More than 100 high school students and teens from nearly 60 Washington state schools will take over The 5th Avenue Theatre to produce their own production of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man shortly after the Theatre’s professional production closes. Known as The Rising Star Project: The Music Man, this all-student show is part of a one-of-a-kind educational program that gives teens an opportunity to experience all aspects of staging a musical.
Under the guidance of theater professionals, teams of students are producing, developing, and marketing the show. Meanwhile, their talented peers are rehearsing the original staging, music, and choreography in preparation for three public performances using the sets and costumes from The 5th Avenue mainstage production. The Rising Star Project: The Music Man will be directed byMathew Wright, music directed by Faith Seetoo, and choreographed by Brittany Jamieson, who will borrow from the original direction and staging of Bill Berry, and choreography of Bob Richard, who created The 5th Avenue’s main stage production of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man.
The Rising Star Project: The Music Man plays March 22 at 8:00 PM and March 23 at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM at The 5th Avenue Theatre (1308 5th Avenue, Seattle). Tickets (starting at $29.00) may be purchased at www.5thavenue.org, by phone at 206-625-1900, or at the Box Office at 1308 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle. The Rising Star Project: The Music Man will utilize the original set design by Martin Christoffel, lighting design by Tom Sturge, costume design by Gregory A. Poplyk, sound design by Ken Travis, hair and makeup design by Mary Pyanowski.
“There is no other educational program like this in the country,” said 5th Avenue Theatre Producing Director Bill Berry. “What makes this project truly unique is the opportunity young people have to be mentored by professional artists, staff and crew.”
“We have been so impressed with the level of talent and professionalism these students have presented,” added Director of Education Anya Rudnick. “Every teen at every level associated with this production has excelled above and beyond our expectations. The production they are assembling will certainly rival the professional production on The 5th Avenue stage in quality, in volume, and in sheer enthusiasm!”
About the Cast
Mike Klinge will play the role of the beguiling salesman, Harold Hill. Klinge has appeared in numerous youth, community, and regional theater shows at theaters including Village Theatre, Seattle Public Theatre, Kirkland Performance Center, Seattle Childrens Theatre, Studio East, and Core Theatrics. In 2007 he appeared in the reality TV show, Kid Nation.
Tori Gresham is coming from Yakima to perform as Marian Paroo, the librarian and part-time music teacher. Gresham’s accomplishments include nominations for several awards at the annual 5th Avenue Awards, which honors high school musical theater. She won Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in 2010 for her role in Eisenhower High School’s production ofAll Shook Up. Last spring she was praised by critics for her performance as Wendla in Spring Awakening at Balagan Theater.
The role of Marian’s mother, Mrs. Paroo, will be played by Sinclair Willman. Willman has performed in shows locally at Seattle Children's Theatre, Youth Theatre Northwest, Core Theatrics, and her high school, Seattle Academy. Anthony Deleon will join the cast as Marcellus, an old friend of Harold Hill who resides in River City. Deleon has performed in shows at Village Theatre KIDSTAGE, was part of an improv club, and participated in many acting camps.
Tobias McCurry and Maria Ishikawa return to The 5th Avenue Theater as power couple Mayor Shinn and his wife, Eulalie Shinn. They previously appeared in The 5th’s Oklahoma! Project as Andrew Carnes and Ado Annie, respectively. McCurry will be performing in The Pirates of Penzance this summer. Ishikawa is a petite belter from Stadium High School where she has been involved in her school’s Show Choir and its musical productions. She has also participated in The 5th’s dance classes and its summer Professional Intensive training program.
Also featured in The Rising Star Project: The Music Man are University of Washington’s Bryan Gula, Archbishop Murphy High School’s Jason Kinsfather, Bellingham High School’s Luke Robinson, and Inglemoor High School’s Ryan Anderson as members of the Quartet, Roosevelt High School’s Henri Fitzmaurice as Charlie, Edmonds Heights K-12’s Mariah Lotz as Zaneeta,and Tacoma School of the Art’s Dylan Zucati as Tommy.
A complete list of the students participating in this production and the high schools they attend is included at the end of this release.
About The 5th Avenue Theatre
The 5th Avenue Theatre is one of the nation's premier incubators for new musical theater. Since 2002, the celebrated company has produced 14 new musicals. Seven have moved on to Broadway premieres, including the recent debuts of Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson (formerly Saving Aimee) and A Christmas Story, the Musical! These seven Broadway musicals have earned a combined 14 Tony Awards, including two for Best Musical (Hairspray and Memphis). The 5th Avenue Theatre is also known for its world class, critically acclaimed productions of musicals chosen from both the contemporary canon and the Golden Age of Broadway.
Unique in its Chinese-inspired design, this exquisite theater opened in 1926 as a venue for vaudeville and film. In 1980, the non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre began producing and presenting top-quality live musical theater. Today, under the leadership of Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong, Managing Director Bernadine C. Griffin and Producing Director Bill Berry, The 5th Avenue Theatre attracts an annual attendance of more than 287,000 and ranks among the nation's largest and most respected musical theater companies.
In addition to its main stage productions, The 5th Avenue Theatre is also committed to encouraging the next generation of theatergoers through its extensive educational outreach program which includes: The Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company, The 5th Avenue Awards Honoring High School Musical Theater, the Student Matinee Program, and Spotlight Nights. These programs serve 65,000 students each year.
For more information about The 5th Avenue Theatre, its season and its programs, please visit www.5thavenue.org.