URI Theatre to perform Avenue Q

KINGSTON, R.I. — OCTOBER 30, 2014 – The University of Rhode Island Theatre Department announces the opening of “Avenue Q,” by Jeff Whitty, with lyrics by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez.

Winner of the Tony Triple Crown for best musical, best score and best book, “Avenue Q” is part flesh, part felt and full of heart. This musical is a laugh-out-loud production that explores adult themes as it tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton who moves into a shabby New York apartment on Avenue Q. There, he meets Kate (the girl next door), Rod (the Republican), Trekkie (the internet sexpert), Lucy (certainly not the girl next door) and other colorful types who help Princeton finally discover his purpose in life. The cast includes three human characters and 11 puppet characters manipulated by unconcealed puppeteers. Though some characters are fun-loving puppets, the play is not intended for children. Ben Brantley of the New York Times called it “savvy, sassy, and eminently likable … a breakthrough musical.”

“Avenue Q” will run Nov. 13 through 15 and Nov. 20 through 22 at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances Nov. 16 and Nov. 23 at 3 p.m. in the Robert E. Will Theatre in the URI Fine Arts Center, 105 Upper College Road in Kingston.

General admission is $20, and tickets are discounted to $18 for seniors and URI faculty and staff, and $15 for students. Call (401) 874-5843 to purchase tickets beginning Nov. 3, or buy them online at Tickets..

Paula McGlasson, professor and chairwoman of the theatre department (Chicago, Singin’ in the Rain, Company, The Rocky Horror Show and Spelling Bee), directs “Avenue Q,” with costume design by David T. Howard, associate professor; set design by guest artist Kent Homchick; lighting design by Christian Wittwer, associate professor; and sound design by guest artist Mike Hyde.


Actor, character, hometown

Vinny Ballirano, (Additional Puppeteer and Ensemble), Narragansett

Ben Church, (Nicky), East Providence

John Thomas Cunha (Trekkie Monster/Princeton U.S.), Middletown

Anya Fox (Lucy), South Kingstown

Diego Guevara, (Princeton), East Greenwich

Reilly Hayes, (Rod), Scituate

Daraja Hinds, (Gary Coleman), Pawtucket

Nina Morelli, (Female Bad Idea Bear), Coventry

Louis Perrotta, (Brian), South Portland, Maine

Catherine Poirier, (Mrs. Thistletwat/Extra Puppeteer), Woodstock, Conn.

Erika Rethorn, (Kate Monster), Coventry

Katherine Riley, (Christmas Eve), Hillsdale, N.J.

Philip L. Ryng, (Extra/Ensemble), Jamestown

Brenden Smerbeck, (Bad Idea Bear), Narragansett

Emma Walker, (Kate Monster US and Ensemble), Naples, Maine

Pictured above

The cast of URI Theatre’s Avenue Q, the raucously funny story of a recent college graduate who moves into a shabby New York apartment where he meets a colorful cast of neighbors. Back row, from left: Daraja Hinds, of Pawtucket; Brendan Smerbeck, of Narragansett; Phillip Ryng, of Jamestown; Ben Church, of East Providence; Vinny Ballirano, of Narragansett. Second row, from left: Emma Walker, of Naples, Maine; John Thomas Cunha, of Middletown; Reilly Hayes, of Scituate; Catherine Poirier, of Woodstock, Conn.; Erika Rethorn, of Coventry, Diego Guevara, of East Greenwich. Front: Anya Fox, of South Kingstown.

Photo by Randy Osga