Behind the Curtain: Q & A With Pajama Game Costume Designer Rose Pederson

Rose Pederson is back at The 5th for The Pajama Game. She made her debut last season with another workplace musical comedy: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Rose’s designs have been seen in other local theatres, including 47 shows at Seattle Repertory, 28 shows at ACT Theatre, and productions at Intiman Theatre, New Century Theatre and Seattle Children’s Theatre. She has also worked extensively in regional theaters across the nation, including the Broadway production of Largely New York, the Kennedy Center, Arizona Theatre Company, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Company and The Merc Playhouse.

She took some time to answer a few questions about the costumes for The Pajama Game.

Tell us a bit about your vision for the costumes in The Pajama Game.

I originally talked with Bill Berry about the show and how we saw the “look.” We decided it would be real clothes, based on research of the period. I found many pictures of women working in factories in the Midwest in 1954. I also was able to use the Public Library picture file which has a collection of magazine articles, calendars, news articles, etc. from the period. Sometimes there are treasures there that can’t be found on the internet. My favorite finds were from the category of picnics. Continue reading “Behind the Curtain: Q & A With Pajama Game Costume Designer Rose Pederson”

Meet the Director: David Armstrong – The Secret Garden

David 7265

David Armstrong will be directing our spring production of The Secret Garden, which is a co-production with D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre Company being performed there this fall. He recently directed our revisal production of Lerner & Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon.

What has been your favorite directorial experience?
Every show is my favorite when I am doing it but looking back I would say that our 5th Avenue production of Candide was one of my favorite experiences. The musicals that are very open to interpretation are usually the most rewarding.

Why this show? What is intriguing or interesting about it to you?
There are very few plays or musicals that I have directed more than once over the course of my career, but this will be my fourth time directing The Secret Garden (although I have not directed it since 1999). Everything about this show draws me in—the moving story, the incredible music and lyrics and most important the effect it has on the audience. To make people both laugh and cry in the same show is very satisfying. The musical expands several of the narrative threads and minor characters, and amplifies the Gothic mystery aspects of the novel. Like most stories, in that genre, our heroine Mary Lennox is brought to a big, dark, gloomy mansion—where secrets hide behind every door—and is thrust into a complicated relationship with a moody, tortured, romantic hero. Continue reading “Meet the Director: David Armstrong – The Secret Garden

The 5th Avenue Theatre by the Numbers: A Record-Breaking 2015/16 Season

The 5th Avenue Theatre wraps up another season of spectacular musical theater with successes on and off the stage. Over 300,000 guests attended one of the 219 performances at the historic theater during the 2015/16 season, generating more than $20M in earned revenue for the organization. Special thanks to 2015/16 season sponsors ArtsFund, U.S. Bank, media sponsor The Seattle Times and official airline Delta Air Lines for their support.

Check out our 2015/16 highlights, including new data on the economic impact of The 5th, a shattered box office record, a new festival of new musicals, a successful gala, a landmark renovation began, and national acclaim for 5th Ave education programs.

economic-infographic Continue reading “The 5th Avenue Theatre by the Numbers: A Record-Breaking 2015/16 Season”

By the Numbers: Wrap Up of the 2015/16 Season for the Education Department

Thank you to the generous corporations, foundations, government agencies, board members, and countless individual donors who supported our education programs this season. With your help we reached over 83,000 students across the Pacific Northwest region, increased our service by 14% and kept our thriving programs accessible to all students.

Here’s a closer look….
Continue reading “By the Numbers: Wrap Up of the 2015/16 Season for the Education Department”

Darko Tresnjak: Director of Gentleman’s Guide

Sit down with Darko Tresnjak, director of Gentleman’s Guide, playing July 12-31 at The 5th Avenue Theatre. 

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed the show and I think it’s quite safe to say that a great deal of the success of the show is in the staging and just the absolute fun of it.  Why don’t we start with what your response was to Steven Lutvak and Robert Freedman’s material; how you got involved with Gentleman’s Guide, in the first place.

DT: Well, in the beginning, several friends and agents told me about it; people seemed to think I was the right person for the show. And then Robert came to see my production of The Women at the Old Globe. He loved that and I think he thought that I would be a good match, because that’s another wicked comedy. That seems to be my specialty, you know?  I like naughty things!  I like things that are both appealing and a little bit subversive.  So, we all met up and when I dug into this musical, about a charming young man who lies and kills eight of his relatives and prospers in the banking industry and his punishment is that he ends up in a three-way with two gorgeous women, I said: “Okay!  Sign me on!”  Continue reading “Darko Tresnjak: Director of Gentleman’s Guide”

An Interview with the Writers of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Go behind the curtain with Steven Lutvak and Robert Freedman, creators of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, playing July 12-31, 2016 at The 5th Avenue Theatre.

