Jason Danieley, Jenny Powers and More Join Johnny Rabe in 5th Avenue Theatre's SECONDHAND LIONS; Full Cast Announced!

Jason Danieley, Jenny Powers and More Join Johnny Rabe in 5th Avenue Theatre's SECONDHAND LIONS; Full Cast Announced!

An all-star cast will take the stage at The 5th Avenue Theatre this fall in the celebrated organization's 15th new musical, Secondhand Lions. Based on the beloved film starring Michael Caine and Robert Duvall, Secondhand Lions springs to musical life in Seattle with a superbly talented cast of Broadway stars and Seattle musical theater actors. Lead by Tony Award nominees Gregg Edelman and Mark Jacoby, this adventure story also features Jason Danieley, Jenny Powers, Kevin Earley, Jared Michael Brown, Kendra Kassebaum, Sophia Anne Caruso, and Justin Huertas. Johnny Rabe, star of Broadway's A Christmas Story, takes center stage as Walter.

Secondhand Lions features a book by Tony Award-winner Rupert Holmes and music and lyrics by First Date composers Michael Weinerand Alan Zachary. Scott Schwartz directs with choreography by the Emmy award-winning Smash choreographer Joshua Bergasse. Harkening back to a simpler time, when a boy's imagination was all that was needed to turn a regular summer on a Texas farm into the adventure of a lifetime, Secondhand Lions follows the extraordinary tale of Walter, an eleven-year-old boy sent to live with his irascible great uncles on their Texas farm for the summer. While there, the tall tales they tell him, stories of hidden treasure and beguiling princesses, lead Walter on a magical odyssey.

Secondhand Lions plays September 7-October 6, 2013 (press opening September 26) at The 5th Avenue Theatre (1308 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101). Tickets (starting at $29) may be purchased online at www.5thavenue.org, by phone at 206-625-1900, or at the Box Office at 1308 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle.

"We could not be more excited to have this thrilling new show on our stage," said 5th Avenue Executive Producer and Artistic DirectorDavid Armstrong. "Last season Broadway saw two new musicals from The 5th (Scandalous and A Christmas Story), and this season Broadway is seeing an additional two new musicals from The 5th (First Date and Disney's Aladdin). We couldn't be happier to have our 15th new musical premiere on our stage at this moment in time, and to continue the marvelous tradition of premiering incredible new shows here in the Pacific Northwest."

About the Cast:

Gregg Edelman and Mark Jacoby star as the cantankerous pair of retired great uncles, Garth and Hub. Edelman is a four time Tony Award nominee for his work in City of Angels and Anna Karenina, and his performances in the revivals of 1776 and Into the Woods. His additional Broadway credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood and A Tale of Two Cities. He is also a familiar face on television, guest starring on popular shows such as Law & Order, 30 Rock, and The Good Wife and frequently appearing on CBS series Hack. Mark Jacoby is also a seasoned Broadway performer and Tony Award nominee, with credits including Elf, Sweeney Todd, Man of La Mancha,and Showboat (for which he received his Tony nomination). The actor starred as the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera for 820 Broadway performances. Jacoby also starred as the Wizard of Oz in the first North American tour of Wicked.

Thirteen-year-old Johnny Rabe makes his Seattle debut as Walter in Secondhand Lions. Rabe received rave reviews for his starring turn as Ralphie in Broadway's A Christmas Story, The Musical last winter. A Chicago native, Rabe previously toured with the show in 2011 as a member of the ensemble. His Chicago credits include roles at Paramount Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Provision Theatre, and Drury Lane Theatre. Kendra Kassebaum returns to The 5th Avenue stage to play Walter's mother, Mae. Kassebaum has performed in Broadway productions of Leap of Faith, Wicked, Assassins, and RENT. She has performed many times at The 5th including productions of ELF,Cinderella, Company, and The Secret Garden. Her regional credits include roles at Actor's Theatre of Louisville, the Ordway, Florida Stage, The Muny, and San Jose Rep, among others.

Broadway star Jason Danieley plays the Sultan of Oujda in Secondhand Lions. Danieley's Broadway credits include Curtains!, Candide,The Full Monty (also West End), Encores! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Strike up the Band. His most recent Broadway success was opposite his wife, Marin Mazzie, in Next To Normal. Mazzie and Danieley also performed Opposite You, a cabaret/concert for Lincoln Center's American Songbook Series. Additionally Danieley has appeared in Off-Broadway productions of Dream True, Trojan Women, andFloyd Collins.

