Meet the Director: Kristin Hanggi – Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

Kristin Hanggi Headshot

Kristin Hanggi will be directing our world premiere of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. Kristin directed and developed the international smash-hit Rock of Ages and is also a film director! Find out more about Kristin below.

Is this your first time working with The 5th?
Yes, it’s my first time! And I’m so excited! Many of my friends and colleagues have worked at The 5th and have sung its praises, so I’m looking forward to get a chance to work on a new musical here. The 5th is so encouraging to the creative process and one of the best places to develop new works.

What has been your favorite directorial experience?
My favorite directorial experience? It’s so challenging to pick! That’s like picking between children—they are all special to me in different ways. Rock of Ages on Broadway was, of course, very unique because it was with my dear friend Kelly, it was my childhood dream of Broadway and I had developed the show from its inception.

Why this show? What is intriguing or interesting about it to you?
There is something incredibly valuable to me about female friendships and I really loved celebrating that dynamic in this piece. And, yes, I adore Romy & Michele! There is a theme we are exploring in this musical — that there was nothing broken in the lives of these girls, until the reunion comes up, which makes our girls feel like they are not good enough. So then, they go to these ridiculous lengths to become something that they are not. To me, it speaks to the inherent vulnerability in us all, and the idea that we aren’t intrinsically “broken.” When we focus on our uniqueness, and honor that, we begin to discover how valuable we are “as is.”

Dream show to direct?
Tough one!! I think all the ones I’m currently developing…those are the ones that occupy my dreams.

What’s your favorite thing about Seattle?
I’ve never spent much time in Seattle, but I’m so excited to explore it!! I love all the trees, the water, how close nature is. And I’m a big fan of a great cup of coffee!!!


KRISTIN HANGGI is best known for directing and developing the international smash-hit Rock of Ages, which received five Tony Award nominations, including a nomination for Best Direction of a Musical. She has directed numerous productions of Rock of Ages, including Broadway, the West End, Australia, Toronto, Las Vegas and two National Tours.

Ms. Hanggi’s other stage productions include the development and direction of the acclaimed pop opera bare, which ran to sold-out audiences in Los Angeles and off-Broadway. bare brought Ms. Hanggi numerous accolades including the Ovation Award for Best Musical, LA Weekly Award for Best Musical and the Robby Award for Best Director. bare has gone on to have over 100 productions all over the world.

Also a film director, Kristin recently directed Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List, an adaption of Rachel Cohn & David Levithan’s popular novel of the same name, starring Victoria Justice. She made her feature directorial debut in 2013 with the indie Grantham & Rose starring Jake T. Austin and Marla Gibbs. For television, Ms. Hanggi adapted and directed the hit book series, Dear Dumb Diary into a musical movie, under Executive Producer Jerry Zucker for Walden Media.

Other past stage productions include: the Atlantic Theater’s Pirate La Dee Da (Alliance Award); the initial production that launched the Pussycat Dolls, Pussycat Dolls Live at the Roxy with stars Christina Applegate, Carmen Electra, and special guests Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Brittany Murphy, Nikka Costa, and Charlize Theron. And the Curtain Rises at the Signature Theater; the winner of the New York Fringe Festival for best play, Catch the Fish by Jonathan Caren; Brian Crano’s Twelfth Premise (LA Times Critic Pick); the Los Angeles premiere of Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi (Ticketholder Awards for Best Production and Best Director; Robby Award for Best Director of a Play); and Timothy McNeil’s Crane, Mississippi (LA Times Critic’s Choice, Backstage West Critic’s Pick.)

Ms. Hanggi graduated with her Masters from USC after receiving her Bachelors from UCLA in Theater. In June of 2013, Kristin returned to her alma mater when she received the UCLA School of Theater, Film, & Television Distinguished Alumni Award.

Hanggi has a love of music, and has directed multiple music videos. She also has a passion for connecting artists with holistic tools to develop and sustain their careers; she teaches ongoing workshops in both New York and Los Angeles. To learn more about all of her work, visit www.kristinhanggi.com.


If you love the cult classic Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, you will not want to miss this world premiere! It will run June 8 to July 2, 2017. Subscriptions are available now, and single tickets will be available on November 25, 2016 at 10AM. Click here to find out more!

Author: The 5th Avenue Theatre

The Nation's Leading Musical Theater

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