Meet the Illusionists: The Deductionist, Colin Cloud

Look at your hands. Your nails. The heels of your shoes. What do you see?


Imagine someone who could look at those details and see everything. Everything.

Only, you don’t have to imagine. Because this is precisely what Colin Cloud does.

He’ll know what you’ve had for lunch, where you’ve been that day, what you do for a living, the car you drive, even your PIN code. He’ll read you like a book. He’s already sure you’re quite the page turner.

He left ITV’s Jonathan Ross speechless (surely a first!). Ant and Dec screamed in disbelief! Mind reader and spoon-bender Uri Geller described him as “one of the greatest thought readers of all time”. His peers predict he’s the next big thing in the world of Mentalism. The media have described him as the real-life Sherlock and witnesses don’t say much as they’re usually left speechless.

When the other boys were out playing football and hiding in the woods, Colin was predicting the score and finding their hiding places with almost psychic accuracy.

He’s the Holmes of entertainment, if Holmes had a flair for comedy. He’s the deductionist of hypnotism, the Great Detective of live events.

Colin Cloud is the best and maybe even the wisest man you’ve ever known. Cloud has performed for professional sceptics like Penn and Teller. He has wowed the hard-to-please Simon Cowell. He has certainly left people convinced that he does indeed have mystical skills of reading minds and influencing outcomes.

In 2014, Colin Cloud became the runaway success of the Edinburgh Comedy Festival Fringe with 23 sold out performances and multiple 5 star reviews. On top of this, his other show received the ‘Skinny Magazine – Talk of the Town’ award, which was the first time it had ever been awarded.

Colin Cloud is a forensic scientist who mixes mind magic and brain science with his love of Arthur Conan Doyle’s works, resulting in him being described as the closest thing in the universe to the real life Sherlock Holmes.

Cloud will deduce everything about you, then he’ll be kind enough to explain how he did it.

You’ll understand why he’s never lost a game of poker, learn how to discover the phone number of anyone you like, recall information from the recesses of your mind and he will even share with you the ability to connect with people on a deeper and more meaningful level than you’ve ever experienced before.

He’ll leave you convinced he’s a psychic savant with the hypnotic powers of a calculated angel. Colin Cloud is potentially the most dangerous man in the world.

Luckily, he’s on our side.

We hope.

For tickets to see Colin Cloud as The Deductionist in The Illusionists: Live from Broadway at The 5th Avenue Theatre, click here.

NextFest: Day 1

By Erin Nieuwenhuis, Marketing & Communications Intern

On Monday, February 19th, it was a chilly 33 degrees in downtown Seattle, but in the rehearsal space of the 5th Avenue Theatre, NextFest was just starting to warm up. A pot of coffee brewed as fuel for the long day ahead, actors were warming up their voices, and the electricity in the green room flowing through the creative team members orchestrating the day all brought warmth to the entire hall. Every participant of the 2018 NextFest had a reason to be excited and to bring this energy. The three-week festival is a celebration of new works at all stages of development, some of which are the product of years of work. For the creative teams, this is a chance to watch their labors of love to be sung, acted, and workshopped on their journey to the stage. On Monday, it was the new musical ‘64’s time to shine.

The morning opened with a few quick words from director Bill Berry. “This is the first time we’ve heard actors put voices to these parts,” he said, “and it’s one of the most thrilling, brightening moments you could possibly imagine.” And it was truly thrilling. Just seconds after a round of introductions, the first chords of the morning were played on the piano, and rehearsal had begun. What followed was a sort of a jumble of voices, the kind of thing you might naturally expect from a group or performers that hadn’t practiced together before. Everyone knew their own part, but they didn’t necessarily know how they as individuals fit into the song and musical as a whole. But when your limited rehearsal time doesn’t allow for not knowing, what do you do?

That’s where Douglas Lyons came in.  As a key author and visionary of 64’s music and lyrics, Lyons began giving notes not only on what the lyrics should sound like, but how they should be sung. “You have to imagine this is the song of the summer,” he said to the cast, “Create an atmosphere, a dynamic. Add some zhuzh!” After that push, the cast really started to get into their song, some dancing in their chairs, some standing up and adding movement, all adding real soul and personality to their parts. And after a matter of minutes, the inspired cast was jiving together and putting on a real show.

’64 is a fictional musical inspired by the events surrounding the suspension of the Stanford fraternity Sigma Chi after inducting African American and Jewish pledges. In the vein of Ragtime, ’64 reflects a time when the United States was undergoing a tectonic cultural shift. Race, class and civil rights were pushing forward in the national consciousness and white Americans were beginning to realize that the American Dream was not yet available to everyone.

