Kendra Kassebaum to Lead 5th Avenue Theatre's New Production of MAMMA MIA!, Full Cast Announced!

Kendra Kassebaum to Lead 5th Avenue Theatre's New Production of MAMMA MIA!, Full Cast Announced!

Rehearsals begin today for The 5th Avenue Theatre's new production of Mamma Mia!, the celebrated musical that features the music of global pop sensation ABBA. The 5th Avenue Theatre is the first producing theater company in the Pacific Northwest to be granted the rights to create its own refreshed version of the show, which toured the world for nearly 20 years. The cast, which features the previously announced Kendra Kassebaum as Donna Sheridan, Paolo Montalban as Sam Carmichael, Lisa Estridge as Tanya, Sarah Rudinoff as Rosie, Matt Wolfe as Bill Austin, Cobey Mandarino as Harry Bright, Eliza Palasz as Sophie Sheridan and Jordan Iosua Taylor as Sky, is supported by a fantastic 22-person ensemble including 5th Avenue Theatre favorites and faces new to The 5th including Travis Brown, Kate E. Cook,Alexandria Henderson and Jonathan Luke Stevens.

Mamma Mia! showcases brand new scenic and costume designs and is directed by The 5th Avenue Theatre's Producing Artistic Director Bill Berry. He will be joined by Bob Richard, who previously teamed up with Berry to choreograph the recent 5th Avenue Theatre smash hits The Pajama Gameand How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

"Mamma Mia! became an international success not simply because we love the music of ABBA or we love performances by Meryl Streep on camera," said 5th Avenue Theatre Producing Artistic Director Bill Berry. "Mamma Mia! became an international success because there is something authentic and true about the story on the page. The show possesses an irrepressible spirit of joy with loving, flawed characters that we can all relate to and see ourselves in. With any show at The 5th, we always begin with the script and let our vision grow from there. I'm excited to view this show through a new lens."

Playing February 2-25, 2018 (press opening Friday, February 9, 2018), tickets for Mamma Mia! start at $29 and are on sale now. They can be purchased at, by phone at 206-625-1900 or at the Box Office at 1308 5th Avenue in Downtown Seattle.

On the Greek island of Kalokairi, Sophie is preparing to marry her fiancé, Sky. She wants her father to walk her down the aisle but doesn't know who he is. She discovers her mother's old diary and finds entries describing intimate dates with three men-surely one of these men is her father. On the day before Sophie's wedding, her mother begins receiving guests at her taverna, and so the story of Mamma Mia! begins.

About the Cast

Kendra Kassebaum returns to the 5th Avenue Theatre stage to star as Donna Sheridan. She has been previously seen at The 5th in Ragtime, The Secret Garden, A Little Night Music, Company, Cinderella and ELF, and 5th Avenue/ACT Theatre co-productions of Assassins and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. She originated the role of Janice in Come From Away on Broadway following her performance in the same role at Seattle Rep and La Jolla Playhouse. She also performed on Broadway in Wicked (Glinda), RENT (Maureen), Assassins (Ensemble) and Leap of Faith (Sam). She performed in New York in Manhattan Theatre Club's The Receptionist (Lorraine) and Roundabout Theatre Company's A Little Night Music with Vanessa Redgrave (Petra). Her touring credits include Come From Away (Helen Hayes Nomination), and the original cast of the first national tour of Wicked, for which she received a Helen Hayes Nomination. She is featured on the original cast albums for Leap of Faith, Assassins and Come From Away and can be seen in the film The Other Woman.

Paolo Montalban makes his 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Sam Carmichael. He was seen on Broadway in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Pacific Overtures and The King and I, and Off-Broadway in Bella (Playwrights Horizons) and Two Gentlemen of Verona (Delacorte). His regional theater credits include Benny and Joon(The Old Globe), The Orphan of Zhao (ACT), The Unsinkable Molly Brown (Denver Center) and A Little Night Music (ACT). His film credits include Just Wright, The Great Raid, American Adobo and his TV credits include Cinderella (with Brandy and Whitney Houston), Mortal Kombat: Conquest, Madam Secretary, The Blacklist, SVU and Nurse Jackie.

