Meet the Dreamers: Brandon and David

Two more cast members are dreaming “The Impossible Dream” with us: David Quicksall as the Captain of the Inquisition and Brandon O’Neill as Pedro! Find out more about them below.

molm_david-quicksall-webDavid Quicksall

We’re pleased to have David back on our stage! You may have seen him previously in Titanic in ConcertCompanyThe Sound of Music and 1776. He has also appeared at Seattle Repertory, Intiman, ACT, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Book-It, Seattle Shakespeare Company and the Seagull Project.

molm_brandon-oneill-webBrandon O’Neill

Brandon is also returning to The 5th! Most recently, you saw him in Assassins, last season’s co-production with ACT. Other 5th Avenue credits include: CarouselPirates of Penzance and Guys and Dolls. He was in the Original Broadway Cast of Disney’s Aladdin; he joined the Broadway show after being part of the cast when it started here at The 5th. Other regional credits include: A View From the Bridge at Seattle Rep; Cat on a Hot Tin RoofRamayanaFirst DateMiss SaigonJoseph… and Cabaret. His voice can be heard nightly on Broadway, in London, and Australia as the Voice of the Cave of Wonders. Find out more about him at his website.


Don’t miss David, Brandon and the rest of our dreamers in this epic, inspirational musical. Man of La Mancha runs October 7-30, 2016. Click here to find a full cast listing, more about the show and to purchase tickets.

Meet the Pioneers: Jake Rutland, Wesley and Ming-Li

Joining our previously announced cast members are three more intrepid pioneers: Jake Rutland (Louis Hobson), Wesley (Kyle Robert Carter) and Ming-Li (Steven Eng). Jake leaves his home to try and get some independence from his older brother. Jake becomes a proprietor around town, choosing to focus on business (and fleecing the miners) rather than gold mining. Wesley is Jake’s slave who journeys with Jake across the country to start a new life, aspiring to purchase his own freedom through a secret career as a milliner. Ming-Li comes to America with his younger brother, planning on staying only long enough to raise money to support their family back in China.

Louis Hobson just finished up a run in our annual ACT co-production, Assassins, in which he portrayed the infamous John Wilkes Booth. In addition to Assassins, Louis has been in a number of other shows at The 5th including Jacques Brel…, A Room with a View, Spamalot, West Side Story, Miss Saigon and Hair. Louis played the role of Doctor Madden on Broadway in Next to Normal, and was also seen on Broadway in Bonnie & Clyde, Leap of Faith and People in the Picture. His film and TV credits include C.O.G., Laggies, Lucky Them, The Man in the High Castle and Captain Fantastic. Louis is the cofounder of Indie Theatrical.

Kyle Carter WebKyle Robert Carter was most recently seen on our stage during this season’s production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Kyle also joined us last season in both Grease and Jasper in Deadland. He portrayed Benny in both the national tour and regional productions of In the Heights, and has been seen as Eddie Souther regionally in Sister Act. Off-Broadway, Kyle was in Storyville.

Steven Eng Web

Steven Eng is joining us again after his 5th Avenue debut earlier this season in Waterfall. Based out of New York, Steven has entertained audiences nationally and internationally. He was in The King and I in London, and has been seen in regional productions of Pacific Overtures, Richard II, Henry IV, Parts One and Two and Miss Saigon. (Steven has a Masters degree in Classical Acting which means lots of Shakespeare!) He has performed regionally at NY Philharmonic, Pasadena Playhouse, Huntington Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse, Alliance Theatre, ShakespeareNYC and many others. Steven is the co-founder of the National Asian Artists Project, and is a member of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts faculty.

Don’t miss Louis, Kyle and Steven, and the other prospectors, 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: Cayla Woodling

Performing opposite previously announced leading man Robert Cuccioli is 5th Avenue Theatre regular Kendra Kassebaum, joining the cast as Cayla Woodling. In this newly updated book and storyline, Cayla is one of two wives of Jameson Woodling. When the Woodlings arrive in town to gamble, Ben Rumson (Cuccioli) doesn’t appreciate the way that Jameson treats his ladies. Turns out, Cayla doesn’t appreciate the way that she’s treated either. The next day, when the Woodlings come back to cheat the other gamblers out of their money to recoup the losses of the previous day, Cayla stands up for herself and does whatever she has to do to escape Jameson’s clutches.

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Kassebaum will be familiar to 5th Avenue audiences. She just finished up her role as Sara Jane Moore in our ACT c0-production of Assassins. 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.

