Sounds Good to Me!

Karen Katz has had a remarkable year. Being the Head Sound Engineer at The 5th Avenue Theatre is no small undertaking during any given season, but this year, in particular, Karen took a ride on a technological rollercoaster following The 5th Avenue Theatre’s transition from an analog sound system verging on antique in technological years to a state-of-the-art digital system.

“People come up to me and say ‘Oh, you’re going digital! I bet your job just got easier,’ and it’s like ‘oh, no no no!’” Karen laughs and shakes her distinctive curls. “This job just got 10 fold more complicated than it had ever been before because there are so many more things you can do. And everything has a lot of programming that needs to be done before you can just ‘do’ it.” Continue reading “Sounds Good to Me!”

Ian at Large

Over the past two years, The 5th Avenue Theatre’s beloved Resident Music Supervisor and Alhadeff Family Director of New Works Ian Eisendrath has packed up his family and home and traveled to San Diego, Washington D.C. and Toronto, finally settling in New York City to continue his incredible work on the sensational hit Come From Away. Ian is still working closely with The 5th from the East Coast but in an entirely new capacity. We recently caught up with Ian over email to hear about what the future holds.

Ian Eisendrath conducts Titanic in Concert at The 5th Avenue Theatre (credit Mark Kitaoka)

Tell us what your new job title is and what your new responsibilities are as far as 5th Avenue Theatre projects are concerned.

I am an Associate Artist for Music & New Works at the 5th! My new role includes discussion and collaboration with the artistic leadership at the 5th Avenue, attending readings, meetings and events in New York City on the 5th Avenue’s behalf and returning to Seattle periodically to develop, musically direct and conduct new work.

Why the big change?

Over the past thirteen years that I have been in residence at the 5th Avenue, the organization has afforded me ample opportunities to work on exciting new musicals.  One of these projects was Come From Away, an unlikely musical about the surprising outpouring of love, generosity and acceptance that took place in Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11.   Continue reading “Ian at Large”

Rising Star Project: the Next Stage

Six years ago, the first iteration of something truly special took place at The 5th Avenue Theatre. Following the mainstage production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma, it was simply called “The Oklahoma Project.” The idea was to invite students from all over Puget Sound to remount our professional production on our stage under the direct mentorship of 5th Avenue professionals. Students were invited to perform, to stage manage the production, to work the technical elements, move scenery, alter costumes, fit and style wigs, manage fundraising campaigns, set ad budgets and project manage direct mail campaigns.

In all its many facets, the project was, in a word, unique. Continue reading “Rising Star Project: the Next Stage”

The Musical’s The Thing

By BILL BERRY, Producing Artistic Director, and ALBERT EVANS, Artistic Associate


Well, no. But—despite what Something Rotten! implies—neither did his rivals. Still, there are striking similarities between Shakespeare’s plays and our modern musicals.

Four hundred years after his death, Shakespeare’s legacy is everywhere—in our language, our notions about “genius,” even our conception of what it is to be human. So of course we’ll find his ghost still haunting our theaters, telling us how to write, mount, and see plays. Shakespeare’s scripts include well over a hundred songs, making them function, at moments, as actual musicals. Some of the music survives, and over the years Shakespeare’s lyrics have been reset thousands of times by popular and classical composers. Continue reading “The Musical’s The Thing”

An Interview with Casey Nicholaw, Director & Choreographer of Something Rotten!

Elf BoxThere is something special about Something Rotten! Its score is magnificent, and its premise hilarious—its 10 Tony Award® nominations are a testament to this fact. But beyond that, there is something, or perhaps someone, that has helped unpack, explore and present its artistic brilliance; someone who has a knack for directing and choreographing original musical hits. That person is Casey Nicholaw.

A well-respected and renowned director, performer and choreographer, Nicholaw’s directing credits include Spamalot, Book of Mormon, Aladdin and Elf the Musical. His work features an impressive range of original musicals, and Something Rotten! is his most recent adventure. Continue reading “An Interview with Casey Nicholaw, Director & Choreographer of Something Rotten!”