The award-winning Avante Garage Theatre Company, formerly of Nashville, and then NYC, will present its first production in Los Angeles this summer at the Avery Schreiber Playhouse in the NoHo Arts District. First up for this talented bunch of professionals is the world premiere of a new play - “THE FAVORITE,” by Los Angeles playwright Joe Correll. Mr. Correll is the co-artistic director of The Avante Garage Theatre Company along with Avante Garage founder Michael Bouson.
“THE FAVORITE” is 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. Laura graduated cum laude from 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.” Laura is also a professional singer/songwriter and has composed, recorded and performed a large catalogue of original songs, winning a Billboard songwriting award along the way. She is represented by Abrams Artists Agency and Volition Entertainment.
Handling the roll of Megan is television and stage actress Tracey Rooney. A graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and UC Cork, Ireland, Tracey’s 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). TV/film: “Office Uprising” (actor/executive producer), “The Young & the Restless,” “I’ll be Next Door for Christmas, “Jimmy Kimmel, “Revenge,” “Invasion,” “Veronica Mars,” “The Bold & the Beautiful,” “General Hospital,” “One Life to Live,” “Port Charles” and “Laughing River.” She also voices video games, audiobooks and commercials.
Popular television guest star, Karl T. Wright is hilarious as Dylan, the adopted brother. Karl started 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. Here in L.A., Karl 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 of your favorite TV shows like “The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS,” “Monk,” “Castle,” “Jane the Virgin,” “How to Get Away with Murder” and he returns to play Chuck on season 3 of “Atypical” on Netflix. Karl is repped by Smith & Hervey-Grimes and Upper Management Talent.
Rounding out the cast as Shelby’s college professor husband Ethan, Michael Bouson is a graduate of the esteemed Theatre Program at Miami University of Ohio. Multi-hyphenate Bouson has either written, designed, directed, produced, acted (or all of the above at the same time) in nearly 80 professional productions since spectacularly failing Carnegie Mellon’s acclaimed Pre-College Actor Training Program while still in high school! Also a realty television producer, audiences are probably more familiar with some of the indelible characters he’s been associated with from “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” “Flipping Out” and “Ace of Cakes” than they are with him! (And he’s OK with that!)
Managing the merry mayhem is director Ann Hearn Tobolowsky. 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 Gift” and “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 Michael Bouson) of more than a dozen professionally produced original musicals and comedies. Joe 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 Michael Bouson, The award-winning 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, Joe 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 also in Nashville. In 1992, Bouson and Correll opened The Avante Garage Dinner Theatre with creative and business partners Jamey Green and Kathy Shepard becoming 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.
**** For information on Los Angeles theatre, tickets to theatre in North Hollywood's NoHo Arts District, theatre reviews, the NoHo Event Calendar, restaurants, news and local businesses in NoHo, or anything and everything about the NoHo Arts Community, bookmark nohoartsdistrict.com. Follow us on Twitter @OfficialNoHo. On Instagram @NoHoArtsDistrict and Facebook @NoHoArtsDistrict.