Don’t miss Kendra, and the whole flock of pioneers, in our ‘revisal’ production of Lerner and Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon. The show runs June 2 through June 25. Visit our website for more information and to purchase tickets.

Photo by MARK & TRACY PHOTOGRAPHY

Meet The Assassins: Leon Czolgosz

Meet the Actor: Brandon O’Neill

Brandon O’Neill joins the cast as Leon Czolgosz.  He has performed on the ACT stage in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Ramayana for which he received both a Broadway World Award and a Footlight Award, and First Date, which earned him a Gregory Award nomination. He has been seen recently at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Carousel, The Pirates of Penzance, for which he received a Gregory Award nomination, Guys and Dolls which earned him a Footlight Award, and many others.

O’Neill’s regional work includes Seattle Rep (A View From The Bridge), Casa Manana (Miss Saigon), North Shore Music Theatre (Joseph…) and the Ordway Center (Pirates of Penzance and Cabaret). O’Neill originated the role of “Kassim” in Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway. His voice can be heard nightly on Broadway and in London as The Voice of the Cave of Wonders. He can also been seen as Uldren Sov in Bungie’s epic video game franchise, Destiny.

Meet the Assassin: Leon Czolgosz

Born in 1873, Leon Czolgosz was the son of Polish immigrants. A steel worker by trade, the poor working conditions and low wages led to him become interested in socialist and anarchist ideologies. After losing his job and battling depression, he immersed himself further into the study of socialism and anarchy, believing that there to be great inequality and injustice in the American system and a complicit government.

Inspired by Gaetano Bresci, a European anarchist that had assassinated King Umberto I of Italy, Czolgosz set his sights on President William McKinley whom he assassinated in 1901. After the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, Congress informally requested that the Secret Service provide presidential protection. A year later, the Secret Service assumed full-time responsibility for presidential protection.


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

Thoughts on Assassins: Human Qualities in These Stories of Unfulfilled Hopes

I have loved the score of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins since I first heard the off-Broadway soundtrack in the early 1990s. The stylistically varied music reflected the historic scope of the tales being told and offered a unification of storytelling the likes of which I had never heard.  I was a bit nervous to see my first professional staging of a score I had loved and had strong feelings about for such a long time, but seeing this Assassins was a full realization of all that I could imagine for this show. I left feeling drained but also knowing that I had experienced an important work of stagecraft.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Assassins: Human Qualities in These Stories of Unfulfilled Hopes”

Meet The Assassins: Emma Goldman

Kjerstine Anderson WebMeet the Actor: Kjerstine Anderson

Kjerstine Anderson makes her 5th Avenue and ACT debutas Emma Goldman in Assassins. Her regional work includes seven seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Into the Woods (Little Red Riding Hood), The Unfortunates, My Fair Lady, The Servant of Two Masters, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Distracted, Cyrano de Bergerac, As You Like It, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Winters Tale. She was seen at Cal Shakes in King Lear (Cordelia/The Fool) and in the Idaho Shakespeare Festival/Great Lakes Theater Festival in The Taming of The Shrew (Bianca). She was seen recently in Seattle in Book-It Repertory Theater’s Sense and Sensibility (Elinor).

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Meet the Assassin: Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism who also interacted several times with Leon Czolgosz. She has appeared as a character in two musicals, Assassins and Ragtime, and has also appeared as a character in multiple films. Known as “the most dangerous woman in America” for her anarchist and feminist  ideals in a conservative time period, Goldman is now recognized as being far ahead of her time. She was a prolific writer, penning countless pamphlets and articles on a diverse range of subjects, ultimately authoring 6 books.


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

Thoughts on Assassins: Gun Violence, the American Dream, and The Cult of Celebrity

My feelings about Assassins, the co-production between The 5th Avenue Theater and ACT, are difficult to unpack, but I will attempt to share some of my thoughts. I saw the show right after a Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense meeting where I learned some staggering statistics about American children growing up in homes with loaded and unlocked guns. I learned that children in America are 11 times more likely to be killed by a gun in the home than children in other developed countries. I also learned that 1.7 million children live in homes where there is a loaded and unlocked gun. And I heard the heartbreaking stories of children killed, unintentionally, by guns. I left this meeting to see the new production of Assassins at ACT and I was geared up for a challenging show that dealt with the complex issue of guns in America. But I was wrong. Yes, there are guns featured (there’s even a song dedicated to their allure). Yes, there are gun shots (lots of them, and they are loud). And yes, presidents are killed, but there is very little violence. In fact, there is no blood spilled on stage. The only glimpse the audience gets of a dead man is when one of the assassins is hanged for his crime.

