‘Avenue Q’ kicks off MLRT season

MLRT press release

Mammoth Lakes, CA – Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre (MLRT) Artistic Director Shira Dubrovner, is excited to announce the 2019-2020 theatrical season. “After several meetings of MLRT’s Artistic Council Committee (Jo Bacon, Noelle Deinken, Cathy Foye, Richard Foye, Juliana Olinka-Jones and Mary Walker),” stated Dubrovner, “a theme for this season fell into place – Inspired by Memories.”

Leading the charge this season is the Tony Award winning musical comedy Avenue Q. This production, imported after its successful LA run that originated at Dubrovner’s LA Theatre alma mater – so to speak, is directed by Patrick Burke who also created all the puppets. This show has been described as a “naughty Sesame Street for adults” with music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx and book by Jeff Whitty. The show won Best Musical, Book, and Score at the 2004 Tony Awards®.

For those who remember being raised on, or raising your kids on, Sesame Street, this refreshing musical addresses and satirizes the anxieties associated with entering adulthood. Its characters lament that as children, they were assured by their parents, and by Sesame Street, that they were “extraordinary” and “could do anything;” but as adults, they have discovered to their surprise that in the real world their options are limited, and they are actually ordinary like everyone else. Avenue Q is notable for the use of puppets, animated by unconcealed puppeteers. 

When this production ran in North Hollywood at the Group Repertory Theatre it received universally great reviews. AttheTheatrewithRadomirLuza.com wrote: “The singing and puppetry are top notch and rip a hole in the heart the size of the sun…It does what few musicals have ever attempted to do: Make puppets seem human.”

BroadwayWorld.com said the show was “Wonderfully directed by Patrick Burke… A great, great, completely lovable adult entertainment that will have you jumping for joy on Avenue Q.” And Cathy Wayne of NoHoArtsDistrict rated the show “Highly Recommended” – “…I could go on and on. As I said at the top of this review, this is a MUST SEE. Yes, it’s puppets, and yes, it’s AMAZING. AVENUE Q is funny, poignant, artful, with a great story, great music, and great actors and puppets. What a great night out in North Hollywood! What are you waiting for?”

The show stars LA actors Courtney Bruce, Joey Flint, Hartley Powers, Ashkhan Aref, Kristina Reyes, Harley Walker and returning to the MLRT stage, Troy Whitaker (MLRT’s The Fantasticks). There are only five chances to see this delightful adult-oriented musical – Thursday through Saturday, August 29-31 at 7:00 PM; Saturday & Sunday, August 31 and September 1 at 3:00 PM. (Note earlier matinee times – both Saturday and Sunday.)

Next up in October is the Tennessee Williams quintessential memory play The Glass Menagerie, directed by Dubrovner and starring a mix of locals along with LA-based, and returning Mammoth Lakes favorite, Brian Stanton (Blank, All the Christmas Stories Ever Told, And Then Some, All the Great Books – Abridged). This production is part of MLRT’s “Theatre for Young Audience” programming made possible in part by a grant from the California Arts Council. This show is geared toward high school students who attend the theatre for free. The public performances will run for two weekends, Thursday through Sunday beginning September 26th and concluding on Sunday, October 6; Q&A’s with cast a crew after Sunday Matinees.

On Friday and Saturday, October 18th and 19th head into the Edison Theatre for MLFF Mid-Season Screenings. Why wait till May to see Mammoth Lakes Film Festival’s amazing films. Come and get revved up for next year’s film festival by watching independent screenings that are curated from the “Best of the Fest” circuit.

“The second of this season’s ‘Theatre for Young Audience’ productions, in this case for K-8th grades, is another great play from my memories of when I was a child,” added Dubrovner.  “It was my favorite Disney movie, The Jungle Book.” For this production MLRT invites all the elementary and middle schools in the Eastern Sierra to bring their classes to the theatre for free on pre-booked field trips. For many young people, this is their first experience with live theatre. A small snack is provided after the show. The production is also sponsored by the California Arts Council and a private donor. There will be one public ticketed performance on Saturday, November 9th at 4:00 PM

Over the December holiday season this year we are excited to present two memorable shows in repertory – the first true repertory programming for MLRT since the Black Box Theatre in summer 2010. Gus Krieger, LA-based actor/director/filmmaker, returns to the Eastern Sierra with his brilliantly conceived production of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol: A One Man Play where he seamlessly plays all the characters. Also playing over the holidays, for those of you who remember those adorable Church Basement Ladies from Minnesota a few years back, is their holiday sequel Away in the Basement, A Church Basement Ladies Christmas. Inspired by the books of Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson, including the best seller Growing up Lutheran, written by Greta Grosch with Music and Lyrics by Dennis Curley and Drew Jansen, the show features an all-locals cast and will be directed by Shira Dubrovner.  

A Christmas Carol: A One Man Play plays December 14th – 29th; Away in the Basement, A Church Basement Ladies Christmas plays December 19th – Jan 4th.  

Do you remember your first dog? Your favorite pet? For those of you who do remember with great fondness your first love affair with your first dog, MLRT brings back by popular demand the A.R. Gurney comedy Sylvia. Directed by Dubrovner and featuring a cast of locals, the story concerns Greg, a middle-aged man tired of his job in finance and looking for meaning in his life; his wife Kate, a busy rising star in the public school system who is looking forward to some independence with the children out of the house; and Sylvia, an exuberant and beautiful lab/poodle mix, a stray in Central Park, looking for a new home – and played by a human! For Greg and the stray Sylvia it is love at first sight. But Kate is less than thrilled by the clever and coquettish canine who jumps, slobbers, sits on her couch, taking Greg’s attention away from his marriage. February 6th – 23rd

Poetry Out Loud, the Mono County competition of the National program of poetry recitation for high school students returns Nov 15th, sponsored in part by a grant from California Arts Council. The winning student represents our county in the statewide competition in and the winner of that event travels to Washington D.C. to represent the State in the prestigious National Competition presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. 

In March look for two amazing and memorable events. First, Todd Offenbacher returns with his Tahoe Adventure Film Festival – the “next best thing to doing it!” Todd will be on hand for his annual presentation to Mammoth Lakes on March 7th, 2020 with two shows only at 5:00 pm and 7:30pm.  Then on March 14th and 15th, for the first time in a few years, the March Magic returns. A world-class magician will grace the Edison stage presenting wonders of prestidigitation for the whole family. Keep watching for more announcements on who that Master or Mistress of the Mystical will be!

Stay in touch for more announcements to come throughout the year.

The theatrical season closes with the much anticipated 6th Annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, May 20-24, 2020.

For more information about the season and/or tickets for Avenue Q or season passes visit MammothLakesRepertoryTheatre.org.


WHO: Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre 

WHAT: Avenue Q – music & lyrics by Robert Lopez & Jeff Marx, book by Jeff Whitty

WHEN: August 29-September 1 – Thu-Sat at 7:00 PM; Sat & Sun at 3:00 PM

WHERE: Edison Theatre, 100 College Parkway, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

COST: Tickets online: $20/$18/$10; Tickets at the door $22 – No discounts

RESERVE TICKETS: www.MammothLakesRepertoryTheatre.org


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Drew Jansen
Drew Jansen
4 years ago

Correction: While Dennis Curley and I collaborated on the music and lyrics for one of the shows in the “Church Basement Ladies” series, I alone created the songs for “Away In The Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas.” Thanks.