"Speak Up!" Mrs. Thistletwat's Exclusive Interview

Written by: Deanza Banuelos

OpenStage's 'Avenue Q' opening weekend was a success, and many attribute this to the powerful roles of the characters such as Mrs. Thistletwat. The esteemed educator and madam graciously complied to an exclusive interview with us over tea.

When I sat down with Mrs. Thistletwat for an interview her cold steely eyes peered at me over her mug of hot water and lemon. I shuffled through my notes nervously; “Not really prepared, are we?” she asked with a dour grimace. In our fifteen-minute interview during her lunch break from her lifelong career as a committed kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Thistletwat tersely answered my questions and told me to “speak up, missy!” more than a few times. Graduating at the top of her class at Camcordia University’s teacher college and going straight into her current position as head of the kindergarten program, Mrs. Thistletwat has always commanded the room. Five-year-olds universally fear her.

I asked Mrs. Thistletwat for some cute stories about her students, thinking that surely her thirty plus years teaching colors and shapes to children would have produced a few “kids say the darndest things” moments. “Cute? No, can’t think of one,” Mrs. Thistletwat quickly responded.

“I am a professional. It’s not in my job description to remember cute stories, give hugs, or be a warm fuzzy friend. I have a huge amount of content I’m responsible for teaching the kinders. State standards are very rigorous. They must learn to write their own name in kindergarten, which is no small task. Have you seen some of the names Brooklyn parents give their children these days? Jayceon, Saoirse, Ximena?” Mrs. Thistletwat sighed and rubbed her dark ringed eyes. “I am also responsible for teaching them to ‘Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened- you can’t even imagine the pressure.” Mrs. Thistletwat finishes her hot water with lemon and checks her watch as I thank her for her time. As she prepares to walk back across the street to the kindergarten classroom where she resides, I ask my final question: If you could have picked a different career those many years ago, would you have chosen something else? Perhaps something with less responsibility or rules? Mrs. Thistletwat looks me up and down as she asks, indignantly, “What kind of interview question is that?”


Be sure to catch 'Avenue Q' playing March 30 - April 27, 2019!


Avenue Q

Book by Jeff Whitty

Music and Lyrics by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez

Directed by Sydney Parks Smith

March 30 - April 27, 2019

"Hilarious, insightful entertainment - an exuberant blast of fresh air!” Theater Review

Winner of the 2004 Tony Award “Triple Crown” (Best Score, Best Book, Best Musical) Avenue Q is part flesh, part puppet, and packed with heart. This laugh-out-loud musical tells the story of a bright-eyed college grad who goes to New York City with big dreams and a tiny bank account.  Moving to the only place he can afford - all the way out on Avenue Q - he meets an odd assortment of offbeat friends who struggle to find jobs, dates, and an ever-elusive purpose in life. Filled with gut-busting humor, biting satire, and a delightfully catchy score, Avenue Q is likely the most irreverent musical you’ll ever see. Mature audiences only due to language and sexual humor.

Adults love AVENUE Q, but they seem a little, er, fuzzy on whether it's appropriate for kids. We'll try to clear that up. AVENUE Q is great for teenagers because it's about real life. It may not be appropriate for young children because AVENUE Q addresses issues like sex, drinking, and surfing the web for porn. It's hard to say what exact age is right to see AVENUE Q - parents should use their discretion based on the maturity level of their children. But we promise you this - if you DO bring your teenagers to AVENUE Q, they'll think you're really cool.

Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre, 417 West Magnolia Street

ArtLab Fort Collins-  239 Linden St