Eliza Palasz makes her 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Sophie Sheridan. She has performed regionally at The Old Globe in the world premiere of October Sky(Dorothy), Kansas City Starlight in Grease (Marty), Marriott Lincolnshire in Spring Awakening (Wendla), Newsies (Katherine), Evita (Mistress) and Godspell, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in Pericles, Lyric Opera of Chicago in Carousel and Village Theatre in Jesus in My Bedroom (Autumn), The Giver (Fiona),Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat and Yellow Wood. She is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Lisa Estridge returns to The 5th Avenue Theatre as Tanya. She was last seen at The 5th as the Witch in Into the Woods. Her other 5th Avenue Theatre credits include Company, Buddy, Smokey Joe's Café, Hair and Most Happy Fella. Estridge now resides in Chicago, but Seattle will always be her theater home. When she is not doing theater, Estridge spends her time performing lead vocals and managing her band, Chi-Town Soul.

Cobey Mandarino makes his 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Harry Bright. His regional credits include Streamers (Roundabout Theatre; New York Times "Top Ten of the Year"), A View from the Bridge (Seattle Rep), Slaughterhouse Five (Best Supporting Actor nominee, Book-It Rep), Chimera (Public Theater NY),Fiddler on the Roof (Arizona Theatre Co.), Goddess of Mercy (ACT Festival), Dick Whittington (SCT), She's Come Undone and The Financial Lives of the Poets (Book-It Rep). Mandarino played Agent Rosten in seasons 4 and 5 of of NBC's Grimm, and has appeared on NBC's Law & Order and ABC's 6 Degrees. He is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Sarah Rudinoff joins the cast as Rosie. She has performed at The 5th in Wonderful Town (Ruth), On the Town (Hildy), Cinderella (Stepsister Portia) andHow to Succeed... (Smitty - Gregory Award winner). Last season, her solo show NowNowNow premiered at On the Boards and she played Lisa Kron in her play Well at Seattle Rep. Rudinoff's original work was recently featured in collaboration with composer Chris Jeffries as part of Genius / 21 Century / Seattleat the Frye Art Museum. Rudinoff is the recipient of a Stranger Genius Award in Performance.

Jordan Iosua Taylor makes his 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Sky. Earlier this season, he toured with The 5th Avenue Theatre's Adventure Musical Theatre in Free Boy. He has performed locally at ACT in Bad Apples and Ham for the Holidays, at ArtsWest in Sweeney Todd, American Idiot and Really, Really and at Seattle Shakespeare Company in Romeo and Juliet.

Matt Wolfe returns to the 5th Avenue Theatre stage as Bill Austin. His 5th Avenue Theatre credits include Assassins, The Pirates of Penzance, Saving Aimee, Aladdin, A Christmas Story, Catch Me If You Can and The Sound of Music. He performed on Broadway in Scandalous and in the national tour ofHello, Dolly! His regional credits include The Producers, Iron Curtain, Million Dollar Quartet, Tommy, The Music Man at Village Theatre and Goodnight Moon,The Wizard of Oz and Busytown at Seattle Children's Theatre. Wolfe is also the Artistic Director of Showtunes Theatre Company, which produces Broadway musicals in concert at Benaroya Hall and at ACT Theatre.

Kate E. Cook joins the cast as Lisa after recently appearing in the 5th Avenue Theatre's productions of Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. Her other Seattle credits include Singin' in the Rain and Great Wall (Village) and Bonnie and Clyde (Studio18). She has been seen regionally in Chicago, Anything Goes, Mary Poppins, Hairspray, Dames at Sea and Damn Yankees.

Travis Brown makes his 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Eddie. He has been seen at Arizona Repertory Theatre in Company (Bobby), Candide (Candide) andBest Little Whorehouse in Texas. His regional credits include Hair (Arizona Theatre Company) and Gypsy (Portland Center Stage).

Alexandria Henderson returns to the 5th Avenue Theatre stage as Ali. She was seen in 5th Avenue Theatre productions of The Pajama Game, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Little Shop of Horrors. She has performed regionally with Village Theatre in Dreamgirls (Supporting Actress Gregory Award Recipient) and Into the Woods, Harlequin in Stardust Christmas Enchantment, Seattle Musical Theatre in Working and Twelfth Night Productions in Hairspray.

