Barrett Foa Will Replace John Tartaglia in Broadway's Avenue Q

News   Barrett Foa Will Replace John Tartaglia in Broadway's Avenue Q Barrett Foa — who currently understudies the major male puppeteer roles in Avenue Q — will take over the lead of Princeton and Rod Feb. 1 after original star John Tartaglia leaves the show, the production announced.
Barrett Foa will be among the many actors taking part in the York Theatre Company's NEO2 benefit concert
Barrett Foa will be among the many actors taking part in the York Theatre Company's NEO2 benefit concert

Foa — who has taken over the roles in Tartaglia's absence — was part of the original cast of Mamma Mia! and appeared Off-Broadway as Jesus in Godspell and Cupid in Cupid and Psyche. Other credits for the University of Michigan alum include Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing (Hartford Stage) and Mordred in Camelot (Paper Mill Playhouse).

Tartaglia previously told Playbill On-Line of his impending departure from his Tony Award-nominated Broadway debut. The actor plays his final performance Jan. 30.

"I made the decision based on a few things. One, and most importantly, I decided that after 5 years of creating the characters of Princeton and Rod, it was time to move on both creatively and professionally," Tartaglia told Playbill On-Line (Dec. 23, 2004). "I've been really blessed to have been part of something so amazing that has literally changed my life. . . but I've been lucky also to have other doors open up, and I feel that now is the time to take advantage of those opportunities."

Foa — who marks the first permanent replacement for the show — joins original cast members Jennifer Barnhart, Natalie Venetia Belcon, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Jordan Gelber, Ann Harada and Rick Lyon.

The 2004 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Avenue Q sends up popular children's television shows such as "Sesame Street" and "The Electric Company," while serving up a bounty of pop culture references. The production bears the warning: "Full puppet nudity, not suitable for children." The musical — which recouped its initial investment last year — just set a box office record at the John Golden Theatre, notching $553,077 for the week ending January 2, 2005 following its record-breaking previous week (ending dec. 26, 2004) of $547,332.

The show's creators Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx earned a Tony for their score as did bookwriter Jeff Whitty and the musical itself garnered the top prize as Best Musical at the 2004 Tony Awards. Jason Moore (the upcoming Steel Magnolias) directed with musical direction by Gary Adler (the upcoming Altar Boyz).

Avenue Q plays at the Golden Theatre, 252 West 45 Street. For more information on the show, visit www.avenueq.com.

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