Nashville Favorites Correll and Bouson's AVANTE GARAGE Makes LA Stage Debut With Premiere of THE FAVORITE
Avante Garage Theatre Company, the award-winning company originally based in Nashville before its founders moved to New York City, will debut its first Los Angeles production this summer at The Avery Schreiber Playhouse in the NOHO Arts District: the world premiere of The Favorite by Joe Correll, co-artistic director, along with Avante Garage founder Michael Bouson.
Bouson and Correll are 2014 First Night Honorees.
The Favorite is described as "a dark comedy about the Holmes siblings who have just lost their mother and are cleaning out their parents' garage for the very last time. Shelby and Megan are competitive sisters with polar-opposite world views; their adopted African American brother, Dylan is prone to having lively conversations with inanimate objects. They all have unresolved conflicts that get unpacked along with the mountains of boxes, bags and crates. As the family goes through the endless pile of their parents' accumulated treasures and junk, they relive childhood milestones and touchstones, both joyous and traumatic. Things take an unexpected turn when they uncover a painting that was painted by their mother. She has left a note saying that the painting should go to her favorite child, without specifying which one of them that is. Old wounds are exposed and generously doused in salt until the afternoon comes to a climax when Shelby's husband, Ethan makes a shocking discovery in a dusty old trunk."
Los Angeles singer/actress Laura Philbin Coyle plays Shelby. A cum laude graduate of the University of Connecticut with a BFA in Acting and a minor in voice, she spent years in London, New York and Los Angeles training and finding steady work Off-Broadway, in local and regional theatre, commercials and doing voice-over work. Last summer, she received an Encore Award at the Hollywood Fringe Festival for her one-person show, A Piece of Work.
Handling the role of Megan is television and stage actress Tracey Rooney, a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and UC Cork, Ireland. Her theatre credits include The Family of Mann, The Miser (national tour), Romeo & Juliet, Piñata (Fringe), Do I Do? (one-woman show), NYC premieres of The Same Old Story and True Lines (created by John Crowley) and the Latinx cast The Diary of Anne Frank (producer). She also voices video games, audiobooks and commercials.
Karl T. Wright plays Dylan, the adopted brother. He began his acting career in Chicago at Players Workshop of Second City and was a member of Live Bait and Raven Theaters as well as being an award-winning radio host/producer on WBEZ. In LA, Wright was a member of Theatre Neo and worked at the TV show Extra. Over the years Karl has become a favorite "go-to guy in a suit" on many TV shows including The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, Monk, Castle, Jane the Virgin, How to Get Away with Murder and he returns to play Chuck on season three of Atypical on Netflix.
Rounding out the cast as Shelby's College Professor Husband Ethan, Michael Bouson is a graduate of the theater program at Miami University of Ohio. Bouson has written, designed, directed, produced and/or acted in nearly 100 professional productions since "spectacularly failing" Carnegie Mellon's acclaimed Pre-College Actor Training Program while still in high school!
Ann Hearn Tobolowsky directs The Favorite. Her recent directing credits include the classic Bus Stop and two world premieres, Forever Bound by Steve Apostolina at Atwater Theatre and at The Road Theatre, Jami Brandli's Through the Eye of a Needle; also at the Road Theatre, an Off Road production of Anatomy of a Hug, multiple readings for The Road's Word series and the New Playwrights Festival productions of Unbound, The Specials, The Giftand The Night We Bombed Lincoln Towing. Previously at Theatre 40: Holy Days, Driving Miss Daisy, Another Part of the Forest. At Malibu Playhouse, Jeffrey Passero's one-man show, Casting Passero.
Playwright and producer Joe Correll graduated with a BFA in Acting from the University of Connecticut and for several years worked as a professional actor in regional theaters. Joe is the co-author (with Bouson) of more than a dozen original musicals and comedies. Correll currently works as a reality television producer, and you may have seen his work on networks like ABC, TLC, Animal Planet, HGTV, and many others. His most recent plays include Keep It Light, Monday, Matterhorn, Armadillo and Terminal. He has also written three screenplays.
Founded as an improv/sketch comedy troupe in 1984 by Bouson, The Avante Garage Theatre Company is known for a number of "Firsts": In addition to coining the phrase "Nashvegas," The Avante Garage Improv/Sketch Comedy show became the longest running professional show in Nashville. Later, Correll came on-board as co-artistic director and the company created and produced the longest running "Professional Audience Participation Murder Mystery" Fatal Follies of '23! at Crawdaddy's Restaurant in Nashville.
In 1992, Bouson and Correll opened The Avante Garage Dinner Theatre with creative and business partners Jamey Green and Kathy Shepard to become the first professional dinner theatre to produce all original plays and musicals exclusively. Along the way, The Avante Garage won four First Night Awards (the Nashville equivalent of Los Angeles' Ovation Awards) and scored a number of high-profile bookings at Vanderbilt University, Scene Three Productions, Actor's Playhouse, The Nashville Symphony, Opryland Hotel and World Famous Exit/Inn. In 1994, Bouson and Correll moved to New York City where the Avante Garage produced their first Equity Showcase of their new musical The Melancholy Dane! at the acclaimed Circle in the Square Theatre.
The Favorite opens June 28 and runs through July 21, performing Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. at The Avery Schreiber Playhouse, 4934 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood. Tickets are available via Brown Paper Tickets (www.thefavorite.brownpapertickets.com). For further details, go to www.avantegarage.com.