UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance and UW-Green Bay Music will team up to present Avenue Q, The Musical, in four shows on three dates, Nov. 21-23, at the University Theatre in Theatre Hall on campus, 2420 Nicolet Drive.
Winner of the Tony “Triple Crown” for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book, Avenue Q is a gut-bustingly hilarious modern musical focusing on a group of unique 20-somethings making their way in the big city, seeking their purpose in life. Although the show addresses humorous adult issues, it is similar to a beloved children’s show; a place where puppets are friends, monsters are good and life lessons are learned. Avenue Q is rated R for strong language and adult themes.
“The play has a big heart — sincere and sometimes naïve characters look for their purpose in life,” said Director Laura Riddle, Chair of UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance. “The puppets invite us into a playful world where they negotiate real issues faced in life after college. Avenue Q has a very diverse population and the residents learn to be compassionate and inclusive but it’s not always easy — or ‘politically correct.’ But just like some of the great children’s programming we grew up with, you can learn and have fun at the same time.”
Working with puppets has posed a special opportunity for the cast and directorial team of Avenue Q, many of whom are doing so for the first time. Professional puppeteer Kevin Noonchester spent a full week of rehearsal time teaching the UW-Green Bay team about the finer points of puppetry, and helping them get ready for the show.
“As choreographer, it was my first time working with puppets,” said UW-Green Bay lecturer and Avenue Q choreographer Denise Carlson-Gardner. “Not only do you have to teach the choreography to the actors, but you’re also teaching how they move their puppet. So it’s a whole other level of coordination, a whole other level of analyzing their movement, and how it affects the puppet.”
The added element of puppetry has brought an additional level of excitement, added UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Courtney Sherman, Music Director for Avenue Q.
“It gives us an added challenge but also added rewards,” Sherman said. “It’s been very entertaining and just very heartwarming to watch the work that happens with that added element. The show has a lot of really great songs — too many to name; I love them all.”
Performances of Avenue Q, The Musical will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, Friday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 23, and at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23. Tickets are $27 in advance and $30 at the door for adults; $22 in advance and $25 at the door for seniors and students (with ID); and $15 for UW-Green Bay students. Order online at www.uwgb.edu/tickets or by calling (920) 465-2400 or (800) 328-tkts. More information about UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance is available at www.uwgb.edu/theatre, and more information about UW-Green Bay Music is available at www.uwgb.edu/music.
Avenue Q, The Musical personnel (as of Nov. 13):
Cast: Nick Schommer (Princeton); Chelsea Crevcoure (Kate Monster); Tyler Miles (Rod); Emmanuel Zamora (Nicky); Erin Sunisa (Gary Coleman); Leah LaMalfa (Christmas Eve); Randal J. Tranowski (Brian); Evan Ash (Trekkie Monster); Stephanie Frank (Lucy); Conrad Kamschulte (Ensemble); Hanna Blecha (Ensemble); Kristen Woodard (Ensemble).
Band: Courtney Sherman, Conductor; Emily Sculliuffo, keyboard; Kyle Sweeney, keyboard; Sam Stranz, reeds; Matt Hayes, guitar; Seth Parmer, bass; Bobby Magers, drums & percussion.
Directorial/Design Team: Laura Riddle, Director; Courtney Sherman, Music Director; Denise Carlson-Gardner, Choreographer; Jeffrey Paul Entwistle, Scenic & Lighting Designer and Properties Designer; Janice Pytel*, Costume Designer; R. Michael Ingraham, Lightning Designer and Technical Director; Drew Arnold, Sound Designer; David Cook, Assistant Technical Director; Cody Von Ruden, Assistant to the Costume Designer; Chad Bishop, Stage Manager.
Production Crew: David Cook, Scene Shop Supervisor; Erin Gerard, Jena Tolksdorf, Assistant Stage Managers; Emily Sculliuffo, Rehearsal Pianist; Renata Gindt, Master Electrician; Kaitlin Honkanen, Puppet Wrangler; Joey Hart, Deck Crew Chief; Angie Danowski, Brooke Tupa, Run Crew; Katie Akerboom, Properties; Michael Hengels, Fly Operator; Donna Entwistle, Costume First Hand; Liz Galba, Wardrobe Supervisor; Abby Lee, Ashley Wisneski, Maari Erdman, Wardrobe Crew; Bri Wolfe, Cherran Dea Rasmovicz, Follow Spot; Dana Mehlnorn, Jeffrey Chesebro, Sound Technicians; Brandi Kochera, Projection Technician; Abby Stucky, Puppet Props Fabricator; Carpenters: Shannon Alba, Brianna Beier, Hannah Blecha, Jeffrey Cheseboro, Lindsay Cummings, Andy Delaurelle, Stephanie Frank, Renata Gindt, Emily Hanson, Joey Hart, Jordan Heller, Amy Hellwig, Mariah Himmelwright, Katelyn Junak, Kelsy Kowalkowski, Grace Neese, Christopher Poole, Cherran Dea Rasmovicz, Tyler Scholz, Abby Stucky, Jena Tolksdorf, Skyler Toyne, Cheng Xiong, Erin Sunisa; Costume Technicians: Liz Galba, Chelsea Crevcoure, Libby Reineke, Liz Barlament.
*Denotes guest artist
Visit news.uwgb.edu/multimedia/video/11/08/theatre-dance-present-avenue-q/ for a video preview of the UW-Green Bay production of Avenue Q.