Meet The Assassins: Sara Jane Moore

Meet the actor: Kendra Kassebaum

5th Avenue Theatre regular Kendra Kassebaum joins the cast as Sara Jane Moore. Previous 5th Ave and ACT credits include Jacques Brel…The Secret Garden, A Little Night MusicCompanyCinderella, ELF.   Her work on Broadway and in New York includes Wicked (Glinda), RENT (Maureen), Assassins (Ensemble/Squeaky Fromme us), Leap of Faith (Sam)MTC’s The Receptionist (Lorraine), and Roundabout Theatre’s A Little Night Music (Petra). Her local work includes critically acclaimed Seattle Rep’s Come From Away.  Kassebaum’s regional credits include the Actors Theater of Louisville, Sundance Writer’s Lab, San Jose Rep, Ordway Center, Florida Stage, St. Louis Muny and the Arizona Theatre Company. Her film and recording credits include The Other WomanLeap of Faith and the Grammy-nominated Assassins cast recording.

Meet the Assassin: Sara Jane Moore

Sara Jane Moore made history for trying to assassinate President Gerald Ford just 17 days after Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme’s attempt in 1975. Moore was an accountant and involved in radical left wing politics.  Because of this connection to radical groups, she became an FBI informant.

The day before the assassination attempt, Moore had been picked up by police on an illegal handgun charge. She was released, but the police confiscated her weapon. The following morning she purchased a new handgun in haste and assumed a place among the crowd outside the St. Francis Hotel. She was about 40 feet away from the president when she fired and narrowly missed—the sites on her new .38 caliber revolver were six inches off! When she realized that she missed, she raised her arm to fire again and Oliver Sipple, a former Marine wrestled her to the ground after knocking the pistol out of her hand.

After her sentencing, Moore stated “Am I sorry I tried? Yes and no. Yes, because it accomplished little except the throw away the rest of my life. And, no, I’m not sorry I tried, because at the time it seemed a correct expression of my anger.” Moore was released on December 31, 2007 a the age of 77 after serving 32 years of her life sentence at the federal women’s prison in Dublin, California.

Come see Assassins, performed at ACT—A Contemporary Theatre. Visit our website, and search March 18-April 7 for best availability.

Photo by Tracy Martin of MARK & TRACY PHOTOGRAPHY

Rising Star Project Participants Tell You About Their Experience

The Rising Star Project wrapped up this last weekend with smashing performances of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. These students filled roles on stage, in the orchestra, on the crew, behind the scenes and in administrative roles. They have certainly learned a lot of new real world skills along the journey to producing their own show right on our stage.

Announcing Our 2016/17 Season!

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Man of La Mancha

Not Seen on Our Stage in 20 Years!
October 7 – 30, 2016

Book by: Dale Wasserman
Music by: Mitch Leigh
Lyrics by: Joe Darion
Directed by: Allison Narver

One of the most epic and enduring musicals of all time, Man of La Mancha is a glorious affirmation of the unyielding resilience of the human spirit that will leave you breathless.

Inspired by one of the greatest novels in Western literature, Man of La Mancha enters the mind and world of the mad knight Don Quixote as he pursues his quest for the impossible dream. In a tale told by Cervantes himself in defense of his life’s work, Quixote is, against all odds, a man who sees good and innocence in a world filled with darkness and despair.

Featuring stirring classic songs including “The Impossible Dream,” Man of La Mancha is a multi-Tony Award®-winning theatrical masterpiece that blurs the line between dreams and reality in a powerful celebration of the imagination.

 

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Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Disney’s Classic Brought to Life
November 23 – December 31

Music by: Alan Menken
Lyrics by: Doug Wright
Directed by: Glenn Casale

This holiday season, join us “Under the Sea” at The 5th Avenue Theatre for this spectacular production of the Broadway musical, Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Headstrong Ariel is no longer content to live on the ocean floor under her father, King Triton’s, rule. Convinced she’ll only find happiness on land, she sets off to find a world where she belongs, battling a sea witch and finding true love along the way.

