Meet The Assassins: John Wilkes Booth


Meet the Actor: Louis Hobson

Louis Hobson is a regular on The 5th Avenue stage, with performances in Jacques Brel, Jasper in Deadland (cast album), A Room with a View, Spamalot, West Side Story, Miss Saigon, Hair, and Pippin. His Broadway credits and Cast Albums include Next to Normal (2010 Pulitzer Prize), Bonnie & Clyde, Leap of Faith, and The People in the Picture. Hobson can also be seen in films and on television including C.O.G. (Sundance 2013), Laggies (Sundance 2014), Lucky Them (TIFF 2014), The Man in the High Castle (Amazon), and opposite Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic (Sundance 2016).  Hobson is the president & co-founder of Indie Theatrical, with stage and entertainment properties currently in development in the U.S., Asia and South America.

Meet the Assassin: 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 Civil War began to tear the country apart, Booth continued to perform extensively across the country. He was very vocal about his opposition to Abraham Lincoln and his support for slavery, and at one point was arrested in St. Louis  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 in an effort to bring victory to the South. A last minute change in plans on the part of the president foiled the plan.

On the morning of Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Booth learned that the President and First Lady would be attending a performance of the play Our American Cousin that very evening.  Fueled by this disdain for Lincoln, Booth would become the first person in the history of United States to assassinate a president, shooting the President in the back of the head.


Can You Succeed…? with Ethan Stowell and Stephen Krempl

Can you succeed in business without really trying? Our Community Engagement Specialist Kwapi Vengesayi wanted to find out. In the second of a three-part series, we meet Ethan Stowell and Stephen Krempl and hear what they have to say. It’s interesting to consider how many of these suggestions and recommendations for succeeding in business are applicable to working in the arts as well!

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.


Ethan Stowell is the executive chef and owner of Ethan Stowell Restaurants. His highly acclaimed restaurants include Tavolàta, How to Cook a Wolf, Anchovies & Olives, Staple & Fancy Mercantile, Ballard Pizza Company, Rione XIII, Bar Cotto, Mkt., REd Cow, Frēlard Pizza Company, and Braming Cross, as well as Goldfinch Tavern in Four Seasons Hotel Seattle. His food philosophy is all about keeping it simple, using fresh ingredients and allowing the food to do the talking. Deeply devoted to his hometown, Stowell is a fervent advocate committed to seeing that Seattle is recognized nationally as a culinary destination.

Hear what Stowell had to say about hard work, surrounding yourself with good people, and loving what you do in the video below.


Stephen Krempl is a speaker, author, consultant, and the President and CEO of Krempl Communications International (KCI). Krempl acquired his global perspective and unique style over two decades of service with Fortune 500 companies including Motorola, PepsiCo Restaurants, YUM Brands and Starbucks, where he was Chief Learning Officer and VP of Global Learning. He has now dedicated much of his time and expertise working with college students—in seminars, workshops and training opportunities—in an effort to help them figure out what is expected of them in the work world.

In this interview, Krempl 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

Flashback Friday: Sarah Rudinoff: From the Palace to the Steno Pool

Sarah SelfieHow to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying opened on January 28 on our stage, and there are MANY familiar faces and remarkable talents.

One of the stellar cast is our friend Sarah Rudinoff, checking in as sassy secretary—and Rosemary’s best friend—Smitty. Here’s a sneak peek of Sarah in one of her costumes!

But Sarah is no stranger to The 5th. Previous roles include Ruth in Wonderful Town, Hildy in On the Town.

And remember when she graced our stage in Cinderella? Watch a clip from “The Stepsisters’ Lament” below!

Catch Sarah and the rest of the steno pool in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, open NOW at The 5th Avenue. Find out more information and purchase tickets at

Meet The Assassins: Giuseppe Zangara

About the Actor: John Coons

Coons joins the cast as Giuseppe Zangara. He is thrilled to be making his 5th Ave debut with this production of Assassins.  Hailed as “powerful, funny and audacious” by CityArts, Coons has sung roles with the Seattle Opera, Eugene Opera, Skagit Opera, Inverse Opera and the Boston Opera Collaborative. He has performed with the Seattle Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Boston Symphony POPS, Atlanta Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Portland Symphony POPS and sung the national anthem for the Red Sox at Fenway Park. In addition to performing with popular artists Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer and Foreigner, his original one-man show, Six Months for Six Weeks, was released as a critically-acclaimed web series.

About the Assassin: Giuseppe Zangara

Born in Italy in 1900, Giuseppe Zangara migrated to the United States after serving in World War I. Due to both physical and mental health issues, he found difficulty working consistently and did odd jobs to stay afloat. In this troubled state, Zangara began to believe that the President of the United States was the one responsible for his pain and hardship. On February 15, 1933, Zangara attended a political event in Miami, Florida, where President Roosevelt and Chicago mayor Anton Cermak were present. He opened fire and five people were shot, including Cermack. The mayor lost his life but President Roosevelt was unharmed.

