Meet the Director: Bill Berry – The Pajama Game

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Bill Headshot

Bill Berry will be directing our spring production of The Pajama Game. He recently directed another workplace comedy for The 5th-How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Find out more about Bill below!

Is this your first time directing at The 5th?
This is not my first time directing here, as Producing Artistic Director I have the privilege and honor or shepherding one or more projects each year at The 5th Avenue.  What keeps me excited and constantly engaged is the level of talent and the craftsmanship that The 5th is able to bring to the work on the stage- and this is largely about the designers, the crew, the artisans, the actors, musicians and admin teams at The 5th. All of them are top notch, and bring such dedication to the work, and always invest fully whether we are producing a new show, a revival of a well known title, or a little known show from the past.

What has been your favorite directorial experience, either here or elsewhere?
That question is hard- each thing I have directed in the past 20 years have been my favorites for various reasons-  but a constant theme in my favorite experiences has to do with the people I get to work with. That is what turns a good experience into a great experience.

Why this show? What is intriguing or interesting about it to you?
I love the score, I love the story, I find the show so relevant to the world we live in, including union vs. management, Fair Pay (what constitutes fair pay?).  These are things we are still talking about today, and getting to engage in that dialogue through a fun musical- that is really exciting for me.

Dream show to direct?
GOSH- that is another tough question.  The list changes on a pretty regular basis- I feel like I want to go back and have a second crack at Cabaret,  I would love to direct Follies and Ragtime is always on my dream list.

What’s your favorite thing about Seattle?
The weather in the summer- spectacular long days filled with light, the way the mountains sparkle in the distance, the smell of the Sound in the early morning when I walk to work.

BILL BERRY is the Producing Artistic Director here at The 5th. Berry served as The 5th Avenue’s associate producing artistic director and casting director from 2002 through 2009. During that time, he directed productions of West Side Story (Seattle Times Footlight Award), Wonderful Town (Seattle Times Footlight Award), Wizard of Oz and Smokey Joe’s Café. In 2014, he made his Broadway debut as the director of the hit musical First Date at the Longacre Theatre. Berry’s directing work has been seen at theaters across the country, most recently at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse where he directed a critically acclaimed production of On the Town. Directing highlights include Cabaret performed at The 5th Avenue Theatre, St. Paul’s Ordway Center (Ivey Award), San Jose’s American Musical Theatre, and Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars, as well as the smash hits How to Succeed…, Little Shop of Horrors, First Date, RENT, The Music Man, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel at The 5th. From 2002 to 2009, he served as the producing director for The 5th Avenue’s education and outreach programs. During that time he significantly expanded the scope and impact of these initiatives, including spearheading the creation of Fridays at The 5th and The 5th Avenue Awards, honoring excellence in high school musical theater, as well as substantially increasing the reach of the Adventure Musical Theater Touring Company throughout the Northwest. These programs combined now serve over 70,000 students annually. He also initiated the Show Talk series, which seeks to deepen the theater-going experience. Prior to his work at The 5th Avenue Theatre, Berry was a freelance theater artist based in New York City.

If you loved How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying this spring, don’t miss The Pajama Game in our 2016/17 season. It will run February 9 to March 5, 2017. Subscriptions are available now, and single tickets will be available on November 25, 2016 at 10AM. Click here to find out more!

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