Complete Casting Announced for BLISS at The 5th Avenue Theatre
The 5th Avenue Theatre has announced complete casting for the world premiere of Bliss, an empowering original musical fantasy that flips the traditional princess narrative upside down. Making their 5th Avenue Theatre debuts to star as the four princesses of the fictional land of Minisculia are Gizel Jiménez (Broadway: Wicked; Off-Broadway: Avenue Q, Miss You Like Hell) as Piper, Kristolyn Lloyd (Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen; Off-Broadway: Little Women, Blue Ridge) as Faye, Katy Geraghty (Broadway: Groundhog Day; Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Hairspray) as Carmella, and Claire Neumann (National Tour: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Off-Broadway: Baghdaddy, Triassic Parq) as Holly. Additional casting includes Leigh Zimmerman (Broadway: Chicago, The Producers) as Princess Taffeta, Manu Narayan (Broadway: My Fair Lady) as The King, Conor Ryan as Prince Devin (Broadway: Cinderella), and John Michael Lyles (Off-Broadway: A Strange Loop) as Toby. They join the previously announced Sex and the City star Mario Cantone (Broadway: Laugh Whore, Tony Award® nominee) as Sir Pincus Glimmermore, the princesses' fairy godfather.
The ensemble for Bliss features Lissa deGuzman, Jose Luaces, Scott Anderson Morris, JJ Niemann, Jennifer Noble, Lena Owens, Ian Paget, Samantha Pollino, Katie Terza, Scarlett Walker, and Kristin Theresa Yancy. Additional casting includes Claire Manship (standby for Carmella).
Bliss, which is the 23rd new musical produced by The 5th Avenue Theatre, features a book, music, and lyrics by Emma Lively and Tyler Beattie and will showcase direction by Tony Award-nominated Sheryl Kaller (Broadway: Mothers and Sons, Next Fall). Josh Prince (Broadway: Shrek, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical) returns to The 5th to choreograph. Bliss showcases scenic design by Jason Ardizzone-West, lighting design by Yael Lubetzky, costume design by Tony Award® winner (Peter and the Starcatcher) Paloma Young, sound design by Tony Award® winner (Hadestown) Nevin Steinberg, hair and wig design by Matthew Armentrout, and music supervision by Mary Mitchell Campbell.
"Bliss is empowering. It teaches us to be true to ourselves, to challenge society's expectation that we conform, and encourages us to push back against the cultural obsession with beauty," said director Sheryl Kaller. "It teaches us that we need to do better, to learn and to live up to this wonderful new standard. And the music is amazing, the story smart, timely, and fun! I cannot wait to share this story with Seattle told by our fantastic, incredible cast."
Beginning rehearsals next week, the world premiere of Bliss plays January 31 - February 23, 2020 (press opening Friday, February 14. 2020). Single tickets are on sale now at www.5thavenue.org, by phone at 206.625.1900, or in person at the Box Office at 1308 5th Avenue in Downtown Seattle.
Welcome to the Deep Dark Forest, a mysterious place where fairy godfathers await to grant your every wish-"happily ever after" guaranteed. Or is it? Bliss is an electrifying new musical that tears up the rules on happy endings. In this fractured fairytale with an addictive pop rock score, created at The 5th, four wildly distinctive royal sisters sneak out of their castle and discover an intoxicating world of fancy balls and dreamy princes-and a burning desire to be at the center of it all. In a world that demands they fit in, it will take a sister's love to remind them to stand out. Together they discover that chasing their bliss means leaving expectations behind.
About the Cast
Gizel Jiménez makes her 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Piper. She recently made her Broadway debut as Nessarose in Wicked. Off-Broadway credits include Avenue Q (first ethnic actor to portray Kate Monster), Miss You Like Hell (Drama Desk nomination), Big River (Encores!), and Party People. She starred at NYS&F in Alice By Heart, the New York workshop for Lin Manuel Miranda in Jonathan Larson's Tick, Tick... Boom, and Williamstown in Marsha Norman's Secret Soldiers. She was in the national tour: West Side Story and her TV credits include Law & Order SVU and HBO's Divorced.
