Avenue Q

Nashville Repertory Theatre
Johnson Theatre at Tennessee Performing Arts Center
September 2018

Direction by Lauren Shouse
Costume Design by June Kingsbury
Lighting Design by Darren E. Levin
Scenic Design by Gary C. Hoff
Sound Design by Ned Singh
Stage Management by Teresa Driver

Avenue Q creates a world filled by human and puppet characters, exploring very challenging topics in our society.  Racism, affordable housing, equality, finding a purpose, and the value of liberal arts majors are made accessible and approachable to audiences as the humans and puppets interact.  Avenue Q is set in Alphabet City in New York, however, the lessons experienced strongly speak to the same challenges occurring in metropolitan areas across the country.

The lighting design concept for Avenue Q heavily explores the exploration of light with architecture in the New York City area, as well as the Nashville Metropolitan Area. The interaction of texture of light is fully integrated in the show becoming a driving force in the compositions on stage.  Three systems of texture in warm, cool and neutral colors guild the eye of the viewer across the stage from expansive moments to the single character moments.

Creating effective transitions throughout the show is also an essential element. Great attention is placed on creating transitions which integrate seamlessly with the elements moving onstage, but also with the underscoring and playoffs provided.  The lighting plot was specifically developed to allow for these kinds of transitions.  Careful consideration was placed on the isolation and different locations that would need to be represented.  Having very specific control allowed for transitions to guide the eye efficiently from one moment to the next.  Two systems of low side template allowed for dramatic transitional moments, and spectacular texture across stage during scenes.

A great challenge of the production is the inability to have followspots in the Johnson Theatre.  This provides a great challenge when designing a musical.  To counteract this deficiency, I utilized a system of 15 front and 15 back specials in neutral tones which became the backbone of the plot, further allowing for intense isolation seen in musical theatre.