Jonathan Luke Stevens joins the cast as Pepper. He made his 5th Avenue Theatre debut in Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn. He performed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Shakespeare in Love, UniSon, Twelfth Night, The Wiz, Guys and Dolls and Head Over Heels and has been seen in regional productions of Guys and Dolls, Singin' in the Rain, The Donkey Show and Hamlet.

The ensemble will feature the incredible talents of Rheanna Atendido, Kristin Burch, Clayton Cooper, Alex Crozier, Sarah RoseA. Davis, Aly Gutierrez,Nik Hagen, John Han, Jordan Jackson, Nate McVicker, Trina Mills, Annie Morro, Becca Orts, Richard Peacock, Chandler Thomas and Carolyn Willems Van Dijk.

About the Director

Bill Berry's directing credits include First Date (Broadway and ACT Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (co-production with ACT Theatre) which received theSeattle Times Footlight Award for Best Musical of 2014, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying which received the Seattle Times Footlight Award for Best Musical of 2016, and The Pajama Game. Berry is the Producing Artistic Director of The 5th Avenue Theatre, where he has directed acclaimed productions of On the Town, West Side Story (Footlight Award), Wonderful Town (Footlight Award), Smokey Joe's Café, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel and The Wizard of Oz. His reimagined production of Cabaret received awards in St. Paul and Houston and has been performed at The 5th Avenue Theatre, The Ordway (St. Paul), American Musical Theatre of San Jose and Theatre Under the Stars (Houston).

About the Choreographer

Bob Richard is returning to The 5th Avenue Theatre, where he most recently choreographed How to Succeed in Business and The Pajama Game. His work has been seen in the Broadway production of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! as well as the tour. As a director, Richard has been nominated for several awards by BroadwayWorld for his work at North Shore Music Theatre, Theatre by the Sea, and The Ordway. Off-Broadway as co-director/choreographer: Inventing Mary Martin: The Revue of a Lifetime, which was nominated for the prestigious Callaway Award and Road to Qatar!. International Tours: Legally Blonde in China; The 50th Anniversary National Tour of Hello, Dolly! starring Sally Struthers; The 5th Avenue's tour of Cabaret, which won awards including an Ivey; Guys and Dolls; Original Chinese musical called Shanghai Bund in Shanghai, China. His work has also been seen at Madison Square Garden, The Ordway in St. Paul, Theatre Under the Stars in Houston, The Pioneer Theatre in Salt Lake City, The Old Globe in San Diego. Richard has been dancing, teaching master classes and choreographing worldwide, encompassing over 30 years in show business.

About the Music Director

R.J. Tancioco returns to The 5th Avenue Theatre, having previously music directed Grease, Jasper in Deadland, Hairspray Anniversary Concert, Little Shop of Horrors, RENT, First Date, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Smokey Joe's Café and Hair. His other regional credits include Pump Boys and Dinettes, In The Heights and Les Misérables at Village Theatre, Violet, American Idiot and Bat Boy at ArtsWest and Next to Normal and New Voices with Contemporary Classics. He was Music Supervisor for Lizard Boy at Seattle Repertory Theatre and is a 2010 Gregory Award and 2011/2014 Gypsy Rose Lee Award recipient. Tancioco is a vocal coach, arranger and composer and enjoys educating youth and cultivating new musicals.

About the Creative Team

Mamma Mia! showcases brand new designs including scenic design by Jason Sherwood, costume design by Rose Pederson, lighting design by Mike Baldassari, sound design by Joanna Lynne Staub and hair and makeup design by Mary Pyanowski Jones.

Additional staff includes Billie Wildrick (associate director), Trina Mills (associate choreographer), Julia Thornton (associate music director), Tristan Roberson (assistant lighting designer), Haley Parcher (assistant sound designer) Michael Notestine (costume design assistant), Jeffrey K. Hanson(production stage manager) and Brenda K. Walker and Hannah Wichmann (assistant stage managers).

