A Letter from David Armstrong

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

It is with very mixed emotions that I announce that I have decided to step down from my position as the Executive Producer and Artistic Director of The 5th Avenue Theatre at the end of the 2017/2018 season.  After nearly 18 amazing years leading this organization, I have decided it is time to let go of the day-to-day burdens and responsibilities of running a large theater company so that I can focus more effectively on my creative work as a director and a writer. I will be transitioning to the new position of Artistic Director Emeritus and for at least the next three seasons I will continue to be employed by The 5th as a consultant, advisor, and frequent director.

The time that I have devoted to this theater company has truly been the highlight of my nearly 40 years of working in the American theater, and no other job has been nearly as meaningful or rewarding.  I could not be more proud of what I have accomplished during my time at The 5th, first as Producing Artistic Director, working in partnership with Marilyn Sheldonn; and then in my current role in collaboration with Bernie Griffin and Bill Berry. Continue reading “A Letter from David Armstrong”

Hairspray The Musical: An International Sensation Born at The 5th

By BRIDGET MORGAN, Senior PR and Communications Manager

There is such joy in the act of creation, particularly when your creation becomes something bigger than its creators and the sum of its parts; something enjoyed and embraced by many; something that impacts the lives of everyone it touches. And that is the nature of The 5th Avenue Theatre and its role in the creation of the musical Hairspray, an international mega-hit performed on Broadway, on the big screen, on TV and on professional and amateur stages around the world. Continue reading “Hairspray The Musical: An International Sensation Born at The 5th”

Meet the Director: David Armstrong – The Secret Garden

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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 Life of A ‘Revisal’: An Interview With the Paint Your Wagon Creative Team

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Over the course of several years, Director David Armstrong, Writer Jon Marans, Music Supervisor and Vocal Arranger Ian Eisendrath and Choreographer Josh Rhodes worked together to develop and re-write a new version of the Lerner and Loewe musical, Paint Your Wagon. I sat down with them recently to talk about the process of recreating a classic. Continue reading “The Life of A ‘Revisal’: An Interview With the Paint Your Wagon Creative Team”