Complete casting includes Nicholas Japaul Bernard, Peter Crook, Andy Davison, Brace Evans, Tori Gresham, Matthew Kacergis, Patrick McDermott, Henry Nettleton, Shaunyce Omar, Taylor Pearlstein, Hannah Schuerman, Nathan Smith, Mike Spee and Zack Summers with Kody Bringman, Bob De Dea, Emily Ann Johnson, Matthew Posner, Brenna Wagner and Ty Willis.

Even the very first rehearsal of the very first day of NextFest was enough to make anyone feel enthused about the new works at The 5th. And if this Monday was any indication, some very exciting things are making their way to a stage near you.


Meet the Cast of Ride the Cyclone

Ride the Cyclone marks the 8th collaborative production between The 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT and truly highlights what both theaters do best.

At The 5th, we believe that no other art form has the full-on, visceral power to sweep audiences up and away like a great musical does. And from the page to the stage, no one creates that magical journey like The 5th Avenue Theatre.  ACT bills itself as a “Theater of New Ideas.” They challenge, provoke and inspire us to have messy conversations that alter our perceptions of the world around us through exciting, contemporary works of theater.

A new musical like Ride the Cyclone—the story of the sudden tragic demise of six small-town teens and their fraught attempts to flee Purgatory—is a work in development. Our remarkable Seattle audiences will have the opportunity to shape the future of this show with their feedback. Part comedy, part tragedy and completely unexpected, this wonderfully weird story is at every turn satirical, macabre, creepy, campy and hilarious.

The phenomenal cast of Ride the Cyclone is now in rehearsals.

Lillian Castillo HeadshotLILLIAN CASTILLO (Constance Blackwood) is stoked to make her 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT Theatre debut. MCC: Ride the Cyclone. Chicago Shakespeare Theater: The Taming of the Shrew, Ride the Cyclone, Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits and Seussical. Marriott Theatre: Mamma Mia!, Sister Act, Man of La Mancha and She Loves Me. Drury Lane Theatre: Hairspray, Sleeping Beauty, West Side Story. Milwaukee Rep: Why Do Fools Fall in Love. Paramount Theatre: In the Heights. Arkansas Rep: Hairspray and Glorious!. Phoenix Theatre: Hairspray. Utah Shakespeare Festival: Macbeth, School for Wives and Private Lives. She would like to thank her husband, family and Stewart Talent for their support.

Karl Sean Hamilton HeadshotKARL HAMILTON (The Amazing Karnak) makes his Seattle debut. Off-Broadway credits: Ride the Cyclone at the MCC Theatre. Regional credits: Asolo Repertory Theatre (Sarasota, FL); Peninsula Players Theatre (Fish Creek, WI); Timber Lake Playhouse (Mt. Carroll, IL). Chicago credits: Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Court Theatre, Marriott Lincolnshire, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Ravinia Festival, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Broadway Playhouse, Porchlight Music Theatre, Mercury Theatre, Theatre at the Center, Congo Square and First Folio Theatre. For the last decade, he has remained a proud and outspoken member of the Actors’ Equity Association. Hamilton is married to actress Elizabeth Haley.

Emily Rohm HeadshotEMILY ROHM (Jane Doe) is honored to be making her West Coast debut with The 5th and ACT. Rohm played the role of Jane Doe in the Off-Broadway production of Ride the Cyclone at MCC Theatre where she earned a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for her performance. She also originated the role in the Chicago production of Ride the Cyclone at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Other favorite roles include Mary Poppins (Paramount Theatre), Arminy in Carousel (Lyric Opera), Marian Paroo in The Music Man, Jane Ashton in Brigadoon (Goodman Theatre), Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Johanna in Sweeney Todd (Drury Lane Oakbrook) and Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd (Paramount Theatre). She is also the owner of Röhm, a clothing design label that specializes in handmade clothing and bridal garments.

Connor Russell HeadshotCONNOR RUSSELL (Ricky) National Tour/The 5th: Flounder in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Regional: Disney’s Aladdin, A Chorus Line, Hairspray Anniversary Concert, The Music Man (5th Avenue Theatre); Quentin in October Sky (The Old Globe); Idaho! The Comedy Musical (The Smith Center); Beatsville (Asolo Rep); A Christmas Carol (Pittsburgh CLO); White Christmas (Arkansas Rep); High School Musical (Seattle Children’s Theatre) and Gypsy (Capital Repertory Theatre). Select film: Paul in The Hinterlands (IAWTV Award nomination for Best Leading Actor), Brand Upon the Brain (Toronto Film Festival/New York Film Festival), Truth Slash Fiction (SeriesFest and ITVFest Winner). BFA from Point Park University. Instagram/Twitter: @mrconnorrussell.