Adults and children alike will revel in the Academy Award®-winning hits by the legendary Alan Menken including “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.” This spectacular new production will feature dazzling costumes, a stunning pop-up book inspired set and visual effects that are pure magic. So trade in your fleece for flippers this winter and make Disney’s The Little Mermaid part of your world.

 

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The Pajama Game

First Time at The 5th!
February 9 – March 5, 2017

Music & lyrics by: Richard Adler & Jerry Ross
Book by: George Abbott & Richard Bissell
Based on the novel 7 ½ cents by: Richard Bissell
Directed by: Bill Berry

Things are getting steamy at the Sleep Tite Pajama factory where handsome new superintendent Sid Sorokin is falling hard for Babe Williams, the all-too-alluring union rep. But sparks really fly when the workers go on strike for a 7½-cent pay raise, setting off not only a conflict between management and labor, but a battle of the sexes as well.

The show that defined Fosse style with seductive dance numbers such as “Steam Heat” and “Hernando’s Hideaway,” this critically acclaimed musical won three Tony Awards® including Best Choreography and Best Musical. The swinging score includes the timeless hits “Hey There (You with The Stars in Your Eyes)” and “There Once Was a Man” performed by a sensational Seattle cast. Don’t miss The Pajama Game done as only The 5th can do it.

 

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Murder for Two

Northwest Premiere!
A Co-Production with ACT – A Contemporary Theatre
March 25 – June 4, 2017

Book by: Joe Kinosian & Kellen Blair
Lyrics by: Kellen Blair
Music by: Joe Kinosian

Get ready for a musical comedy to die for!

Everyone is a suspect in Murder for Two—a drop-dead funny murder mystery musical with a twist: One actor investigates the crime; the other plays all the suspects—and they both play the piano! A zany blend of classic musical comedy and madcap mystery, this ninety-minute whodunit is a highly theatrical duet loaded with killer laughs. Called “Ingenious” by The New York Times, Murder for Two is the perfect blend of murder, music and mayhem!

 

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The Secret Garden

A Co-Production with D.C.’s The Shakespeare Theatre Company
April 14 – May 6, 2017

Book & lyrics by: Marsha Norman
Music by: Lucy Simon
Directed by: David Armstrong
Based on the novel by: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Welcome to the hauntingly beautiful world of The Secret Garden, where hope is found blooming in the discovery of a magical garden long locked-away. Based on the beloved novel, The Secret Garden follows recently orphaned ten year old Mary Lennox, who is sent to live with her reclusive uncle in a crumbling mansion on the Yorkshire moors. When she discovers the key to a neglected garden, Mary renews life for herself and her sickly cousin, bringing the weary estate and its occupants back to exuberant life with the full force of spring.

With book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon, this captivating show will mesmerize audiences of all ages and transport you to a world where beauty and love blossom, and a forgotten seed of life can still flourish.

 

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Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

World Premiere!
June 8 – July 2, 2017

Music & lyrics by: Gwendolyn Sanford & Brandon Jay
Book by: Robin Schiff
Directed by: Kristin Hanggi
Choreographed by: Kelly Devine

Two of the quirkiest and most endearing best friends in pop culture will make their musical theater debut at The 5th Avenue Theatre this season. Join us at the world premiere of the totally awesome new musical, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, based on the 1997 cult hit film. Romy and Michele are two inseparable best friends whose relationship is put to the test when they invent fake careers to impress people at their 10-year high school reunion.

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion features a creative team including Rock of Ages’ Kristin Hanggi and Kelly Devine, as well as a book by the film’s screenwriter, Robin Schiff. With an all new ‘80s and ‘90s pop-rock-inspired score, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion is totally, like, the coolest thing since the invention of Post-its®.

 

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Fun Home

2015 Tony Award® Winner
July 11 – 30, 2017

Music by: Jeanine Tesori
Book & lyrics by: Lisa Kron
Based on the graphic novel by: Alison Bechdel
Directed by: Sam Gold

Every once in a while a Broadway musical comes along that surprises, moves and excites audiences in ways only a truly landmark musical can. The “groundbreaking,” “life-affirming” and “exquisite” new musical Fun Home was the event of the Broadway season, receiving raves from critics and audiences alike, winning five 2015 Tony Awards including BEST MUSICAL and making history along the way. Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, Fun Home introduces us to Alison at three different ages as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood. A refreshingly honest musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes, “Fun Home is extraordinary, a rare beauty that pumps fresh air into Broadway.” (New York Times).