Under Florida law, a convicted murderer could not share cell space with another prisoner before his execution, but another convicted murderer was already awaiting execution at Florida State Prison in Raiford, Florida. Therefore, Zangara’s sentence required prison officials to expand their waiting area, and the “death cell” became “Death Row.” On March 20, 1933, after spending only 10 days on Death Row, Zangara was executed in “Old Sparky,” the electric chair in Raiford. Zangara became enraged when he learned that no newsreel cameras would be filming his final moments. Zangara’s final statement was “Viva Italia! Goodbye to all poor peoples everywhere! … Push the button! Go ahead, push the button!”

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

Check back next week for our next casting announcement!


Can You Succeed…? with Roger Levesque and Mary Knell

Can you succeed in business without really trying? Our Community Engagement Specialist, Kwapi Vengesayi wanted to find out. In this first of a three-part series, we meet Roger Levesque and Mary Knell and hear what they have to say. It’s interesting to consider how many of these suggestions and recommendations for succeeding in business are applicable to working in the arts as well!

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


Roger Levesque is the Director of Community Outreach with Sounders FC (Football Club), the official soccer team of Seattle. He graduated from Stanford University where he played soccer for the Cardinals and was named second-team All-American at the end of his junio year. He was drafted by the Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes before joining the Sounders. After he stopped playing, he took time off from the soccer world and earned his Master’s degree at the UW Foster School of Business. Since coming back into the organization, Levesque has endeavored to strengthen the club’s presence in the community, spearheading many community focused initiatives and programs.

Hear what Levesque had to say about succeeding in business in the video below.


Mary Knell is the Chief Executive Officer of Wells Fargo’s Washington and Western Canada Commercial Banking teams. She is a Seattle native and graduated from the University of Washington. While in college she worked part-time as a teller and after completing her studies, she continued to work in the banking industry. Her involvement in the community and the initiatives she champions have undoubtedly inspired and empowered girls and young women who will be tomorrow’s CEOs and leaders in the business world.

Mary’s advice for succeeding in business? You can never be too prepared, but it’s still important to be flexible! Listen to some other suggestions Mary has in the video below.

Produced by KWAPI VENGESAYI, Community Engagement Specialist

A Rather Sticky Wicket [RECIPE]

In honor of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and all the personnel at the World Wide Wicket Company, enjoy this recipe for the Sticky Wicket. This smoky variation on an Old Fashioned is the perfect cocktail after a long day at work. Or you can take a page from Mad Men’s book and put it together while you’re still at the office—if you happen to have maple syrup handy.


Sticky Wicket Cocktail Recipe1516_H2$_Sticky Wicket

1/2 ounce soda water

1/2 ounce maple syrup

1/4 Fernet-Branca bitters

4 dashes barrel-aged bitters

Orange peel

2 ounces Jim Beam bourbon (or bourbon of your choosing)


Pour all ingredients on the rocks in a lowball glass and stir. Squeeze orange peel over drink, then garnish.

It’s been a long day. You deserve to treat yourself. Enjoy!

Come see our Jolly Wickets and Wickettes at work in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, playing through February 21! Buy tickets here:

The Many Faces of J. Pierrepont Finch

Many recognizable faces have taken on the role of J. Pierrepont Finch, the window washer who aspires to succeed in business while doing as little as possible to deserve it. Read more about some of the most famous faces of Finch.

Robert Morse was the first to play J. Pierrepont Finch. His iconic performance of the role is revered by many. He won the Tony Award® for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical in 1962. He would later go on to play Pierrepont in the 1967 movie adaptation of How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.

Matthew Broderick played J. Pierrepont Finch in the 1995 Broadway Revival of How to Succeed, a performance which won him the Tony Award® for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. A then relatively unknown actress named Megan Mullally played opposite Broderick as Rosemary Pilkington. Mullally was succeeded by Broderick’s soon-to-be wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, allowing the lovebirds to share the stage for a brief time.

From Hogwarts to the World Wide Wicket Company! The Harry Potter star played J. Pierrepont in the second Broadway revival from 2011 to 2012. Radcliffe himself received critical acclaim for his portrayal, winning the Audience Award for Favorite Actor in A Broadway Play, and the production was nominated for eight Tony Awards® in 2011.

In January of 2012, Broadway went from Harry Potter to Glee when they cast Darren Criss as the new Pierrepont. This was Criss’s Broadway debut and his performance did not disappoint. The heartthrob was a major box office draw, selling out several performances and leaving the stage door to be greeted by throngs of fans. He would go on to in win’s Favorite Replacement Award.

Follow Darren Criss’ limited engagement, Nick Jonas replaced him as the young, charismatic window washer and played the role until the end of the revival’s run in May. Jonas is no stranger to Broadway; when he was seven years old, he was cast as a young Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. His other Broadway credits include Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast and Annie Get Your Gun.

Eric Ankrim plays J Pierrepont Finch in The 5th Avenue production of How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. This isn’t Eric’s first time on The 5th Avenue stage. His 5th Avenue credits include: Jacques Brel, Carousel, First Date, Oklahoma!, RENT, Into the Woods, The Rocky Horror Show and Miss Saigon. He has also directed for The 5th, helming our celebrated productions of ELF – The Musical and Grease. Ankrim reprised the role he originated in First Date, presented by The 5th and ACT, during the Broadway run of the musical comedy.

