|Bad Idea Bears (Paige Wisniewski and Jason Wilhoite)
give Princeton (Gary LaKind) some advice on how to spend his parents’ money
Your first impression of 19 year-old Paige Wisniewski is that she is as cute and cuddly as the bear puppet she holds in Avenue Q. Blond and bubbly, she has no qualms admitting to a “lifelong love of anything Disney.” So it’s no surprise that she has played Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Sandy in Grease, in her hometown of Houghton Lake, Michigan. As Paige says, “I am so used to playing the ‘good girl’ in musicals and so getting the chance to be on the other side of the spectrum has been really fun for me.”
But when Paige goes to the “other side,” she goes all the way. In Avenue Q, her main character is the girl Bad Idea Bear, whom she describes as follows: “The Bad Idea Bears are the cutest little bears who use their sweet charm to persuade some of the other characters in the show to do, well, bad things.” (For example, when Princeton receives money from his parents, the Bad Idea Bears convince him to spend it on beer.) As Paige says, “One thing that I love about my Bad Idea Bear the best is that she is the perfect combination of sweet and sour. She is just so cute and you want to snuggle with her and make her your best friend, but after talking to her for a few minutes you will find yourself involved in some bad things.”
Paige’s other role is Mrs. Thistletwat: “She is a crabby old Kindergarten teacher that Kate Monster works for. I have never played a character like her before so it has been fun to play with such a grouchy character.” Mastering the puppetry is a new experience for Paige, who says, “It will be also challenging to channel everything that I am feeling into the puppet. It is something that is so new to me and I am anxious and excited to be able to do something so different.” In addition to operating the Bad Idea Bear, a double rod puppet, Paige will be helping to puppeteer Trekkie Monster’s second arm and some other puppets throughout the show.
While Paige is brand new to the Barn, she can “honestly say that throughout this process so far I have met some really great people. I am so impressed with our cast and I feel so lucky to be a part of such a great production. The directors and other staff have been a pleasure to work with and everyone has been so welcoming to me. I feel that this is truly a great establishment and I cannot wait continue my experience here with The Farmington Players.” Paige is a sophomore at Central Michigan University studying Musical Theater, Music Education, and Dance. She was a competitive dancer for eleven years and continues to dance today in CMU’s University Theater Dance Company.