A Fine Tune

With Pitch Perfect, his irreverent new comedy about a cappella singers, Avenue Q director Jason Moore creates another instant classic about outsiders.

BY Jeremy Kinser

September 13 2012 3:00 AM ET

Moore continued his fascination with musical entertainment by dabbling in community theater, where he played Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol and a Lost Boy in a production of Peter Pan. “I wore a little loincloth and insisted everyone call it a loincloth,” he remembers. “Because they kept calling it underwear. My mom always says, ‘That’s when you realized you were a director, you were already telling people what to say.’ ”

After graduating from Northwestern University, Moore headed west for Los Angeles, where he further honed his directorial skills and eventually worked as resident director on the epic musical Ragtime. The experience gave him confidence to try his luck in the theater epicenter, Manhattan. Soon, perhaps buoyed not only by his success in L.A. but by his childhood obsession with the Muppets, he landed the task of turning Avenue Q, then planned as a television series, into a full-fledged stage musical. It’s a challenge that would pay huge dividends when the show almost immediately became a cultural phenomenon, winning a Tony Award as Best Musical and a directing nomination for Moore.

“For your first musical in New York to go to Broadway and be nominated for a Tony is a dream come true,” he says. He hadn’t fathomed that the potentially shaggy production would ultimately change his life: “It took us all by surprise, but partially I think the show was what it was because we were all not really employed and had a lot of time during the day to sit around and figure out jokes and how to tell that story of young people who were unemployed and looking for purpose in life.”

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