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Look Back at Avenue Q on Broadway

Following its run at the Vineyard Theatre, Avenue Q opened on Broadway at the Golden Theatre July 31, 2003. The musical, featuring music and lyrics by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez and Jeff Whitty, played 22 previews and 2,534 performances before closing September 13, 2009. The irreverent comedy earned six Tony Award nominations, winning three including Best Musical.

In the style of Sesame Street with humans and puppets interacting, Avenue Q tells the tale of 20somethings learning how to live and love in New York City.

The production starred John Tartaglia as Princeton/Rod, Stephanie D’Abruzzo as Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut, Rick Lyon as Trekkie Monster/Nicky, Ann Harada as Christmas Eve, Jordan Gelber as Brian, Natalie Venetia Belcon as Gary Coleman, Jennifer Barnhart as Mrs. T/Bear, and Jodi Eichelberger and Peter Linz as ensemble members with Carmen Ruby Floyd, Aymee Garcia, and Erin Quill as understudies.

Directed by Jason Moore with choreography by Ken Roberson, Avenue Q featured set design by Anna Louizos, costume design by Mirena Rada, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Acme Sound Partners, animation design by Lopez, and puppet conception and design by Rick Lyon with stage management by. Visit the Playbill Vault for the complete cast and creative team.

Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: July 30

1985 Sam Shepard‘s Curse of the Starving Class transfers from Off-Off-Broadway to Off-Broadway’s Promenade Theatre. The play, starring Bradley Whitford and Kathy Bates, runs 267 performances, outlasting its predecessor by 205 shows. It ends its run February 16 the following year.

1986 The producers of the Broadway production of The Little Prince and the Aviator are awarded $1 million in the New York State Supreme Court as result of a suit they filed against the Nederlander Organization. The jury decided that the Organization acted unreasonably when they posted their own closing notice outside the Alvin Theatre, although the producers of the show had never made any decision to close.

2010 Will Chase, Adam Heller, Jeffrey Schechter, Eric Schneider, Amy Spanger, and Kelly Sullivan are among troupers in the world premiere stage musical Robin and the 7 Hoods at The Old Globe in San Diego. Inspired by the Frank Sinatra movie of the same name, the production—with a book by Rupert Holmes and songs by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen—is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw.

2015 The world premiere of Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Steven Levenson‘s musical Dear Evan Hansen opens at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Ben Platt stars as high school student Evan Hansen. The production begins performances on Broadway in November 2016, following a spring 2016 Off-Broadway run, and wins six Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical for Platt.

2018 Marcus Gardley’s The House That Will Not Stand opens at New York Theatre Workshop. Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz and inspired by Federico García Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, the play follows a widow and her three eligible daughters, all free women of color, on the eve that Louisiana was passed over to the United States. The cast includes Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Juliana Canfield, Harriett D. Foy, Lynda Gravátt, Nedra McClyde, Marie Thomas, and Tony nominee Michelle Wilson.

Today’s Birthdays: Frances de la Tour (b. 1944). William Atherton (b. 1947). David Carroll (1950–1992). Delta Burke (b. 1956). Daniel McDonald (1960–2007). Laurence Fishburne (b. 1961).

J. Nicole Brooks, Diane Exavier, Franky D. Gonzalez, More Receive Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Initiative Commissions

J. Nicole Brooks, Diane Exavier, Franky D. Gonzalez, Charlie Oh, Kristin Slaney, and Else Went have been selected for Manhattan Theatre Club’s Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Initiative commissions. The incubator focuses on playwrights who explore themes of science and technology in their works.

“As theatres begin to reopen their doors after a singularly challenging year, we are delighted to announce this exceptional lineup of newly commissioned playwrights,” said Scott Kaplan, Manhattan Theatre Club’s director of play development. “We selected these artists due to their remarkable ability to interweave their thrilling artistic perspectives with… [these] themes.”

