The cast of off-Broadway show AVENUE Q paid tribute to the late Gary Coleman at the end of Friday night's (28May10) performance - just hours after the former child star passed away.
The controversial puppet show features the former Diff'rent Strokes actor as a character, working as a building superintendent, and the producers decided to honour Coleman's memory by marking his sad death at the end of last week (beg24May10).
The role is played by a female actor, Danielle K. Thomas, in the show's latest incarnation and she made a humorous speech after the final curtain.
She told the audience, "I just want to say that for me, it has never sucked to be Gary Coleman."
Thomas later admitted she was "terrified" to go out on stage so soon after Coleman's passing, and she was relieved the crowd cheered her light-hearted tribute. She tells CBC News, "It was the worst. I had a knot in my throat, I was so nervous."
The show's co-creator Jeff Whitty reveals some of the script was changed to avoid causing offence following the actor's passing, but he's confirmed they intend to keep Coleman's character in the show.
Coleman died on Friday (28May10) aged 42, after suffering an intracranial haemorrhage following an accident at his Utah home.