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ROMY AND MICHELE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION Finds Full Company at 5th Avenue Theatre

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Joining Broadway star Cortney Wolfson and Disney star Stephanie Renee Wall onstage this summer in the world premiere production of Romy and Michele's High School Reunion at The 5th Avenue Theatre is a sensational cast that's the coolest thing since the invention of Post-its!

Wolfson and Wall make their 5th Avenue debuts starring as the beloved pop culture icons Romy White and Michele Weinberger, alongside Jordan Kai Burnett as Heather Mooney, Michael Thomas Grant as Sandy Frink, Seattle local Hannah Schuerman as Toby Walters and Tess Soltau as Christie Masters.

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion plays June 8-July 2, 2017 (press opening Thursday, June 15) at The 5th Avenue Theatre (1308 5th Avenue, Seattle). Tickets start at $29 and may be purchased at www.5thavenue.org, by phone at 206-625-1900 or at the Box Office at 1308 5th Avenue in Downtown Seattle.

"The bright, bold energy of this fantastic new musical will be perfectly matched by this phenomenal cast. They are an exceptionally talented group of individuals and I'm thrilled that they get to be a part of shaping this musical's first production," said 5th Avenue Theatre Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong. "It is so rare to find a story like this, with two best friends at the heart of the story, rather than a romance. Combine that with an unbelievable amount of creativity from a nearly all-female creative team and you have the makings of a truly great musical."

Based on the 1997 cult hit film, which recently celebrated a highly-publicized 20th anniversary, Romy and Michele are two inseparable best friends whose relationship is put to the test when they invent fake careers to impress people at their 10-year high school reunion. This production, which is the 18th new musical to be produced by The 5th Avenue Theatre, features a creative team including the Tony-nominated Rock of Ages' Director Kristin Hanggi, a book by the film's screenwriter Robin Schiff, and an all new '80s and '90s pop/rock-inspired score from Gwendolyn Sanford and BranDon Jay, composers of Orange is the New Black. Choreography is by Peggy Hickey, who recently choreographed Anastasia and A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

Cortney Wolfson makes her 5th Avenue debut as Romy White. Her Broadway credits include Kinky Boots (Nicola), The Addams Family and Les Misérables (First Revival) and she has toured nationally with The Addams Family (Wednesday) and Legally Blonde (Serena, Brooke Wyndham). She has also been seen at The MUNY, in Up Here by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson and New York City readings of Kinky Boots and Pool Boy. Her film and television credits include Are You Joking? and The Battery's Down. Wolfson is a proud Indiana native and graduate of The University of Michigan, BFA.

Stephanie Renee Wall makes her 5th Avenue debut as Michele Weinberger. She originated the role of Elsa in Frozen: Live at the Hyperion at Disney's California Adventure. Her recent credits include Michele in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (NY and LA workshops), Elle in Legally Blonde (3D Theatricals and Performance Riverside), Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins (Performance Riverside), Fiona in Shrek (Performance Riverside), Louise in Gypsy (West Coast Ensemble), The Marvelous Wonderettes (Cindy Lou and Missy u/s - original LA company) and Clara in The Light in the Piazza (El Portal Theatre). Wall performed in Top Rock with LiveItUp! Productions and as Alice with the Mad T Party Band in Disney's California Adventure.

Jordan Kai Burnett makes her 5th Avenue debut as Heather Mooney. Recently, she was seen in the Ovation Award-nominated Green Day's American Idiot at La Mirada Theater (Whatsername). Additionally, she toured the country as the Cat in the Hat in Marcia Milgrom-Dodge's Seussical. Her New York credits include Side Show (Violet Hilton, American Theater of Actors) and Granola! The Musical (NYFringe), and her regional credits include The Max Factor Factor (Eva, New Musicals Inc.), Hello! My Baby! opposite George Wendt (Frances, World Premiere - Rubicon Theater Co.) and Falling for Make Believe (Colony Theater). She was in the original cast of the immersive LA hit, Romeo & Juliet: Love is a Battlefield (Benvolia, Prospect Theatre) opposite Corbin Bleu. She is the star and co-creator of the webseries, "Penelope, PCSA." Alongside her writing partner, Tony Award-winner Daisy Eagan, she is the co-creator of the comedy-musical Daisy and Jordan's Sunday Brunch of Shame.

Michael Thomas Grant makes his 5th Avenue debut as Sandy Frink. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Grant now lives and works in Los Angeles. His TV credits include Roadies (Showtime) and The Fosters (ABC/Freeform). He has also been seen in a number of theater and cabaret events around Los Angeles.

Hannah Schuerman returns to The 5th in the role of Toby Walters. She was most recently seen at The 5th in The Pajama Game and The Sound of Music. She returns to this show and this role after participating in the developmental production in New York last fall. She is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University.

Tess Soltau makes her 5th Avenue debut as Christie Masters. Her Broadway credits include Wicked and Addams Family and she has been seen regionally in Into the Woods (Public Theatre), Far From Heaven (Playwrights Horizons), Diner (Signature Theatre), Grease (Paper Mill Playhouse) and White Noise (Royal George Theatre). Her film and TV credits include Love and Other Drugs, White Collar and Law & Order: SVU. She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.

Kate E. Cook, Autumn Guzzardi, Danielle Kelsey and Michael Starr make their 5th Avenue debuts as the "A Group," Cheryl Cook, Lisa Luder, Kelly Possenger and Billy Christanson. Eric Ankrim, Trina Mills, Taylor Niemeyer, Curtis Schroeger, Leigh Wakeford and Louis Williams, Jr. make up the ensemble.

