The 5th Avenue Theatre and Seattle Men's Chorus Announce an All-Star Cast for Hairspray In Concert
Six Performances Only! June 20-23, 2013
(Thursday, May 30, 2013, SEATTLE, WA) The 5th Avenue Theatre is pleased to announce complete casting for Hairspray in Concert, featuring some of Seattle’s favorite musical theatre stars and the powerful voices of the 250-member Seattle Men’s Chorus. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Hairspray’s 2002 Broadway debut, this unique concert event will play for six very special performances of glorious and irreverent John Waters-inspired wackiness (Friday-Sunday, June 20-23). In 2002, Hairspray was The 5th Avenue Theatre’s first world premiere musical to head for Broadway where it won the 2003 Tony Award for Best Musical and launched The 5th’s unprecedented track record for sending new works to New York. Now the smash hit musical comes home, as audiences have never seen it before.
The cast includes Kat Ramsburg and Eric Polani Jensen as Tracy and Edna Turnblad, along with Allen Fitzpatrick, Louis Hobson, Cynthia Jones, and a host of additional Seattle stars. Also making a star turn is Jerick Hoffer as the evil Velma Von Tussle. Best known as his drag persona, Jinkx Monsoon, Hoffer is the winner of Season Five of RuPaul’s Drag Race and a critically acclaimed stage performer who was seen in The 5th’s production of RENT last season. Seattle Men’s Chorus’ acclaimed vocal ensemble Captain Smartypants collectively perform a host of featured roles.
“It’s been ten years since Hairspray took home eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical,” said 5th Avenue Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong. “It is our great pleasure to bring this hit back to The 5th where it began, and to let Seattle’s outstanding musical theater talent sink their teeth into these roles. We could not be more pleased to again partner with the Seattle Men’s Chorus to bring this fantastic music to life with a richness audiences have never seen.”
About the Cast
Kat Ramsburg returns to Seattle to take center stage as Tracy Turnblad, joined by Eric Polani Jensen and Allen Fitzpatrick as Edna and Wilbur Turnblad. Ramsburg, who has a blossoming career as a playwright and dramaturg in New York City, has performed previously at The 5th in productions of Mame, Sweeney Todd, The Wizard of Oz, and The Sound of Music. Eric Polani Jensen and Allen Fitzpatrick are also no strangers to The 5th Avenue stage. Jensen recently appeared as a member of the Quartet in The Music Man, and was a sensation as Tevye in Village Theatre’s recent production of Fiddler on the Roof. Fitzpatrick appeared most recently in The 5th’s collaboration with ACT, Grey Gardens, as well as in the holiday hit ELF. The two have appeared in dozens of productions around Puget Sound and regional houses across the country.
Jerick Hoffer is best known as his drag queen alter ego Jinkx Monsoon. He has taken the nation by storm as the winner of season five of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Hoffer is celebrated throughout Seattle not only as an astonishing drag queen, but as a talented stage performer. For Hairspray in Concert, he tackles the villainous Velma Von Tussle. He was a critically-acclaimed sensation last summer as Angel in The 5th Avenue’s production of RENT and has given astounding performances in Balagan Theatre’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Spring Awakening.
In his first appearance on a Seattle stage following a stint on Broadway, Louis Hobson returns to The 5th Avenue as Corny Collins. Hobson recently performed on Broadway as the doctor in the original cast of Next to Normal, as well as roles in Bonnie & Clyde, The People in the Picture, and Leap of Faith. Hobson has starred in many 5th Avenue productions including Miss Saigon andWest Side Story, among others. He is the Artistic Director of Seattle’s Balagan Theatre.
Cynthia Jones rocks the house as Motormouth Mabel. At The 5th, she appeared previously in ELF and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Other regional credits include roles at Seattle Rep, ACT Theatre, Intiman, the Goodman, Arizona Theater Company, and Benaroya hall.
A host of additional 5th Avenue favorites pack this production with enough star power to light up Seattle, including Aaron C. Finley (Link Larkin), Jessica Skerritt (Amber Von Tussle), Kirsten deLohr Helland (Penny Pingleton), Heath Saunders (Seaweed J. Stubbs), Jeff Steitzer (Spitzer), and Bobbie Kotula (Prudy Pingleton), with new-comer Camille Collaco (Little Inez.) Featured as the Dynamites are Candi Hall, Alexandria Henderson, and Sarah Russell. Filling out the cast are Jordon Bolden, Sarah Rose Davis, Tori Gresham, Jimmie D. Herrod, Jr.,Charlie Johnson, Matthew Steven Lawrence, Kasey Nusbickel, Isaiah Parker, Connor Russell, Patrick Shelton, Katherine Strohmaier, and Madison Willis.
Seattle Men’s Chorus’ acclaimed 9-men singing ensemble Captain Smartypants will collectively play a number of featured roles. Their homosexual vocal comedy is known throughout the region. They have performed all over the Pacific Northwest and beyond, thrilling, delighting and alarming audiences from Washington D.C. to San Francisco. Since their inception in 2000 Captain Smartypants has performed with Ann Wilson, Jennifer Holliday, Kelli O’Hara, Kristin Chenoweth, Melissa Manchester, American Idol finalist Blake Lewis and was Seattle’s warm-up act for Margaret Cho when she filmed “The Notorious C.H.O.” in 2002. Eric Lane Barnes, Flying House Productions’ Assistant Artistic Director, is their trepid leader.