Making her 5th Avenue debut as Princess Samira is Broadway's Jenny Powers. Powers recently starred as Lois Lane in Encores! It's a Bird..It's a Plane..It's Superman, as well as Mary Kate Danaher in the Irish Rep revival of Donnybrook!, for which she received a Drama Desk nomination. She has had starring Broadway credits including playing Rizzo in Grease and Meg in Little Women. She has had guest starring roles in television shows including The Good Wife, Mercy, Law & Order, and Nurse Jackie, as well as film roles including I Think I Love My Wife and Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Broadway's Kevin Earley and Seattle's Jared Michael Brown join the cast as Young Hub and Young Garth. Earley was recently nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his work in the Off-Broadway production of Death Takes a Holiday. His Broadway credits include A Tale of Two Cities, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and LES MISERABLES, as well as the national tour of LES MISERABLES. He has starred in regional productions at Pasadena Playhouse, Center Theatre Group, and The Ten Commandments at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, playing Ramses to Val Kilmer's Moses. Jared Michael Brown has appeared in 5th Avenue productions including The Pirates of Penzance, Titanic: The Concert, Oklahoma!, Cinderella, Saving Aimee, and A Christmas Story: The Musical. He has also been seen at Village Theatre in The Mousetrap and Iron Curtain, as well as numerous workshops for The Festival of New Works.

Young Spokane native Sophia Anne Caruso will play Jane, a young girl who lives nearby Walter and his great uncles. Caruso has performed in many regional productions, including playing Annie in Annie at the Spokane Civic Theatre and Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker at Interplayers Professional Theatre, directed by Patty Duke. Last fall, Caruso was cast in the pre-Broadway workshop of FLY The Musical, under the direction of Tony Award-winner Jeffery Sellers. She also co-starred on NBC's SMASH alongside Bernadette Peters in a song and dance number.

Justin Huertas, a familiar face in Seattle theater, makes his 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Achmed. His credits include the regional premieres of Avenue Q at Balagan Theatre and Speech & Debate at Seattle Rep. As a cellist, Huertas played for the Broadway national tour of Spring Awakening. As a playwright, he is currently under commission at Seattle Repertory Theatre for his new play Lizard Boy.

Supporting the all-star cast is an incredibly talented ensemble including Wendi Bergamini, Scott Brateng, Sydney Buckley, Sarah Rose Davis, Nick DeSantis, Eric Esteb, Lori Ann Ferreri, Jenifer Foote, Matthew Posner, Nick Gaswirth, Fawn Ledesma, Ulyber Mangune Harris Milgrim, Ryah Nixon, Deon Ridley, and Indeah Thomaier. Grayson Smith and Kennedy Miller understudy Walter and Jane.

About the Book Writer:

Rupert Holmes is a Tony Award-winning writer, composer, and lyricist. As the composer, lyricist, and book writer of the sensation hit The Mystery of Edwin Drood, he received Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Original Score, as well as Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Book, Outstanding Music, and Outstanding Orchestrations. As the book writer for Curtains he received Tony Award nominations for Best Book of a Musical, as well as for Best Original Score for his additional lyrics. He received the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book, and a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Original Score for additional lyrics. For his work as the playwright of Say Goodnight Gracie, he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play. Additionally, Holmes it the author of the Broadway plays Solitary Confinement and Accomplice. This October, his stage adaptation of John Grisham's A Time to Kill will make its Broadway debut.

Holmes also has Off-Broadway and regional credits including an original score for the New York Shakespeare Festival's Twelfth Night at the Delacorte Theatre, original book and lyrics for The Nutty Professor (music by Marvin Hamlisch) at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, original book for Robin & the Seven Hoods at the Old Globe Theatre, and original book for Marty at the Huntington Theatre.

Holmes created, wrote and scored AMC's critically-acclaimed TV series Remember WENN.

His novels include Where the Truth Lies (made into an Atom Egoyan motion picture with Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon), Swing, and the forthcoming crime series for Simon & Schuster, The McMasters Guide to Homicide. Holmes is also well known for his number one hit pop song, "Escape," also called "The Piña Colada Song."

About the Composer/Lyricists:

Michael Weiner and Alan Zachary return to The 5th Avenue Theatre where they previously developed First Date, an original musical that is celebrating its Broadway opening on August 8, 2013. Weiner and Zachary have been artistic collaborators since they met in high school. They are currently developing the score for two new musicals for Broadway Across America and Warner Bros.

This dynamic duo's songs have been translated into more than 20 languages, and they've developed properties for Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks, Universal, Hanna-Barbera, and numerous divisions of the Walt Disney Company, including Disney Animation, Disney Channel, Disney Creative Entertainment, Disney Theatricals, Walt Disney Records, Disney Cruise Line, and Disney Parks & Resorts around the globe. Additionally, they have performed together at the Gardenia Club in Hollywood, The Duplex in New York, and the world-renowned Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as part of the "Broadway Today & Tomorrow" series, celebrating the present and next generation of Broadway songwriters.

Separately, Alan Zachary contributed music and lyrics to DreamWorks Pictures' The Time Machine, and Michael Weiner composed the score for Fine Line Features' Man of the Century and for the original stage musical LiberTy Smith, which has been seen at NAMT and NYMF and had its world premiere at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.