Since 2001, MTC has awarded a total of 100 commissions through the Sloan Foundation Program. Previously commissioned writers include Charly Evon Simpson, Craig Lucas, Heidi Schreck, Anna Ziegler, Itamar Moses, Martyna Majok, Simon Stephens, and Christopher Chen. Last year’s select cohort was comprised of Kate Attwell, Mia Chung, Noah Diaz, Julia Izumi, Ife Olujobi, and Stacey Rose

The Phantom of the Opera, Starring Killian Donnelly and Lucy St. Louis, Reopens in London July 27

Lucy St. Louis plays opera singer Christine Daaé in the London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, which resumes performances July 27 at Her Majesty’s Theatre. The casting marks the first time a Black actor has starred in the role either in London or on Broadway.

St. Louis, who has been seen in in the London productions of Motown the Musical, Beautiful The Carole King Musical and The Book of Mormon, joins Olivier Award nominee Killian Donnelly (Kinky Boots, Memphis) as The Phantom and Rhys Whitfield (Jesus Christ Superstar) as Raoul.

Rhys Whitfield, Lucy St. Louis, and Killian Donnelly
Rhys Whitfield, Lucy St. Louis, and Killian Donnelly Tim Bret-Day

READ: What The Phantom of the Opera‘s Open Casting Call Means for Broadway’s Return

The cast also features Saori Oda as Carlotta Giudicelli, Matt Harrop as Monsieur Firmin, Adam Linstead as Monsieur André, Greg Castiglioni as Ubaldo Piangi, Francesca Ellis as Madame Giry, and Ellie Young as Meg Giry. At some performances the role of Christine will be played by Holly-Anne Hull.

The ensemble includes Leeroy Boone, Corina Clark, Edward Court, Lily De-La-Haye, Hywel Dowsell, Jemal Felix, Erin Flaherty, James Gant, Eilish Harmon-Beglan, Emma Harris, Yukina Hasebe, Olivia Holland-Rose, Grace Hume, James Hume, Donald Craig Manuel, Jonathan Milton, Janet Mooney, Tim Morgan, Beatrice Penny-Toure, Michael Robert-Lowe, Nikki Skinner, Tim Southgate, Ashley Stillburn, Manon Taris, Anouk Van Laake, Skye Weiss, Simon Whitaker, and Karen Wilkinson.

READ: Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera Sets October Reopening

Andrew Lloyd Webber said in an earlier statement, “I am thrilled to announce our first entirely new cast for The Phantom of the Opera in London in over 35 years. This cast includes some wonderful performers with whom I have worked in the past, such as Killian and Rhys as well as the hugely exciting Lucy St. Louis in the role of Christine Daaé. Lucy first sang for me in between lockdowns one and two, and I was utterly bewitched. I am also very proud to welcome Beatrice Penny-Toure, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Arts Ed scholarship graduate, to the Phantom family in her first professional role.”

Producer Cameron Mackintosh added, “Putting the new version of the original Phantom production back into its perfect home Her Majesty’s Theatre, 35 years after its premiere, is an unexpected thrill. None of us had any idea The Phantom would be haunting the stage for so long. Although many of our brilliant original creative colleagues including Hal Prince, Maria Björnson, and Gillian Lynne are sadly no longer with us, their work lives on inspiring our new creative team to stage the Phantom afresh, as if it was a brand new production.

READ: West End Phantom of the Opera to Reduce Orchestra by Half; Broadway Production Commits to Return With Full Pit

The Phantom of the Opera has music by Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart, additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, and a book by Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber, based on the novel Le Fantôme de l’Opera by Gaston Leroux.

The musical also has orchestrations by David Cullen and Lloyd Webber, music supervision by Simon Lee, production design by Maria Björnson, set design adapted by Matt Kinley with associate costume design by Jill Parker, lighting by Andrew Bridge, associate lighting design by Warren Letton, and sound by Mick Potter. The musical staging and choreography are by Gillian Lynne, recreated and adapted by Chrissie Cartwright. Originally directed by Harold Prince, this production is directed by Seth Sklar-Heyn.

The Phantom of the Opera is produced by Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group Ltd.

(Updated July 27, 2021)