About the Writers

Björn Ulvaeus (Music & Lyrics) was born in Gothenburg on April 25, 1945. In the mid-50s, Ulvaeus fell in love with rock and roll and skiffle. By the early 60s, he was a member of a folk group called the West Bay Singers, which would later be renamed the Hootenanny Singers. In 1966, Ulvaeus had a chance meeting with Benny Andersson, himself a member of Sweden's number one pop group, The Hep Stars. They hit it off and wrote their first song together, "Isn't It Easy to Say." In 1970, the pair started releasing records as a duo and also staged a cabaret show together with their fiancées, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. On July 6, 1971, Ulvaeus and Agnetha got married. From 1972, and a decade onwards, Ulvaeus was occupied by his work with ABBA. In 1983, Ulvaeus and Andersson started writing the musical Chess with lyricist Tim Rice. A concept album was released in the autumn of 1984, and in May 1986, the musical opened in London's West End. In 1988, Chess received its Broadway premiere. A reworked version of the musical opened in Stockholm, Sweden in 2002. By 1990, Ulvaeus and Andersson had decided to write a new musical. The musical Kristina fran Duvernala (Kristina from Duvernala) opened in October 1995. The show ran for three and a half years at various theatres in three Swedish cities. Ulvaeus writes many of the lyrics for the Benny Andersson Orchestra, and has involved himself in the stagings of Mamma Mia!, as well as the 2008 movie version.

Benny Andersson (Music & Lyrics) was born in December 1946 in Stockholm. In 1952, he began receiving accordion lessons from his father and grandfather. From 1964 to 1968, he was a member of the Hep Stars, Sweden's most popular rock band. From 1972 to 1982, he was focused fairly exclusively on his work with ABBA. From 1982 to 1984, he was working on composing the music, with Ulvaeus and Tim Rich, for the musical Chess. In 1987, Andersson began collaborating with Orsa Spelmän, a collaboration which led to the recording of three albums deeply rooted in Swedish folk music, and ultimately the formation of the Benny Andersson Orchestra, a 16-man constellation with vocalists Helen Sjöholm and Tommy Kärberg. The Benny Andersson Orchestra has thus far recorded five albums and engaged in several summer tours. From 1990 to 1995, he worked on composing the music for Kristina with Ulvaeus. In 1995, he received the title of professor from the Swedish government. Andersson was inducted into the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 2007, and appointed an Honorary Doctor of the College of Humanities at Stockholm University in 2008. Andersson is married to former TV producer, Mona Nörklit.

Catherine Johnson (Book) has written for the theater Rag Doll, Renegades, Suspension (Bristol Old Vic); Too Much Too Young (Bristol Old Vic and London Bubble); Boys Mean Business, Dead Sheep, Little Baby Nothing (Bush Theatre, London); Shang-a-Lang (Bush Theatre and national tour); Mamma Mia!(worldwide) and Through the Wire and A Letter to Lacey for NT Connections. She is a creative consultant on ABBA the Museum in Stockholm. Her television credits include Casualty, Byker Grove, Love Hurts, Gold, Linda Green and she wrote the original screenplays for Rag Doll, Where's Willy? (HTV), Sin Bin(BBC) and for the series Love in the 21st Century (Channel 4) and Dappers (BBC3). Johnson has won the Bristol Old Vic/HTV Playwrighting Award, Thames Television's Writer-in-Residence Award and Thames Television Best Play Award and was nominated in 2002 for the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Mamma Mia! Johnson wrote the screenplay for the film version of Mamma Mia! that was released in July 2008.

About The 5th Avenue Theatre

5th Avenue Theatre is one of America's leading musical theater companies. We enrich the community we love with the art form we love-giving the Pacific Northwest a front-row seat to original powerhouse productions that go on to light up marquees and audiences all the way to Broadway. From the page to the stage, we bring passion and epic scale to every musical we create. With big talent. Bigger-than-life productions. And did we mention dazzle? As a nonprofit theatre company and our region's largest performing arts employer, we spread the joy of great musicals with people of all ages across our region and state. Each year, we reach more than 75,000 young people through our nationally acclaimed education programs. Programs designed to develop new musicals ensure that the next generation of great musicals will be there to tell the stories that captivate tomorrow'saudiences. On the national stage, we are a leading voice for the power of this American art form to lift the human spirit.

Photo: Lisa Estridge as Tanya, Kendra Kassebaum as Donna and Sarah Rudinoff as Rosie in Mamma Mia! - Photo Credit Mark Kitaoka

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