Robin Schiff (book) has been working as a television comedy and feature film writer for more than 30 years. Among her many credits is the seriesAlmost Perfect, which she co-created with Ken Levine and David Isaacs and the series Grosse Pointe, created by Darren Star, which she executive produced. She most recently wrote and produced a pilot for Amazon called Down Dog. Schiff was a member of famed LA comedy troupe The Groundlings, which is where she honed her comedy skills. Romy and Michele were born in her play Ladies Room, which was Lisa Kudrow's first role. This new musical makes its debut the same year as the 20th anniversary of Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (the movie).

BranDon Jay and Gwendolyn Sanford (music and lyrics) make their 5th Avenue debuts. Jay's first taste of musical success came at age five when he didn't get gonged on The Gong Show. He would go on to play drums and guitar in various touring bands, supporting acts like Metallica, Weezer, Ben Folds Five, The Breeders, The Flaming Lips, Ramones and Soundgarden. Naturally, his next step was to start a band playing children's music with his soon-to-be wife Gwendolyn Sanford. Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang pioneered the tot rock music scene in Los Angeles and, ironically, led Jay and Sanford to compose the score for the popular Showtime series Weeds. Weeds led to harder stuff (namely prison) in the Netflix original seriesOrange Is The New Black. Sanford got bit by the acting bug at an early age, attended a performing arts high school and spent time in repertory at Theatre 40 portraying such roles as Pearl in Tobacco Road, Shelly in Buried Child and Emily in Our Town (directed by Stephen Tobolowski).To pass the time between shows and auditions, she picked up the guitar and unearthed a passion for songwriting that would lead her down an unexpected musical path through noisy coffee houses, indie rock clubs and numerous recording studios. After fronting Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang and spending years happily composing score for Showtime's Weeds and Netflix's Orange Is The New Black, the long and winding road has led her back to the stage.

Director Kristin Hanggi is best known for the smash-hit Rock of Ages (five Tony Award® nominations, including Best Direction of a Musical). She directed multiple productions of the rock 'n roll hit including for Broadway, West End, Australia, Toronto and Las Vegas. Her other stage credits include the original Los Angeles and Off-Broadway productions of the pop opera bare (Ovation Award for Best Musical, LA Weekly Award for Best Musical),Pussycat Dolls Live at the Roxy with Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera and Charlize Theron, Atlantic Theater's Pirate La Dee Da (Alliance Award), Catch the Fish by Jonathan Caren (New York Fringe Festival for Best Play) and the Los Angeles premiere of Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi(Ticketholder Award Best Production and Best Director). Her film credits include Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List starring Victoria Justice, Grantham & Rose and musical movie Dear Dumb Diary. She received her masters from USC after receiving her Bachelors from UCLA in Theater. Hanggi is a recipient of the UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television Distinguished Alumni Award.

Choreographer Peggy Hickey's Broadway credits include Anastasia and A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder (Astaire and Outer Critics Circle Nomination, Best Choreography). Her work at Lincoln Center includes My Fair Lady (NY Philharmonic), The Most Happy Fella, Lucky to Be Me and The Music of Leonard Bernstein (New York City Opera). Her regional credits include Hartford, The Old Globe, Goodspeed, Paper Mill Playhouse, Music Theatre Wichita and California Music Theatre, including most major opera houses. Her film credits include Woodshock and The Brady Bunch Movie (MTV Nomination, Best Choreography) and her work has also been seen on television in Hansel and Gretel (Live from Lincoln Center), Die Fledermaus (Live from the Kennedy Center) and Beck's "The New Pollution" (MTV Award, Best Choroegraphy).

Orchestrator, Arranger and Music Supervisor Keith Harrison makes his 5th Avenue debut. His Off-Broadway credits include One Day and his regional credits include Million Dollar Quartet, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Heathers, The Secret, Falling For Make Believe and The Boys From Syracuse (2009 Joseph Jefferson Award nomination). His works has been heard on film and television in Grace and Frankie, American Idol, 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, and 2014 Radio Disney Music Awards. Harrison is a versatile creative artist with a diverse portfolio as a performer, writer and filmmaker. He is a New Jersey native and a graduate of Northwestern University.

Music Director Tim Symons returns to The 5th after previously music directing Assassins (ACT Theatre/5th Avenue Theatre co-production). Other credits include A Proper Place, Billy Elliot, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Who's Tommy, It Shoulda Been You (Village Theatre) and Xanadu (Arizona Theatre Company). Symons is the resident music director at Village Theatre, where he has served as a music director/music supervisor on over 50 mainstage productions. As a composer, Symons is currently developing the new musical Jesus In My Bedroom with writing partners Brian Yorkey and Melanie Burgess. Symons composes and performs with Seattle jazz trio Fawcett Symons & Fogg.

The creative team includes Donyale Werle (scenic design), Amy Clark (costume design), Jason Lyons (lighting design), Christopher Walker (sound design) and Mary Pyanowski Jones (hair and makeup design). This production was cast by Justin Huff, C.S.A., Telsey + Company, with additional casting by Cindi Rush. Additional staff includes MK Lawson (associate director), John Todd (assistant choreographer), Cat Girardi (assistant lighting designer), Siri Nelson (costume design assistant), Erin B. Zatloka (production stage manager) and Rachel Bury and Shellie Stone (assistant stage managers).

The non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre is the nation's premier incubator for new musical theater. Since 2001, the Seattle-based company has produced 18 new musicals. To date, nine (including the sensational hit Disney's Aladdin) have moved on to Broadway premieres, earning a combined 15 Tony Awards, including two for Best Musical (Hairspray and Memphis). 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. Today, under the leadership of Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong, Managing Director Bernadine C. Griffin and Producing Artistic Director Bill Berry, this non-profit theater company attracts an annual attendance of more than 300,000, including over 20,000 subscribers-one of the largest theater subscriptions in North America.

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 programs. 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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