Kristolyn Lloyd makes her 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Faye. She has been seen on Broadway in Dear Evan Hansen and Off-Broadway in Little Women (Primary Stages), Blue Ridge (Atlantic) Paradise Blue, The Liquid Plain (Signature Theatre) Invisible Thread (Second Stage Theatre), Heathers The Musical (New World Stages), and Cabin In The Sky (Encores City Center). Selected Regional credits include Paradise Blue (Williamstown), Witness Uganda (A.R.T.), Hairspray, and Rent (Hollywood Bowl). TV credits include Random Acts of Flyness (HBO), Elementary, Madam Secretary (CBS), ER (NBC) and Lie to Me. (FOX). Lloyd is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and is a Grammy and Emmy winner.
Katy Geraghty makes her 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Carmella. She was seen on Broadway in Groundhog Day. Select regional credits include Hairspray (Tracy Turnblad), Shrek (Gingy), Into the Woods (Little Red). Her TV credits include Modern Love "Take Me As I Am, Whoever I Am" and Sing It On (Season 2).
Claire Neumann makes her 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Holly. She was in the national tour of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and has performed Off-Broadway and is featured on the Original Cast Recordings of Baghdaddy, Triassic Parq, and The Spidey Project. Regional credits include Mystery of Edwin Drood, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Annie Get Your Gun, Into the Woods, Floyd Collins, and Oleanna. Her Film/TV credits include Law & Order: SVU, Ellen, and Door on the Left (NYTVF Winner).
Mario Cantone makes his 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Sir Pincus Glimmermore. Cantone is the celebrated New York comedian and actor whose Broadway credits include Love! Valour! Compassion! (Buzz), The Tempest (Stephano), The Violet Hour (Gidger), Assassins (Sam Byck), and the Tony Award® nominated one-man show Laugh Whore. He was in the Off-Broadway productions of Steve, A Room of My Own, and The Crumple Zone. Cantone's TV credits include Sex and the City, the Showtime special of Laugh Whore, Men in Trees, Mom, Better Things, The Chappelle Show, The View and many appearances on Comedy Central. His film credits include The Aristocrats, Sex and the City, Sex and the City 2, Surf's Up, and All My Life.
Leigh Zimmerman makes her debut at The 5th Avenue Theatre as Princess Taffeta. Zimmerman won the Olivier Award for her performance as Sheila in A Chorus Line at London's West End. Her Broadway/West End credits include Chicago (Velma), The Producers (Ulla,*Olivier Nomination), Contact (Girl In The Yellow Dress), Relative Values, The Seven Year Itch, Forum, Crazy For You, and The Will Rogers Follies. Film/TV credits include W.E., Proof, United 93, The Defender, Submerged, Home Alone 2, NUMB3RS, Person Of Interest, The Outsiders, Blessed, Feel The Force, and Doctors.
John-Michael Lyles makes his 5th Avenue Theatre debut as Toby. His Off-Broadway credits include A Strange Loop (Playwright's Horizons), This Ain't No Disco (Atlantic), Sweeney Todd (Barrow Street), The Flick (Barrow Street), Brooklynite (Vineyard), Jasper in Deadland (Prospect), Big River (City Center Encores!), and 1776 (City Center Encores!), and his regional credits include The Art of Falling (Second City/Hubbard Street) and Choir Boy (Guthrie). He has been seen on TV in The Other Two, Chicago PD, NCIS: New Orleans, and The OA, and in the film Blind. He is featured on the recordings for A Strange Loop, The Man in the Ceiling, and Jasper in Deadland. Lyles received his BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University.
Manu Narayan makes his 5th Avenue Theatre debut as The King. His Broadway credits include Getting' the Band Back Together, My Fair Lady (2019), and Bombay Dreams. He was in the National Tour: Miss Saigon and has performed Off-Broadway in Merrily We Roll Along, Yeast Nation, Falsettoland, Sidd, Suburbia, Getting Home, and Fucking A. Narayan has performed regionally at La Jolla Playhouse, The Kennedy Center, Baltimore Centerstage, Yale Rep, St. Louis Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, The MUNY, and Pittsburgh CLO. His film and TV credits include 99 Homes, The Love Guru, The Last Airbender, Bull, Blacklist, Unforgettable, Grey's Anatomy, Law & Order: SVU, Rubicon, Nurse Jackie, and The Sopranos. Narayan is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.