You can get seven shows for the price of 6, and FREE parking, if you subscribe to our full season! We also have special subscription prices for those under 35. For more information, and to subscribe to our 2016/17 Season, click here.

Meet The Assassins: The Proprietor

Meet the Actor: Nick DeSantis

Nick DeSantis joins the cast as The Proprietor in his ACT debut  He has been seen onstage in Seattle at The 5th Avenue Theatre, The Village Theatre and ArtsWest.  His favorite roles include Sunday in the Park… (Franz), ELF (Mr. Greenway), Les Misérables (Thenardier), No Way to Treat A Lady (Kit Gill), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Lumière) and I Am My Own Wife.

Meet the Assassins: The Proprietor

The Proprietor is one of the handful of non-historical figures in Assassins. A gun salesman who provides the characters with their weapons at the beginning of the show, the Proprietor plays on the ambitions, motivations and ramblings of the would-be assassins by acting as the pioneer  of all assassins, enticing them to enter a tawdry carnival. He invites them to play a game, promising that their problems will be solved by killing a president.

Come see Assassins, performed at ACT—A Contemporary Theatre. Visit our website, and search March 17-April 7 for best availability.

Photo by Mark Kitaoka of MARK & TRACY PHOTOGRAPHY

Natalie and Isabelle’s Rising Star Project Experience

Natalie and Isabelle are getting ready for opening night of the Rising Star Project. In its 5th year, the Rising Star Project is presenting their production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying right here on our stage. Seventy-nine talented teens are working on every aspect of the full scale production—from the cast and orchestra to arts administration and the backstage technicians. Here is what Natalie and Isabelle have to say about their experience so far.

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Natalie and Isabelle
Ages 15 and 18

Why did you want to participate in Rising Star Project?

 Natalie: I wanted to participate because I wanted to learn more about working at the theater. It’s helpful to know how to respond in stressful situations and I get to learn how to be in high energy situations.

Isabelle: I wanted to participate in RSP because I have been involved for three years – it has always been a great experience.

 What have you enjoyed most so far this year?

 Natalie: I like learning and experiencing new things. Although I am in the same job as last year (which I love!), I get to learn more about my area of tech – My mentor is giving me more responsibility and I love it!

 Isabelle: I love that we are trained by professionals and get to learn so much from them! They are very helpful.

 What new skills have you learned?

Natalie: I have learned how to “knife the dog”! – which is a fun term for how to work the automated tracks that move set pieces back and forth on stage.

Isabelle: I learned how to put on a wig, how to set up a microphone, how to sew better, and how to properly quick change an actor!

 Has Rising Star Project taught you anything about yourself?

Natalie: I have learned that I am a hard worker, I like to work in high energy and I can keep my cool under pressure. I also learned that I can get along with many different people and work well with everyone.

Isabelle: I have learned that I really would like to work in theatre and I love the technical aspects of the show!

What would you like to say to the supporters of The 5th?

 Isabelle: Thank you so much for helping to support RSP. This is truly an incredible opportunity for all of the students – including me!

Natalie: It’s so wonderful that donors support us because I could never pay for this experience and I have gained real workplace skills that will help me in the future. Thank you very much for giving me this fantastic opportunity. Because of you, I have been able to grow, learn, interact, and develop new skills that I will use for the rest of my life!

Come see Rising Star Project: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on March 4 and 5. Click here to find out more and buy tickets.

Can You Succeed…? with Michael Brown and Vicki Giles Fabre

Can you succeed in business without really trying? Rising Star Project students are considering this right now, as they prepare for their production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying this weekend. Our Community Engagement Specialist Kwapi Vengesayi wanted to find out as well. Completing this three-part series, we meet Michael Brown and Vicki Giles Fabre and hear what they have to say.