Adam Standley HeadshotADAM STANDLEY (Mischa) is a Core Company Member of ACT Theatre, a founding member of The Satori Group and a carpenter with LCM Builders. He has performed at The 5th in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; at ACT Theatre in The Legend of Georgia McBride, Tribes (Gregory Award), Stupid F*cking Bird (Gregory Award Nomination) and Mr. Burns: a post electric play; at INTIMAN in Angels in America, Part 1 and 2; and numerous Satori Group works. Deep thanks to John Langs for his leadership and heart. Standley is in love with a woman named Amanda who is in love with a dog named Bogie who is in love with Standley.

Tiffany Tatreau HeadshotTIFFANY TATREAU (Ocean O’Connell Rosenberg) is elated to be making her 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT Theatre debut with this incredible team. Off-Broadway: Ride the Cyclone (Ocean). Regional: Rock of Ages (Regina), Mamma Mia! (Sophie), Sister Act (Mary Robert), Ride the Cyclone (Ocean), Bat Boy (Shelley), Spring Awakening (Anna) and more. She earned her BFA in Musical Theatre from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. Many thanks to Stewart Talent and her ever-present family and friends for their constant and crucial support on the ride. Follower her @tifftates or through her website:

Kholby Wardell HeadshotKHOLBY WARDELL (Noel Gruber) is making his 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT Theatre debut. Wardell has played Noel in every production of Ride the Cyclone in Canada and the U.S. Favorite theater credits include: Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest, Freddie in My Fair Lady, Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors (Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre); Lance in 500 Words (Green Thumb Theatre) and Bing Crosby, Socksboots and Self in The Lost Spirit of Christmas (Terrible Adults). Next up, Wardell can be seen playing Tobias in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street with BBRT in Victoria.


Chelsea LeValley HeadshotCHELSEA LeVALLEY (Ladies’ Understudy) is thrilled to be here! Regional: The 5th Avenue Theatre/ACT (Assassins), The 5th Avenue Theatre (Carousel), Seattle Repertory Theatre/La Jolla Playhouse (Come From Away), ACTLab (Buzzer), Village Theatre (original cast of A Proper Place), Seattle Shakespeare (Medea), Taproot (original cast of Persuasion, Big Fish), Intiman (original cast of Stu for Silverton), Hangar Theater, Seattle Children’s Theatre. With over 30 regional credits, LeValley is a bi-coastal director, playwright and award-winning actor. Her curriculum using social justice theater is presented at conferences across the country. BFA Elon University. Next Up: San Antonio Playhouse (Katherine in Newsies). Jeremiah 29:11.

NicholasTarabini_HeadshotNICHOLAS TARABINI (Men’s Understudy) is so thrilled to take this crazy journey with you! Past 5th Avenue Theatre credits include Paint Your Wagon, Mercer Girls, The Sound of Music. Regional: Paint Your Wagon (Ordway). Seattle: American Idiot, Peter and the Starcatcher (ArtsWest); Into the Woods (Village Theatre); Next to Normal, Legally Blonde (Second Story Repertory Theatre); Fiddler on the Roof (Seattle Musical Theatre). All his love to Mom, Dad and Mat.

Meet the Illusionists: The Manipulator, An Ha Lim

An Ha Lim (The Manipulator) 2006 Korea Busan International Magic Competition 1st Prize. 2006 Italy Club Convention Manipulation 1st Prize. 2007 World Magic Seminar in Asia 1st Prize. 2008 World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas – Golden Lion Award. 2008 IBM/SAM Joint Convention Stage Grand Prix. 2009 FISM WCM Manipulation 3rd Prix. 2009 Monte Carlo Magic Stars Special Guest Award.

Check out one of his previous acts:


For tickets to see Am Ha Lim as The Manipulator in The Illusionists: Live from Broadway at The 5th Avenue Theatre, click here.

What’s in a Name?

“What’s in a name?”

By Ruby Sachs, Rising Star Project Communications Student

“What’s in a name?” A passionate group of high school students from all over Washington has been coming together to ask themselves that very question since mid-September, creating a series of six original ten-minute musicals based on Romeo and Juliet. This week, their months of hard work are finally starting to come to life with the beginning of auditions and the rehearsal process.

