'Avenue Q' creator remembers Gary Coleman, says there will be changes to show

Jeff Marx, who conceived the Broadway musical Avenue Q with Robert Lopez, called up EW to remember Gary Coleman, and discuss some of the changes they would instill in their show, which boasts a character named for the late actor. “It’s a very sad day for all of us,” Marx says. “And we’re really sorry to hear this. We all were inspired by him for many, many years.”

Marx says that the show decided to alter some of the lines in the script, since they seem “inappropriate” now, but the show will go on. Marx says Avenue Q has even planned a tribute to Coleman, which will follow Friday night’s showing at New World Stages and be headed by the actress who plays Coleman, Danielle K. Thomas. “We all grew up watching and enjoying his work, and it’s just very sad to hear.”

More Gary Coleman:
Gary Coleman dies at 42
Gary Coleman: Five memorable moments from ‘Diff’rent Strokes’
Friends and co-stars remember Gary Coleman

Comments (74 total) Add your comment
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  • Jason

    I wonder what lines they’ll change…

    • Dan

      “my biggest fear is that I already fullfilled my purpose. Now I’m on a slow tiresome, walk to the grave.”

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    • bambam

      why don’t they change the character from gary coleman to todd bridges? or macauley culkin? just change it without any sort of announcement and keep the identical lines. it would be tacky and funny, in keeping with the spirit of the play.

      people die.

      • Hannah

        I would imagine they couldn’t change the character to a white child actor without completely changing the 2nd verse to “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.” Or the 2nd verse making absolutely no sense. And no matter what child actor they replace the Gary Coleman character with, they would have to change the lyrics to “It Sucks to be You.”

      • Randi

        And his line in “Everyone’s a little bit racist” is the best one.

      • Lis

        Also a white child actor would probably require a white actor to play the part, so Danielle K. Thomas would be out of a job

  • sandi

    A good actor…and a good person. Rest in peace, Gary. Thank you for the memories. You were valued!!

  • Flipper

    Most likely the “you win, I feel better now ” during “It Sucks to be me”

  • whatevs

    I’m trying to think of which lines in particular are been seen as inappropriate…

  • Adam

    Jeff Marx is acting uber-respectful now, like Gary Coleman was his life-long hero… didn’t Coleman frequently threaten to sue the show over its insulting portrayal of him?

    • Broadway Fan

      so i read, yes. he tried to sue them. this is interesting, kind of amusing that he is now trying to alter it after mr. coleman supposedly hated the fact there was a character after him in the show

    • Barry

      That’s what you do in Hollywood when you’re a washed up has been: sue.

  • Allie

    i was actually listening to avenue q after i heard about gary’s death, i kind of hope they don’t change anything, because it is a true portrayal. interesting that they now decide to change some things.

  • Nancy

    The show was disrespectful and mean spirited toward Gary Coleman. If people find this funny then they have nothing going on in their lives.

    • ShaneXtopher

      Have you seen the show? It’s not disrespectful or mean-spirited. If anything, it’s a celebrates him as someone who sees life in an amazingly wonderful way. He’s the glue in these people’s lives, is empowering and is portrayed very positively.

    • Kari

      Gary Coleman had in fact seen the show and was very pleased with it – he found it laugh out loud funny and it was and it is – no disrespect at all

    • Ckdexter

      Something tells me Nancy has nothing going on in her life…

  • Nicky

    What was disrespectful or mean about it? It gave the dude more positive pub than any of his pugilistic moments of this century ever did. His character was- is- funny, open-minded and honest. Beats everyone remembering him by “whatchoo talkin about Willis,” IMHO.

  • Alex

    I saw the show and did not like how they portrayed Gary Coleman. The man was alive and they made fun of him…excuse me for not liking the fact that he didn’t deserve to be made fun of…seemed wrong. And, now he is not here. RIP Gary Coleman.

    • Jeff Eastwood

      Okay, you’re excused. P.S. — everyone deserves to be made fun of.

      • Darren

        Including you.

  • Brooke

    Are they changing the Gary Coleman character to Emmanuell Lewis or something, or are they just changing lines/lyrics?

  • Josh

    I saw Avenue Q recently and thought it was mean-spirited in it’s portrayal of Gary Coleman. The guy was obviously down on his luck, not all of it his fault, and yet he was an easy target for the play’s cynical authors . In a show that supposedly touts understanding, there wasn’t anything in his portrayal that was compassionate towards this obviously troubled human being. In fact he was mocked. He is free from that kind of humiliation forever. RIP Gary.

    • whatevs

      I’m assuming then, that you’ve never made fun of anyone in your life.

      • Todd

        Not publicly and not for money and cheap laughs

      • gemma

        You don’t know what your missing Todd!

    • ShaneXtopher

      You have absolutely no sense of humor. The show throws barbs at just about everyone, but its ultimate message is one of inclusiveness and positivity. It has more heart than anything that’s been on Broadway in a good long time.

    • MikeyNYC

      Gary Coleman commented more than once that he thought Avenue Q was hilarious and that he had no problem at all with the “Gary” onstage. In one interview he gave, he actually said he was flattered that he was still relevant enough to be included in a Tony award-winning musical.

  • Todd

    Instead of picking on small African American child actors with disabilities, how about substituting a short gay adult actor like Harvey Fierstein?
    Gary, may you rest in eternal happiness and peace.

    • Bobby

      I agree with Todd. Emmanuel Lewis? Come on. Pick on some other near-celebrity that is not African American and short. How about Elliot Spitzer?

      • Kate

        How on earth would “everyone’s a little bit racist” work if he wasn’t african american? That’s part of the point.

    • The Dude

      Harvey Fiersteinis NOT short. He is over six feet tall!

    • Allie

      todd, so you think they should make fun of gay people and not african americans? you don’t make sense

      • Allie

        and yes, i know they already do but that’s not the point. you’re a hypocryte todd

  • Jessie

    Saw the show as well and was disappointed? What a waste of great talent on all fronts. Sorry everyone but paying good money to see someone disparaged was not my idea of a good time. I didn’t realize that Gary Coleman was alive because i was too young to watch the show he was on. Anyway,I read about his life today…sad that the writers of the show couldn’t come up with a person deserving to be mocked.

    • Jack

      and what person DESERVES to be mocked? lol

      • Deb

        Glenn Beck .

        But Jon Stewart already Publicly mocks him in a superlative fashion………..

      • anonymous

        Kate Gosselin…

  • Silk Spectre

    I saw the show and loved it. In the show “Gary” is happy despite the fact that his life hasn’t turned out exacttly as he wanted. In fact, he is the first to realize this and be ok with it. He has a good relathonship with the tennants. Its too bad Gary didn’t see this while he was alive. Personally I think thos leaves behind a wonderful legacy for Gary.k

  • max webster

    I’m sorry that he died, but this could work out well for the show. For newbies to Q, seeing the character of Gary Coleman adds to the shock value!

    • jack2211

      Do people need to comment on everything?

      • Traceyt


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