Photo Flash: Phoenix Theatre's AVENUE Q

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The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis announces Avenue Q, opening June 2 and playing through July 10, 2011 on the Phoenix Mainstage. Avenue Q, with music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx and original story by Jeff Whitty, opened off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre in March 2003, where it gained rave reviews, and was extended four times. The Phoenix is the first regional, professional theatre to produce Avenue Q, winner of the 2004 Tony for Best Musical, with a local professional cast and crew.

"This show uses double the number of people normally involved in the creative process for a Phoenix production," says Phoenix Producing Director and show director Bryan Fonseca. "So many talented people wanted to be a part of this show, from the cast and crew to the designers. It has been fun to build a small community of wonderfully talented bohemians to be a part of this process."

The History and the Story

The Winner of the Tony "Triple Crown" for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book, Avenue Q is part flesh, part felt (puppets) and packed with heart. This musical tells the story of a recent college graduate named Princeton who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. (He started at Avenue A, but kept looking until he found an Avenue in his price range.) There, he meets Kate (the girl next door), Rod (the Republican), Trekkie Internet sexpert), Lucy (the slut) and other colorful characters who help Princeton finally discover his purpose in life.

"It makes perfect sense that we produce this show," says Fonseca. "It fits the mission of the Phoenix because it includes all those topics that people don't like to talk about: relationships, the economy, race, sex, coming out and, most importantly, our purpose in life." Fonseca goes on to say "Avenue Q teaches life lessons in a very witty, intelligent and charming way. The show is known for being over-the-top and outrageous, but the messages are very simple and homespun."

The Cast
In the role of Princeton, Ben Tebbe returns to The Phoenix Theatre, having last been seen in the 2009 production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Emily Ristine, last seen on the Phoenix stage in Urinetown: The Musical, is Princeton's love interest Kate Monster. In the dual roles of Lucy and Trekkie, Claire Wilcher returns to the Phoenix stage, having last been seen in this season's A Very Phoenix Xmas 5: Regifted. Previously seen on the Phoenix stage in A Very Phoenix Xmas 4 and 5 as well as in Octopus in 2009, Jason Gloye is Rod. Just seen in This on the Mainstage, Eric J. Olson is Nicky, Rod's roommate and friend. Rounding out the cast are R. Brian Noffke, veteran of several Phoenix shows including Bat Boy: The Musical, who portrays Brian, and Diane Tsao Boehm, performing in her sixth show at the Phoenix, is Christmas Eve. Making her Phoenix Theatre debut, Da'Keisha Bryant is Gary Coleman.

The Creative Team
Fonseca is directing Avenue Q, with long-time Phoenix Musical Director Kevin D. Smith. Phoenix Resident Scenic Designer James Gross is creating the world of Avenue Q and Phoenix Resident Lighting Designer Laura Glover will be lighting that world, which includes the neighborhood and the building where all the characters live. Zach Rosing is handling all multimedia and video production, Scot Greenwell is Production Manager, Ashley Keifer is costumer, Nolan Brokamp is Technical Director and Lori Raffel is Assistant Director.
The puppets are being designed locally by Dan Tracy, Patrick Weigand, and Rachel Lambert, with puppet construction being handled by the designers and Patricia Schiro-Long.

In addition to Kevin D. Smith, the orchestra includes Matthew Price, Laura Cones, Mary A. Bowman and Dustin Klein.

Special Ticket Prices and Performance Details

Thursday, June 2, 2011 is opening night and the Friday, June 3, 2011 performance will feature the Producer's Party after the show with free appetizers from Agio restaurant.

Performances will be held on Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm and 6pm. The 6pm Sunday performances are added for Avenue Q only. Doors open ½ hour prior to curtain for seating.

All seating is general admission on a first-come, first-served basis and all Thursday tickets are $15, thanks to a grant by Duke Energy; Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances are $30.

For more information about any Phoenix Productions or to purchase tickets, call The Phoenix Theatre box office at 317.635.7529. Tickets may also be purchased online. The theatre's website is www.phoenixtheatre.org.

ABOUT The Phoenix Theatre
"The Phoenix Theatre has cornered the market on hip new works." -- Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

The Phoenix Theatre is Indiana's only professional Contemporary Theatre, and has presented productions to challenge and entertain the Indianapolis community for 28 years. An Equity house, the Theatre presents the Midwest and Indiana premieres of many popular Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, and has presented more than 82 world premieres in its quarter century. The Phoenix operates the 130-seat proscenium Mainstage as well as the 75-seat cabaret-style black box Frank & Katrina Basile Theatre. The Phoenix Pub, located in the Basile Theatre, serves beer, wine, coffee, soft drinks, water, and treats, and patrons may take all refreshments into either theatre. Both venues are housed along with administrative offices in a renovated 1907 church in downtown Indianapolis' historic Chatham Arch neighborhood, part of the Mass Ave Arts & Theatre District. The Phoenix Theatre is a member of the National New Play Network and the League of Indianapolis Theatres, and is supported by the Indiana Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as local corporate and foundation funders and more than 500 individual donors.

Photo credit: Zach Rosing



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