Assassins is not about guns, or even gun violence. Instead, it is about what it means to be American and to seek the Dream that is part of our national psyche. It is about the cult of celebrity and what makes someone famous. It is about mental illness. It is about history and all of the people, both good and bad, who make up the story of our country. But ultimately it is about humanity, both the dark and light sides of being human.

Sondheim does not glorify the lives of the Assassins. But he does humanize them. Despite the heinous acts these people committed (and yes, I believe murder is a heinous act), they are human and have the same hopes, desires and dreams that we all have. What surprised (and troubled) me the most in seeing the show was how often I empathized with the men and women featured. I have felt feelings of loneliness and despair. I understand the feeling of not being heard or appreciated. And I share feelings of frustration with government and society at large. But I don’t believe that the answer to my own struggle is to shoot someone in order to make myself heard. And that is where I, and the assassins portrayed in the show, differ.

Assassins is about a group of people desperate to be heard, but who feel lost and hopeless. The show opens with the song “Everybody’s Got the Right (To be Happy).” Isn’t that the American Dream? “Everybody’s got the right to their dreams…Everybody’s got the right to some sunshine,” sing the show’s characters. And this is true. Our country was founded on the principles that we are free to make our own choices and free to speak our minds. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But at what cost? In Assassins, Sondheim gives us 9 men and women who are lost in their own pursuit of happiness and who, in acts of desperation, commit or attempt to commit murder to make a statement.

And they become celebrities. It is ironic that the only actor from the 1860s whose name anyone remembers is John Wilkes Booth. He became famous not for his work on stage, but for killing President Lincoln in Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865. The musical forces us, the audience, to question the “cult of celebrity” and consider who becomes famous and why.

For me, the heart of the show comes with the song “Something Just Broke.” All the actors are on stage singing about hearing “the President’s been shot” and feeling all of the grief and loss that come in that moment. But there’s something more. There is also the feeling that we as a society are “broke[n].” People feel so disconnected, that we cannot find an avenue for our voice, and some feel the need to act out in extreme ways. Sondheim and Weidman are not advocating for murder, but they are forcing us, as members of a society, to investigate how and why we feel disenfranchised. Perhaps that is what we see and hear playing out in this year’s election cycle?

I left the theatre feeling sad, but also hopeful. That may sound like a paradox, but I walked away feeling the need to talk to people, to share my thoughts and to find ways to connect. Perhaps if we connect more, talk more, love more and care more than we will not feel so alone and desperate in the world.

And that is the power of good theatre.

By ANYA RUDNICK, Director of Education and Outreach
Photo by TRACY MARTINMark and Tracy Photography

Meet The Assassins: John Hinckley

Meet The Actor: Frederick Hagreen


Frederick Hagreen  is elated to make his ACT debut playing John Hinckley in  Assassins. His recent Seattle credits include critically acclaimed Come From Away (Seattle Rep); American Idiot, Really, Really (ArtsWest); Jasper in Deadland, Pirates of Penzance (5th Avenue Theatre); Mary Poppins, and Les Miserables (Village Theatre), among others.

Meet The Assassin: John Hinckley Jr.

John Hinckley, Jr. developed an obsession with a young Jodie Foster after watching the 1976 film Taxi Driver, about the same time in his life that he was first prescribed anti-depressants and tranquilizers to deal with “emotional issues.” Hinckley was so driven by his obsession with Foster that when she entered Yale University, he quickly moved to New Haven, enrolling in a Yale writing class in order to slip poems and messages under her door. After failing to develop meaningful contact with Foster, he developed a scheme to impress her by assassinating the president. He initially trailed President Jimmy Carter from state to state before being arrested in Nashville on a firearms charge. He returned home, penniless.

Despite continued treatment for his depression, Hinckley’s mental health did not improve and he developed a new plan around newly-elected president Ronald Reagan. On March 30, 1981, Hinckley shot a .22 caliber revolver six times at Reagan as he departed the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.  While he did not hit the president directly, a bullet ricocheted off the limousine door and seriously wounded Regan in the chest. Hinckley’s shots also wounded a police office, a secret service agent, and press secretary James Brady, who was hit in the side of the head and paralyzed on the left side of his body.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982 and has been confined to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. since that time. His obsession with Foster continues today.


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

Photo by Mark Kitaoka of MARK & TRACY PHOTOGRAPHY

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

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