About the Director:

Director Scott Schwartz directed the Broadway productions of Golda's Balcony and Jane Eyre (co-directed with John Caird). He also directed the award-winning Off-Broadway hit Bat Boy: The Musical (for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination), Jonathan Larsen's tick, tick...BOOM! (for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination), Murder for Two, The Foreigner starring Matthew Broderick, Rooms: A Rock Romance, Kafka's The Castle (for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination), Miss Julie, and No Way to Treat a Lady.

Schwartz directed the world premiere of Séance on a Wet Afternoon at Opera Santa Barbara and subsequently at New York City Opera. Other recent regional credits include the world premiere of Theresa Rebeck's What We're Up Against (Alley Theatre), Somewhere in Time(Portland Center Stage) and Next To Normal (ALLIANCE THEATRE). Additional regional theaters include Arizona Theatre Company, Asolo, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Cleveland Playhouse, Dallas Theatre Center, Denver Center, Goodspeed, La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe, Papermill, Pasadena Playhouse, PCPA, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Rubicon, Signature Theatre, Theatre Works, Westport Country Playhouse.

About the Choreographer:

Joshua Bergasse is the 2012 Emmy Award-winning choreographer for the NBC musical drama Smash. Also for television, Bergasse has choreographed for Fox's So You Think You Can Dance. Other choreography credits include Encores! It's A Bird...It's A Plane... It's Superman, The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall, and Off-Broadway productions of Bomb-Itty of Errors and Captain Louie. Bergasse choreographed national and international tours of Fame The Musical. He is certified by the Jerome Robbins Foundation to teach the choreography for West Side Story, and has done so for regional productions at Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Barrington Stage Company, Fulton Theatre and North Carolina Theatre. He has choreographed productions of On the Town, Guys and Dolls, Carousel, and The World Goes Round at Barrington Stage, as well as Tarzan at North Shore Music Theatre. Other regional theater credits include Riverside Theater, AMTSJ, Kravis Center, Cherry County Playhouse, Drayton Festival, Contemporary American Theater Festival, TUTS and TOTS (associate). In addition to being on the faculty of Broadway Dance Center in NYC for more than 14 years, Bergasse has been a guest choreographer or guest faculty member for NYU, Marymount Manhattan, Kean University, Indiana University, James Madison University, Shenandoah University, and the UC Irvine satellite program.

About the Music Director:

Music Director Ian Eisendrath made his Broadway debut last season as the music director and Music Supervisor for A Christmas Story, The Musical. His extensive work at The 5th includes A Christmas Story, On The Town, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,Sunday in the Park with George, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, Company, Cabaret and Miss Saigon. He was music director for the world premiere of A Christmas Story at the Kansas City Rep (as well as the show's national tour) and Cabaret at Theatre Under The Stars in Houston, American Musical Theatre of San Jose and the Ordway Center in St. Paul. He has also conducted three seasons of The Nutcracker at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

As The 5th Avenue's Alhadeff Family Director of New Works and Music Supervisor, Eisendrath is a perfect fit as the music director ofSecondhand Lions. Eisendrath regularly seeks out promising up-and-coming writers and new musicals for development as part of The 5th Avenue's New Works Program. Since the program's inception, he has brought writers including Michael Weiner, Alan Zachary, Rupert Holmes, Thomas Meehan, Brendan Milburn, Valerie Vigoda, Duane Poole, and many others to The 5th to develop new material. Under his leadership, the New Works Program has created a formalized program for developing musicals at all stages ranging from writers retreats to three-week developmental labs. Eisendrath has also overseen the creation of the Writers Group, a program committed to supporting teams of musical theater writers in the Pacific Northwest.

About the Design Team:

The design team for Secondhand Lions includes Tony Award-winning scenic designer Eugene Lee, Tony Award-winning costume designerAnn Hould-Ward, lighting designer Howell Binkley, sound designer Kai Harada, hair and makeup designer Mary Pyanowski, orchestratorAlan Lee Silva, dance arranger Sam Davis, projection designer Jeff Sugg, and fight director Rick Sordelet. Also on the team are J. Scott Lapp (Assistant Director), Kiira Schmidt Carper (Associate Choreographer), Faith Seetoo (Associate Music Director and Associate Conductor), Starlet Jacobs (Associate Set Designer), Ryan O'Gara (Associate Lighting Designer), Catherine Mardis (Assistant Sound Designer), Christopher Vergara (Associate Costume Designer), and Daniel Vatsky (Associate Projection Designer).

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 15 new musicals. To date, seven have moved on to Broadway premieres, earning a combined 14 Tony Awards, including two for Best Musical (Hairspray and Memphis). An eighth, First Date, celebrates its Broadway opening August 8, 2013, with a ninth, Disney's Aladdin, has been announced for a Broadway debut in spring of 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, the 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, visit www.5thavenue.org.

Photo Credit: Mark Kitaoka

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