called Gary Coleman — based on a stereotype of the real-life Coleman. So, when news broke that Coleman had died, the Broadway community turned to “Avenue Q” for comfort.
“The creators, producers and company of ‘Avenue Q’ are terribly saddened to hear of the death of Gary Coleman, whose tremendous gifts brought delight and inspiration to audiences around the world,” a press representative said yesterday. “While everything in life may be only for now, we suspect that Gary’s legacy will live on for many years to come. Gary’s memory will certainly endure in the hearts and minds of those of us who live on ‘Avenue Q.'”
Following last night’s performance of the musical, which recently transferred to Off-Broadway’s New World Stages, actress Danielle K. Thomas (who plays Coleman in the production) paid tribute to Coleman from the stage. She later posted video of her speech on Facebook. Watch the video below: