(March 11, 2019 – SEATTLE, WA) The 5th Avenue Theatre has announced an incredible six-show lineup for its 2019/20 season. First, The 5th will stage a lavish production of Austen’s Pride, A New Musical of Pride and Prejudice. For the holidays, The 5th will create a brand new staging of Shrek The Musical, which premiered at The 5th in 2008. The New Year kicks off with Stu for Silverton, which continues its developmental journey as a part of The 5th’s New Musical Development Program. Next comes a joyful 5th Avenue Theatre original production of Sister Act, followed by an exclusive, limited two-week engagement of Once On This Island. The season will close with an original staging of the epic masterpiece, Evita. Additionally, The 5th will host a one-week run of the national tour of Jersey Boys.
“Musicals are storytelling at its richest and most memorable,” said Producing Artistic Director Bill Berry. “Spun through a rich weave of the song, dance, acting, lighting, costumes, and sets, the immersive experience of great musicals creates a special time and place to recharge and reflect. Live musicals have the power to lift up our lives, sometimes even change them, and that’s something we never forget at The 5th. Whether you’re laughing and dancing with the sisters of Sister Act, you’re cheering for Jane Austen as she writes her greatest work in Austen’s Pride, or you’re wrestling with the fact and façade of Eva Perón in Evita, The 5th creates a space where light, hope, and joy are celebrated.” This marks Berry’s second season as the artistic leader of the organization, which he leads with Managing Director Bernadine C. Griffin.
The 5th Avenue Theatre will kick off its 2019/20 season with an extraordinary new musical bound for the world’s stages, Austen’s Pride, A New Musical of Pride and Prejudice (October 4 – 27, 2019). With book, music and lyrics by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs and direction by Igor Goldin, Austen’s Pride is the story of Jane Austen as she writes her masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice. As she shapes the course of her novel, its characters spring to life around her. With a classical Broadway score and clever, contemporary lyrics, this is a musical of beauty, wit, and wisdom, wrapped up in a journey of self-discovery. Austen’s Pride has been a part of The 5th’s New Musical Development Program since 2017 when the Theatre co-produced a developmental production in New York, followed by a 29 hour reading as a part of the final NextFest: A Festival of New Musicals. It is the 21st new musical to be produced by The 5th.
Shrek the halls! Come November and December, The 5th Avenue Theatre will celebrate the holidays with a delightful, original new staging of the hilarious smash hit, Shrek The Musical (November 26 – December 29, 2019), the first time the DreamWorks hit will be on The 5th’s stage since its pre-Broadway engagement in 2008. Shortly after the show’s 2008 premiere at The 5th, the musical opened on Broadway where it was nominated for eight Tony Awards® and played for 441 performances and 37 previews. Shrek The Musical features a book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Tony Award®-winner Jeanine Tesori. With comedic spark for people of all ages, Shrek has a story that is straight out of a fairytale: Shrek the Ogre lives alone in a swamp—and he likes it that way. One day, he finds his home flooded with fairytale characters driven from their homes by the small-minded, short-tempered Lord Farquaad. Shrek strikes a bargain with Lord Farquaad who agrees to restore the homes of the fairy tale characters if Shrek will rescue the beautiful Princess Fiona from a dragon in his name. With a wisecracking donkey by his side, Shrek embarks on the journey of a lifetime and discovers that true love and real friendship isn’t just in storybooks. Shrek The Musical was the seventh new musical produced by The 5th Avenue Theatre.
The New Year will begin with another new musical: Stu for Silverton (January 31 – February 23, 2020), based on the true story of Stu Rasmussen who was launched into the national spotlight after becoming America’s first openly transgender mayor in Silverton, Oregon in 2008. With a book by Peter Duchan (Dogfight) and music and lyrics by Lady Gaga collaborator Breedlove, the show was originally produced at Intiman in 2013, directed by Intiman’s then Artistic Director Andrew Russell. Russell has continued with the show’s creative journey and will direct this newest iteration staged by The 5th Avenue Theatre, with new choreography by James Alsop who has frequently worked with celebrities including Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez. The Seattle Times said of the Intiman production, “In director Andrew Russell’s vivaciously clever staging, Stu for Silverton has more in common with Our Town and The Music Man than La Cage Aux Folles. It’s a fond tribute to small-town Americana at its best, and to the kind of tolerance ordinary citizens can rise to.”
In spring, The 5th Avenue Theatre will create a joyous new staging of a divine musical comedy, Sister Act (March 13 – April 5, 2020). With music by eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Newsies, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), lyrics by Glenn Slater (Mulan), and a book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner with additional book materials by Douglas Carter Beane, this feel-good musical comedy sensation will feature direction and choreography by Lisa Shriver (The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Rock of Ages). Based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, the stage musical is set in the 1970s in Philadelphia. When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won’t be a found: a convent! Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church and community. The show played 561 performances on Broadway from 2011 to 2012 and was nominated for five Tony Awards® including Best Musical.
Next, The 5th will take audiences on a tropical vacation with a special two-week engagement of Once On This Island (May 12-24, 2020). Winner of the 2018 Tony Award® for Best Revival of a Musical, Once On This Island is the sweeping tale of Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl in search of her place in the world, and ready to risk it all for love. Guided by the mighty island gods, Ti Moune sets out on a remarkable journey to reunite with the man who has captured her heart. The groundbreaking vision of two-time Tony Award®-nominated director Michael Arden (Spring Awakening revival) and acclaimed choreography Camille A. Brown (NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live) conjures up “a place where magic is possible and beauty is apparent for all to see” (The Huffington Post). With a score that bursts with life from the Tony Award®-winning songwriters of Anastasia and Ragtime, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Once On This Island is a timeless testament to theater’s unlimited possibilities. The New York Times raves “What a delight it is to enter the world of Once On This Island!”
The season will close out with a spectacular new production of one of musical theater’s great masterpieces, Evita (June 12 – July 3, 2020), produced at a size and scale as only The 5th Avenue Theatre can do with rich, full orchestrations, sumptuous costumes and sets, and astounding performances. This is the iconic musical based on the life of Eva Duarte, an unknown actress who became the wife of Argentinean president Juan Perón, and the most beloved—and hated—woman in Argentina. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and book writer/lyricist Tim Rice are the brilliant creators of Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, in addition to Evita. Lloyd Webber’s credits also include Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, School of Rock, Cats, Sunset Boulevard, and more. Rice’s credits include Disney’s Aladdin, Aida, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Chess, among others. The musical debuted in 1979 to great acclaim and played for nearly four years on Broadway, making legends out of its stars: Patti LuPone (Eva Perón) and Mandy Patinkin (Che). It was nominated for eleven Tony Awards® and won seven including Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Director. The musical was converted to a film in 1996 starring Madonna in the diva-making role opposite Antonio Banderas as Che. A 2012 Broadway revival starred Ricky Martin as Che.
In addition to the six musicals in the mainstage season, The 5th will bring Seattle a one-week engagement of the beloved hit, Jersey Boys (April 14-19, 2020). They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard… and the radio just couldn’t get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story—a story that has made them an international sensation all over again. Audiences go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony® and Grammy Award®-winning true-life musical phenomenon, Jersey Boys. From the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is the musical that’s just too good to be true. Jersey Boys features legendary hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk like a Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and more. Directed by Des McAnuff with choreography by Sergio Trujillo, Jersey Boys features a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, lyrics by Bob Crewe, and music by Bob Gaudio. This season extra will be available at a discount to 5th Avenue Theatre subscribers.