Inspired by our production of How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, I went out into the community to ask a few inspirational people from diverse backgrounds and professions a few questions about their success. Here were their answers.

MICHAEL BROWN

Michael Brown is the Vice President of Community Programs at The Seattle Foundation. From 1997 to 2000, he served as a legislative aide to City of Seattle Councilmember Richard McIver. Michael also served as Deputy Director for the Washington Association for Community Economic Development, a non-profit organization that provided training and technical assistance to statewide community-based development organizations. Throughout his career, he has been devoted to work that positively impacts and uplifts diverse communities. A native of New Orleans, Michael received his Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington and his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Loyola University (New Orleans). Michael is a board member of Building Changes, Impact Capital, the King County Housing Authority and the Washington State Budget and Policy Center.

Hear what Brown had to say about mentors, being the best you can be and surrounding yourself with intelligent people.

VICKI GILES FABRE

Vicki Giles Fabre is the Executive Vice President of the Washington State Auto Dealers Association (WSADA). Prior to joining the team at WSADA, Fabre worked as legislative counsel and held various administrative positions with the Washington State Legislature. Fabre has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Seattle, King County, Snohomish County YWCA, and for the Washington Federation of Highway Users.

In this interview, Fabre explains how theater and real life are the same and how strategies for succeeding in business are often the same as those for succeeding in theater.

Produced by KWAPI VENGESAYI, Community Engagement Specialist

Meet The Assassins: Lee Harvey Oswald

Meet the actor: Nathan Brockett

Nathan Brockett joins the cast as Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald is thrilled to make his ACT and 5th Ave debut with this show and team. He is a recent transplant to the Northwest from Austin, TX where he graduated with a BA in Theatre Performance and just completed a two-year Meisner acting program. Brockett’s Recent Seattle credits include The Rocky Horror Show at SMT, Zapoi! at Annex Theatre, and the Gregory Award-winning production of Into the Woods with STAGEright.

Meet the assassin: Lee Harvey Oswald

Born in 1939, Lee Harvey Oswald was a former US Marine sniper who, following a troubled military service, defected to the Soviet Union before returning to the United States with a Russian wife and baby daughter a few years later. They settled in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas where he struggled to maintain a job and at one point (just eleven days before the assassination), attempted to return to the Soviet Union via Cuba.

On November 22, 1963, according to five different government investigations, Oswald assassinated President Kennedy as he traveled by motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Oswald was charged with the assassination of President Kennedy on November 23 and was murdered the following day by Jack Ruby, a night club owner, while being transferred from the police station to the county jail. Due to Ruby’s actions, Oswald’s motive for assassinating the president was never made clear.

After the assassination Kennedy, presidents stopped riding in open cars, with efforts to make vehicles presidents are transported in more secure from different forms of attack. Some of the features now standard in presidential limos may include armor plating, bullet proof windows, and an interior that is sealed off from the outside world to reduce risks of a chemical attack.

Bringing the Best to The 5th Avenue Stage

Whether it is on stage, behind the scenes, or in the orchestra pit, The 5th is thrilled to support the amazing talent based right here in Seattle. We employ over 800 artists and artisans, making us the largest arts employer in the Pacific Northwest. The help from our donors plays a huge role in our ability to work with world-class performers and creative artists, full live orchestras, and stage imaginative and innovative productions like we saw from our most recent production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.


 

This wonderful show would not have been complete without the incredible costume design by a local designer, Rose Pederson. She captures the energy of the era and the zingy nature of the show, creating the looks that brought the characters alive onstage. Her sixties-era designs included vintage pieces uncovered on shopping trips in Los Angeles seen alongside the “Paris Originals” built by master artists in our own 5th Avenue costume shop.  The spirited designs for the role of Hedy LaRue (seen below and as played by Jessica Skerritt ) brought the perfect touch to this sassy character.