Nestled below Downtown Seattle in The 5th Avenue Theatre rehearsal space, magic is taking place. Music explodes from practice rooms where actors work on learning songs and preparing for the auditions that are taking place this week. Next door, the dedicated writers add the finishing touches to the scripts that they have poured their souls into for the past few months. The 5th Avenue Theatre is as vibrant and busy as the Seattle streets that are bustling just overhead.

Sitting down with Rising Star Project student directors Emilio Torres, Maddy Angelos, Gaby Lopez, and Z Maile, they shared their excitement for the upcoming shows.

RSP Student Emilio_600x600_1Emilio Torres:
The best part about this is that people who sign up for Rising Star Project are very passionate about theater and are the most talented people around. Live theater is so unique because, unlike film, it delivers an intimate experience that leaves the audience feeling like they just experienced something real.

RSP Student MaddyMaddy Angelos:
My goal for the Rising Star Project is that everybody is really proud of the work that is done. I have always wanted to experience what it is like to be a director, so getting that opportunity through the Rising Star Project has been amazing and very eye-opening.

RSP Student GabbyGabby Lopez:
What do I hope to get out of the Rising Star Project? Hmmmmm… I would say that… I hope to learn from and teach others. I want to learn different techniques for collaborating with people and help actors and writers get what’s on their mind onstage.

RSP Student Z Z Maile:
I think I would have to say that my goal for this season is to learn the process of directing and telling a good story. I feel very comfortable in leadership positions, so the responsibility that comes with being a director has been great for me.

The immense amount of dedication that each student at the Rising Star Project has for theater and creating collaborative art is truly special and shines through in the countless hours they have spent working on these shows, which showcase just how talented these students really are.

Rising Star Project: 10-Minute Musicals opens on March 3 at NextFest for an invited audience, and opens to the public at the following dates and locations:

March 8th: Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
7:00pm Performance

March 10th: Centilia Cultural Center (Centro de la Raza)
7:00pm Performance

March 11th: Kent Meridian High School
5:00pm Performance

*Please email for event details

Thank You for the Music: Part 1

No other art form has the full-on, visceral power to sweep audiences up and away like a great musical does. And from the page to the stage, no one creates that magical journey like The 5th Avenue Theatre. We bring passion and sensitivity to every musical we create. With big talent. Productions that move you. And did we mention dazzle? We’re proud that our musicals go on to wow audiences and win accolades around the world—including Broadway. And we’re proudest of all to play a lead role in Seattle’s performing arts scene.

We want you to introduce you to some of the fabulous members of The 5th Avenue Theatre’s music team. They all fill very important roles that are vital to the final product you see on our stage when you come to our productions.

R.J. Tancioco, Mamma Mia’s Music Director, Conductor, and Keyboard 1 in the band.

Paul Hansen a member of The 5th Avenue Theatre orchestra on percussion.

Dane Anderson is The 5th Avenue Theatre Music Coordinator.

We are so grateful to the wonderful musicians we are so fortunate to work with every day. They are simply one more reason that Seattle has one of the most incredibly rich cultural landscapes in the country. We are honored to give our community a front row seat to their work.

Mamma Miaplays through February 25 and tickets are selling fast. Get yours today!

Meet the Staff: Shannin Strom Henry

What is your role at The 5th?
Costume and Wardrobe Director

Bainbridge Island

How long have you worked here?
Almost six years—six years in April!

What has been your favorite show while you’ve been here?
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Paint Your Wagon and Janis Joplin

What are your hobbies outside of work?
Thrift shopping and antiquing; crafting purses out of vintage textiles and hanging out with my 9-year-old daughter.

What do you love about The 5th?
I love that we are a family here and all work together to create the magic.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, is integral to the process and the product!



Meet the Cast of Mamma Mia! – Sky, Eddie and Pepper

We’ve had our first audiences and it would seem that there are more than a few ABBA fans in Seattle—or maybe this show is just so much fun that you can’t resist it!

Sophie’s fiance Sky is willing to do anything for her, putting his travels around the world on hold and marrying her, despite maybe not feeling quite so ready to do so. While Donna and Sophie work out their paternity issues, Sky has a a few things of his own to work in, along with his best friends and taverna staffers Eddie and Pepper.

