This page is a profile of the theatre company. Venue profiles forthcoming.
The 5th Avenue Theatre, among the largest Northwest theatre companies, is devoted solely to musicals: from the best-known shows to the brand new.
Founded: 1980s (current form); venue built in 1926
Artistic leadership: Bill Berry (Producing Artistic Director)
Primary venue: The 5th Avenue Theatre in Downtown Seattle
The below information is provided by the theatre company. (All material is condensed & edited for clarity.)
Overview: Mission / Vision
To nurture, advance and preserve all aspects of America’s great original art form: the musical.
The 5th Avenue Theatre is known nationally for producing Broadway-caliber musicals for Seattle audiences, and for producing new musicals. To date, The 5th has produced 20 new musicals, nine of which went on to have Broadway debuts. Eight of those received Tony Award nominations, two of which – Hairspray and Memphis – won the Tony Award for Best Musical.
The 5th also fosters creation of new musicals, from ideation to production. The 5th Avenue Theatre New Musical Development Program operates year-round, committed to creating a positive and safe environment that supports the unique needs of each project. This has most recently been manifested as First Draft: Raise Your Voice, which is designed to introduce and nurture new musical theatre writers from traditionally marginalized populations. Across an 18-month cycle, the program will shepherd writing teams representing an intentionally targeted community from a simple concept on a page through the completed draft of a show. Each year submissions will be open to a different group. The 2018-2019 cycle solicited submissions from teams of womxn, gender non-conforming, and non-binary folx.
Throughout its work, The 5th is committed to educating audiences of all ages about the American musical – past, present and future. The 5th nurtures and fosters talent in the Pacific Northwest by committing to offer high-quality and affordable training for musical theatre artists at all stages in their development. Each year, The 5th conducts outreach with students throughout the Pacific Northwest with programs for youth, schools, and the community.
The 5th occasionally co-produces with ACT Theatre, and has historically produced in association with Spectrum Dance Theater on productions that require a large number of technically-skilled dancers.
The 5th was built in 1926, and has gone through many chapters. Originally a movie palace and a home for touring vaudeville productions, it fell into disrepair in the 1970s but was saved by 43 Seattle businesses who came together to bring it back to life. In the 1980s, it reopened as The 5th Avenue Theatre Musical Theatre Company, a nonprofit, mainly presenting touring productions, and eventually evolving to be the self-producing organization that it is today, The 5th Avenue Theatre.
Read a detailed history of the company and venue here.
Recent and upcoming shows include:
Come From Away (Launch of the North American Tour)
Rock of Ages
Marie, Dancing Still – A New Musical
Urinetown (co-production with ACT Theatre)
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical (National Tour)
West Side Story (with Spectrum Dance Theater)
Austen’s Pride, October 4 – 27, 2019
Mrs. Doubtfire, November 26 – December 29, 2019
Bliss, January 31 – February 23, 2020
Sister Act, March 13 – April 5, 2020
Jersey Boys (National Tour), April 14 – 19, 2020
Once On This Island (National Tour), May 12 – 24, 2020
Evita, June 12 – July 3, 2020
Statement of centering underrepresented voices & stories
Does your company center underrepresented voices and stories in the work your company puts on? If so, how?
Yes, through casting and the hiring of creative team members.
Does your company center underrepresented voices in your decision-making processes? If so, how?
Other than in casting and hiring of creative team members, not in a significant way at this time, as far as decision-making for the shows in our seasons go. The 5th is continuing to define this process and to put significant effort into being better about including those voices going forward.
However, The 5th is committed to centering underrepresented voices in its new musical development program, First Draft: Raise Your Voice. Please see description above (under “Key Initiatives”) for more detailed information about this program.
Statement of financial accessibility
The 5th Avenue Theatre believes musical theatre is for all, and offers $20 rush (day-of-show) tickets for Downtown Seattle workers and residents (+guest) (weekday only); theatre artists, including TPS members; students; attendees under age 25; military members (+guest); and $5 tickets for TeenTix members.
(See discount ticketing information under “Day-of-Show & See-It-Again Tickets” section here.)
The 5th Avenue Theatre, which performs only musicals, is a go-to for huge-scale productions and a special “night on the town” style of theatre. Expect a huge stage, huge house, and high-quality production value.