I wanted to talk to you about the whole process of putting Gentleman’s Guide up on Broadway and winning the Tony Award.  As they say in Sound of Music, let’s start at the very beginning.  How did you two get involved with this piece?  And how long ago was it?  It was a while.

RF: Well, we met in the graduate musical theater writing program at NYU [in 1981].  We became friendly and we had threatened to work together for a long time.  We were looking for something and we worked on another show for a while and then, Steve had seen this movie, Kind Hearts and Coronets, on TV… Continue reading “An Interview with the Writers of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”

Paint Your Wagon Pioneers

The 5th has a tremendous history of nurturing writers and composers that in turn leads to new musicals on both our stage and on Broadway. With the leadership support of the following donors, The 5th can continue investing in the next generation of writers and further our commitment to producing new works.

Thank you to our Paint Your Wagon Pioneers!


Rushing for Gold: The Shiny Siren and the American Dream

Inspired by the real-life Gold Rush of the late 1840s, Lerner and Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon explores the lives of prospectors who traveled thousands of miles and spent hundreds of dollars attempting to strike it rich. The would-be miners came from all over the world and all walks of life. The stories of gold lying on the ground just waiting to be picked up were irresistible, though of course not at all a reflection of what most prospectors actually experienced. Still the lure of instant wealth was enough to bring thousands of people to the new state of California, though very few found the wealth they thought they would and many returned home penniless and disillusioned.

Continue reading “Rushing for Gold: The Shiny Siren and the American Dream”

Meet the Pioneers

Our final trio of pioneers join the wagon train today: Pearl (Brenna Wagner), and a special treat: our two Swings, Nicholas Tarabini and Carolyn Willems van Dijk! Pearl joins Timberline, Lotta and Mary as an entertainer in the area, as well as playing the character of Elisa. Swings act as understudies to basically all of the ensemble roles, which is no mean feat for Nicholas and Carolyn with such a well-rounded ensemble! (Read this great article from Playbill about the importance of a swing to any show.)

Brenna Wagner Web

We are thrilled to have Brenna here for her debut at The 5th with Paint Your Wagon! Although this is her first show here, Seattle audiences may have seen her recently in ArtsWest’s production of Violet as Violet or in Village’s productions of Mary Poppins and My Fair Lady.




Nicholas is stepping in as our male swing. You may have seen him earlier this season in our production of The Sound of Music. He’s also been seen regionally in American Idiot at ArtsWest and Next to Normal at Second Story Rep.


Carolyn Willems Van Dijk Web


Carolyn is stepping in as our female swing. She’s no stranger to this particular challenge – she was also the swing for Cinderella and ELF, as well as being seen regularly onstage in Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music.



Don’t miss Brenna, Nicholas, Carolyn, and the other gold diggers in our ‘revisal’ production of Lerner & Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon. The show runs June 2 through June 25. Visit our website for more information and to purchase tickets.

Meet the Pioneers: Silas, Timberline and Merchant Reed

Three more pioneers pursue the American Dream: Silas (Paul Flanagan), Timberline (Trina Mills) and Merchant Reed (Aaron Shanks). Silas is an immigrant from London who has come to find his fortune. Timberline arrives with the other girls with an iron will and a drive to make money. Merchant Reed is a hard working man who sells mining equipment to prospectors.



Paul is returning to The 5th Avenue stage after two forays earlier this season in How to Succeed… and The Sound of Music. Before that, Paul was already a regular on our stage before this season, having been in productions of Oliver! and A Chorus Line. You may also recognize him from The Fiddler on the Roof or Chicago at Village.


Trina Mills Web

Trina is a well-known face at The 5th, also having performed in How to Succeed earlier this year. She’s also been in our productions of West Side Story (Velma), A Chorus Line (Sheila), A Christmas StoryELF and Spamalot. Trina is pulling double duty in this show as the Dance Captain in addition to her role as Timberline. She also choreographed our production of The Sound of Music this past winter.

Aaron Shanks Web

Aaron is rounding out this trio nicely by also having been in How to Succeed…! What a reunion! Before that, you may have seen him in A Christmas StoryCarousel or Pirates of Penzance. Audiences may also recognize him from other regional roles at Village, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Showtunes Theatre, Tacoma Opera, Spectrum Dance Theatre, or numerous cabarets and concerts.

Don’t miss Paul, Trina, Aaron, and the other dreamers in our ‘revisal’ production of Lerner & Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon. The show runs June 2 through June 25. Visit our website for more information and to purchase tickets.