MM_Jordan Iosua Taylor WebJORDAN IOSUA TAYLOR (Sky) makes his 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Sky, and could not be more grateful for this amazing opportunity. Earlier this season, he toured with The 5th Avenue Theatre’s AMT in Free Boy. ACT: Bad Apples, Ham for the Holidays. ArtsWest: Sweeney Todd; American Idiot; Really, Really. Seattle Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet. Taylor is especially excited to fulfill the dream of his grandmother seeing him up on The 5th Avenue Theatre’s stage.

MM_Travis Brown WebTRAVIS BROWN (Eddie/Ensemble) 5th Ave debut! Arizona Repertory Theatre: Company (Bobby), Candide (Candide) and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Regional: Hair (Arizona Theatre Company) and Gypsy (Portland Center Stage). Special thanks to Kelsey and everyone at The 5th, Rebecca, Mom & Dad and his landlord, Tyler.

MM_Jonathan Luke Stevens WebJONATHAN LUKE STEVENS (Pepper/Ensemble) The 5th: Holiday Inn. Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Shakespeare in Love, UniSon, Twelfth Night, The Wiz, Guys and Dolls and Head Over Heels. Regional: Guys and Dolls, Singin’ in the RainThe Donkey Show, Hamlet. Instagram: @jlstevens.

How Can I Resist Ya? Preparing for ‘Mamma Mia!’

BY SARAH RUDINOFF (Rosie in The 5th’s Mamma Mia!)

When our director Bill Berry called with an offer to play Rosie, he said Lisa Estridge was coming back to Seattle to do the show. I think I said yes right after he said Lisa’s name. Lisa is one of the few people who truly makes me giggle with delight onstage and off. I met her doing Smokey Joe’s Café, my first show at The 5th. Lisa lives in Chicago now and any chance to play with her is a treat. The part of Donna had not been cast yet but finding out later that Kendra Kassebaum was going to lead our trio was thrilling. Kendra elevates everything she is in and I was blown away by her recent performance in Ragtime. Killer cast—check!

Once I am signed on to a show, I start with the material. I read the script and for musicals, listen to the score. I try to find where my life intersects with the part so that I can dig into feelings I understand. For experiences that are beyond my own, I read, listen and ask questions.

I read the script for Mamma Mia! and there was something very Greek about the book with its chorus and character archetypes. There are all these sets of threes in the play; the former girl group Donna and the Dynamos, the three possible fathers, Sophie and her two friends and her groom and his two buddies. All these trios come in and out of view, representing different dramas, different wants and desires. I also love that this musical focuses on the stories and voices of three middle-aged women and what they want. A rare thing indeed! We need more of those stories on bigger stages. Diverse perspectives—check!

Full honesty… I have never seen Mamma Mia! and I didn’t have strong opinions about ABBA’s music. However, I have been to the land of ABBA. My oldest brother Chris has lived in Stockholm for 17 years. You can hear their music everywhere—yes, they play “Dancing Queen” in the subway in Sweden. If an entire country is obsessed, I know they must be on to something. I asked a few friends about the band and their music. (Stereotype alert!) My gay male friends who are my age and a little older have a very deep connection to ABBA. For them, the intersection of the 1970’s gay rights movement and the sexual revolution that spawned the disco era forever linked ABBA to those new freedoms. Revolutionary, beloved music—check!

In the end, I listened to the music and I found myself dancing around the room. That was all I needed to find the spirit for Mamma Mia! This year has at times felt divisive, disappointing and coarse. I gave myself permission to spend the winter on a Greek island looking for a playmate while singing in a sparkly jumpsuit with my friends. Check! Check! Check! I invite you all to join us!

Click here to get your tickets to The 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of Mamma Mia!

Meet the Illusionist: The Inventor, Kevin James

The Inventor, Kevin James, is an inventor, comedian and collector of the strange and unusual and is known for his innovative illusions. At a very early age, Kevin decided performing magic would be his life’s calling. Born in France in April 1962, the award-winning magician is also a prolific magical inventor. He has created many unique magic effects used in shows of other famous magicians including Doug Henning and Mark Wilson. His “Floating Rose” trick is performed by David Copperfield.

Kevin’s performance blends comedy and magic and he has performed on television in 25 countries, including the United States, where he has performed on all of the major television networks and many cable channels.

In 2003, Kevin was named “Parlour Magician of the Year” by the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, California and in 2005 was named “Most Original” by the International Magicians Society.

Get your tickets to see Kevin James as The Inventor in The Illusionists: Live from Broadway at The 5th Avenue Theatre when you click here.