Don’t miss Eric Ankrim as Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, playing at The 5th until February 21. Critics say “it’s a big fat hit” that “had the audience screaming with laughter.” Read more and buy tickets here.

Graphics by KEVIN HARRIS, Graphic Designer

Highlights from the Rising Star Project Kick Off Weekend

Last weekend, teens representing over 40 Washington high schools gathered at The 5th to celebrate the start of Rising Star Project rehearsals.  In March they will present their own production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and members of the professional cast and crew also joined in the festivities.

Such an auspicious occasion, always calls for a “kick off” dance routine:

A little extracurricular choreography at last week's #RSP2016 kickoff 🎈

A post shared by 5th Avenue Education Programs (@5thavenueedu) on


20160130 RSP KickOff Kyle Nik Atreal

Professional company members, Kyle Carter (left) and Nik Hagen (right) had no shortage of wisdom to begin dispensing.

20160130 20160130 RSP KickOff

The mission of Rising Star Project puts a focus on community building, leadership, and love for musical theater.  To learn more, visit our website.

And don’t miss the Rising Star Project production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying!
March 4, 8 PM & March 5, 2 PM

Get your tickets today!

By ORLANDO MORALES, Director of Rising Star Project and Internships

Circle Members Spotlight: The Beguns

An interview with Shayna and Andrew Begun, Circles Members at The 5th on why they love it here and why supporting The 5th is important to them.

Beguns at First Date

Shayna and Andrew Begun
Subscribers – 8 years
Donors – 7 years

What does coming to The 5th mean for you?

Andrew bought me season tickets for my birthday in 2008, and Cabaret was our first show. We have been hooked ever since! It started as just a guaranteed “date night” once in a while, and with two toddlers at home that was much needed! Now with the kids getting older, we are enjoying introducing them to our love of musical theater with shows like The Sound of Music, Oliver!, A Christmas Story and Les Miserables. We are so lucky to live in a community with such an amazing arts and music community, and we have loved becoming a part of that through our contributions to The 5th.

What do you enjoy most about The 5th?

From the second we walk in the door of The 5th we feel right at home. We are always greeted with a warm smile from the staff and volunteers, and then we sit down and are amazed at the beauty that happens on the stage and in the pit for each show.

Why do you support The 5th?

We believe that music and the arts are a critical part of our community. Our children are lucky to attend a public school that has a focus on the arts/drama, but we know that sadly this isn’t common across the country. The 5th Avenue’s Education and Outreach programs are phenomenal and we support The 5th so that they can continue to offer and expand these programs.

What has been your favorite musical at The 5th?

It is so hard to pick just one! Shayna’s favorites were Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and First Date. Joseph brought back great memories because it was a musical production that she played in the pit of during a summer performance in high school, and First Date because it had her laughing from start to finish. Andrew has particularly enjoyed the development of 5th Avenue premieres including A Christmas Story, Memphis, and First Date from The 5th Avenue stage to their Broadway and traveling incarnations.

Andrew and Shayna live in Redmond and have two young children. Andrew is originally from Princeton, NJ and Shayna is from Fargo, ND, but they moved to the Seattle area after college and began careers at Microsoft. Shayna later left Microsoft to spend more time with the kids and has become very involved in volunteering at their school while pursuing her interest in yoga. When not at The 5th, the entire family loves enjoying the Pacific Northwest, skiing and cycling.

Click here to find out more about Circles Membership.

Interview by CHRISTINE JOHNSON, Circles Manager

Meet the Assassins: Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme

About the Actor: Laura Griffith

Laura Griffith was most recently seen at The 5th this season in Waterfall, and previously in  Carousel, Spamalot, A Room with a View, The Music Man, Candide, and more. She’s also worked at ACT before, in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. A native of Southern California, Griffith has performed in all three venues at the Los Angeles Music Center. Other regional work includes roles at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Goodspeed Opera House, Sacramento Music Circus, Music Theatre of Wichita, Geva Theatre, Pioneer Theatre, La Mirada Theatre and Music Theatre West.

Griffith has performed on Broadway in several critically acclaimed productions, including South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza, and Oklahoma! You may also have seen her on Late Night with David Letterman, Live from Lincoln Center, or during one of her three Tony Award broadcast appearances. More information can be found at

About the Assassin: Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme

Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme was a bright child, but struggled with drinking and drugs in high school. After being kicked out by her father as a result of her addiction, things turned around for Fromme when she met Charles Manson on Venice Beach in 1967. The young hippie quickly became one of the most devoted members of the Manson Family. When “Charlie” was convicted in the Tate/La Bianca murders in 1969, Fromme moved to Sacramento be close to Folsom Prison where he was housed.

In September 1975, Fromme made history as the first woman to attempt to assassinate the president when she pointed her .45 semiautomatic pistol at Gerald Ford. She was quickly detained by Secret Service after her pistol did not fire.

Fromme was released on parole in August 2009 and moved to Marcy, New York.

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

Check back next week for our next casting announcement!