About the Director
Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong returns to the director’s chair at The 5th Avenue Theatre after his recent stint on Broadway. Armstrong made his Broadway debut as the director of Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson (which had its pre-Broadway engagement at The 5th Avenue Theatre as Saving Aimee under Armstrong’s direction). Since his appointment in 2000, Armstrong has guided The 5th Avenue to a position as one of the nation’s leading musical theater companies, acclaimed for both its development and production of new works and its innovative stagings of classic musicals. As a director, he has created memorable 5th Avenue productions of Candide, Hello, Dolly!, Sweeney Todd, White Christmas, Hair,Mame, A Little Night Music, The Secret Garden, Anything Goes, Company, The Rocky Horror Show, Pippin, Vanities, and Yankee Doodle Dandy!.
Armstrong’s direction and choreography have been seen in New York, Los Angeles and at many leading regional theaters including The Kennedy Center, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Ordway Center, Cincinnati Playhouse, St. Louis Rep, ACT Theater, Ford's Theater and Paper Mill Playhouse. As a writer, he has created the books for The 5th's world premiere musical Yankee Doodle Dandy!, as well as several musicals for Theatreworks USA including A Christmas Carol, which ran Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. His Cole Porter revue, Hot N' Cole, which he devised and directed, has been produced by scores of theaters throughout America.
About the Music Director
The Artistic Director of Flying House Productions, Dennis Coleman has led Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus to a position of artistic and administrative excellence with a combined singing membership that exceeds that of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Coleman is active as a clinician and guest conductor throughout the U.S. and Canada. He served for six years on the national Board of Directors for Chorus America and was on the founding Board of Directors of GALA Choruses. As a UCC church musician, Coleman has conducted the choir of First Congregational Church of Bellevue since 1981.
Coleman has commissioned and premiered choral works from many leading composers including Gian Carlo Menotti, Ned Rorem, Robert Moran, Conrad Susa, David Diamond, Robert Seeley, British composer Paul Patterson and Canadian Stephen Hatfield. In 1991, the Seattle Men’s Chorus premiered Of Rage and Remembrance, a 15-minute work for male chorus, mezzo soprano, speakers and orchestra by composer John Corigliano. A recording of this work and the companion, Symphony 1 (also called Of Rage and Remembrance), by the National Symphony under Leonard Slatkin, was awarded the 1998 Grammy for Best Classical Album. Coleman has collaborated with numerous acclaimed artists including Maya Angelou, Frederica von Stade, Judith Martin (Miss Manners), Bobby McFerrin, Tatiana Troyanos, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Harvey Fierstein, Michael Feinstein, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway, Marni Nixon, Diane Schuur, Armistead Maupin, Lucy Lawless, Faith Prince, and Lily Tomlin.
About Seattle Men’s Chorus | Seattle Women’s Chorus
Founded in 1979, the internationally renowned Seattle Men’s Chorus, along with Seattle Women’s Chorus (founded in 2002), are the largest community choruses in America; and the largest gay choruses in the world. Flying House Productions, home of Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus, ranks third among the state's music organizations with more than 300 members of SMC and more than 250 members of SWC.
The SMC Mission is to entertain, enlighten, unify and heal our audience and members, using the power of words and music to recognize the value of gay and straight people and their relationships.
The SMC Vision: A world that accepts and values its gay and lesbian citizens.
About The 5th Avenue Theatre
The 5th Avenue Theatre is one of the nation's premier incubators for new musical theater. Since 2002, the celebrated company has produced 14 new musicals. To date, seven have moved on to Broadway premieres, including the recent debuts of Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson (formerly Saving Aimee) and A Christmas Story, The Musical! These seven Broadway musicals have earned a combined 14 Tony Awards, including two for Best Musical (Hairspray and Memphis). Two more have been announced for Broadway – First Date (Summer 2013) and Disney’s Aladdin (Spring 2014). The 5th Avenue Theatre is also known for its world class, critically acclaimed productions of musicals chosen from both the contemporary canon and the Golden Age of Broadway.
Unique in its Chinese-inspired design, this exquisite theater opened in 1926 as a venue for vaudeville and film. In 1980, the non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre began producing and presenting top-quality live musical theater. Today, under the leadership of Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong, Managing Director Bernadine C. Griffin and Producing Director Bill Berry, The 5th Avenue Theatre attracts an annual attendance of more than 287,000 and ranks among the nation’s largest and most respected musical theater companies.
In addition to its main stage productions, The 5th Avenue Theatre is also committed to encouraging the next generation of theatergoers through its extensive educational outreach program which includes: The Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company, The 5th Avenue Awards Honoring High School Musical Theater, Rising Star Project, Show Talks with Albert Evans, Curtain Up, the Student Matinee Program, and Spotlight Nights.
For more information about The 5th Avenue Theatre, its season and its programs, please visit www.5thavenue.org.
Special thanks to The 5th Avenue Theatre 2012/13 season co-sponsors Safeco Insurance and US Bank, and media sponsor The Seattle Times.