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Just look at what the reviews have said about the incredible artists involved:

Even the zingy new orchestrations by the irreplaceable Bruce Monroe honor the intent and effect of the original” –Talking Broadway

The biggest ace up Berry’s sleeve is the nearly unerring casting of the show, in fact the best overall casting I have seen at The 5th in some years.”- Talking Broadway

Bob Richard has come up with some of the best men-in-suits (and women too) choreography I’ve seen.”- Broadwayworld.com

A visual treat … This show looks and sounds like a million bucks.”- Seattle Gay Scene

Thank you to all of those who support us and make the magic possible!

Meet the Assassins: Highlights

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Louis Hobson portrays infamous assassin John Wilkes Booth

JOHN WILKES BOOTH

Arguably the most well-known presidential assassin in our nation’s history, John Wilkes Booth was an American stage actor and Confederate sympathizer. Born in 1838 into a prominent theatrical family, Booth made his stage debut at the age of 17 and quickly developed a reputation as an outrageous scene stealer, strikingly handsome and intensely physical onstage.

As the Civil War began to tear the country apart, Booth continued to perform extensively across the country, though he was arrested in St. Louis at one point for “treasonous remarks” against the President and the government. In late 1864, he even developed a plot to kidnap President Lincoln and smuggle him into Richmond, Virginia in an effort to bring victory to the South. A last minute change in plans on the part of the President foiled the plan. Continue reading “Meet the Assassins: Highlights”

An Interview with ACT’s Artistic Director John Langs

What was your first experience with Assassins and how does that inform your approach today?

I worked on a production of Assassins in college with [set designer] Brian Bembridge—and Brian and I have continued to work together for 20 years. It was a powerful early theatre experience for me, one of those times when I dropped into the power of language as carried by music, and its ability to open people up to mystery. There’s a lot of magic in the piece, something a little mysterious and sinister, but incredibly appealing. I think that those early impulses and feelings have traveled with me through the years.

How do you think the container of Sondheim’s music and those American themes inform the content?

The character of The Balladeer in this production is the all-American troubadour, but his job is to tell the story of historical assassins. It’s a way for Sondheim to say: Open your heart to this music, to America, and now take a look at what’s really there.

Which ties into the big question: why do Assassins now?

We chose the musical in an election year deliberately. ACT proves itself over and over again to not be adverse to risk; it’s a place where we want to have conversations— and certainly gun control has, most recently and very tragically in our country, become a flashpoint. I think the thing that’s still true about America is that there is a promise that if you work hard, you will get ahead. And when people find out that promise to them is broken, sometimes they will do extreme things to manifest that which they cannot through acts of goodness. [In Assassins] you have a bunch of people who are seeking celebrity, or a place in history, or a moment to matter, because they’ve been so absolutely disenfranchised. I think when we created the American promise, we inadvertently created the possibility of a broken promise, and these [characters] are people who bought into that promise, and feel that it’s been out of their reach.

What unique or additional artistic opportunities are afforded to you by working with The 5th Avenue Theatre?

What the leadership at The 5th Avenue brings is a terrific discussion about the form of musical theatre, and there’s a wonderful debate in order to find a show that fits the missions of both theatres. If you stripped the music out of Assassins, you would still have a story that was compelling and fascinating; the poetry, depth of language, and ambition of the discussion is revelatory—and that is what ACT looks for in a play. I think the sweetness of Assassins is this musical spoonful of sugar to help it begin to go down easier before it opens up underneath you, and speaks in a more powerful way—because music is a conduit to the heart that’s so immediate. That’s what makes this a perfect thing here.

What do you see as the most exciting or challenging aspects of directing this musical?

I’ve never directed any of these actors before. I’ve admired their work in a lot of what I’ve seen around town, [but] they’re all new to me. And that’s thrilling! I began the process with a great deal of enthusiasm and also the humility to know that there are relationships that have to be built.

Is there anything that you want people to know about Assassins before they watch it?

I think that there’s sort of a dark magic woven into this piece, I really do. It is a satire, not a celebration. Great art stirs you up and can make you angry. But after the anger comes the conversation. After the heartache comes a sort of epiphany. And I think that’s what this play offers really well.

By KENNA KETTRICK, ACT YPP Administrator
Photo by TRUMAN BUFFETT