Conor Ryan makes his debut at The 5th Avenue Theatre as Prince Devin. Ryan was last seen in two premieres at Paper Mill Playhouse: Benny & Joon the musical and My Very Own British Invasion. He performed in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert on NBC and was in the Broadway production of Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. His Off Broadway credits include Desperate Measures at New World Stages and The York Theatre (Outer Critics Circle nominee), Keen Company's revival of John and Jen, 2nd Stage's Invisible Thread, and The Public Theatre's The Fortress Of Solitude.
About the Director
Sheryl Kaller makes her 5th Avenue Theatre debut with Bliss. Kaller most recently directed The White Chip by Sean Daniels, which was New York Times Critics' Pick, at 59 E. 59 and A Walk on the Moon by Paul Scott Goodman and Pamela Grey at A.C.T. She directed Terrence McNally's Tony Award-nominated play Mothers and Sons on Broadway with Tyne Daly. Kaller received a Tony Award® nomination for Best Director for the Broadway production of Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts. Recent projects include Frozen for Disney Cruise Lines, Our Town with Deaf West Theater and Pasadena Playhouse, Sacred Valley by Josh Radnor at NYSAF, and Choice by Winnie Holzman. She also recently directed the world premieres of Billy Porter's play While I Yet Live at Primary Stages, Nick Blaemire's A Little More Alive (Barrington Stage and Kansas City Rep), Roundabout Theater Company's Underground production of Too Much Too Much Too Many by Meghan Kennedy, and the LCT3 production of Mrs. Joy by Daniel Beaty. She is currently in development on a new Josh Radnor project and Switched by Jonathan Brooke and Geoffrey Nauffts, among others. Upcoming: A Walk on the Moon at George Street Playhouse - May 2020.
About the Choreographer
Josh Prince returns to The 5th Avenue Theatre with Bliss. Prince made his Broadway debut with Shrek, The Musical, which previewed at The 5th and opened at the Broadway Theater in December of 2008 (Also: US Tour, UK). Prince also choreographed the award winning Beautiful - The Carole King Musical (Broadway, US Tour, UK, Japan, Australia). He has choreographed shows at City Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, BAM, New Group, Old Vic, Royal Festival Hall, and Royal Albert Hall. Prince choreographed the adaptation of Frozen for Disney Cruise Lines, and directed Grease at the Winter Garden Theater in Toronto. He is the choreographer of the upcoming new musical, Trevor, and is currently collaborating with Bliss director, Sheryl Kaller, on A Walk On The Moon. Prince is the Founding Artistic Director of Dance Lab New York - the only independent organization dedicated to promoting the art form of choreography by gifting vital resources to dance makers.
About the Writers
Emma Lively (Book, Music, Lyrics) makes her 5th Avenue Theatre debut with Bliss. Lively writes original musicals and animated movies with Tyler Beattie. She serves as manager and collaborator to Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way), and is the co-author of several books. She was originally trained as a classical violist.
Tyler Beattie (Book, Music, Lyrics) makes his 5th Avenue Theatre debut with Bliss. Beattie writes original musicals and animated movies with Emma Lively. A passionate educator, Beattie is the founder and coach of an award-winning middle school debate team in Harlem and a graduate of Northwestern University.
About the Creative Team
Additional staff includes Lana Russell (associate director), Joyce Chittick (associate choreographer), Andrew Resnick (music director), Jane Cardona (associate music director), Ashley Rose Horton (associate costume designer), Paige Seber (associate lighting designer), Howie Cherpakov (casting director), Thomas J. Gates (production stage manager), and Erin Giola Albrecht (assistant stage manager).
Previews begin Friday, January 31, 2020
Opening Night: Friday, February 14, 2020 (press night)
Closing Performance: Sunday, February 23, 2020
Tuesdays - Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 2:00pm and 8:00pm
Sundays at 1:30pm and 7:00pm (no 7:00pm performance on February 23)
The 5th Avenue Theatre (1308 5th Avenue, Downtown Seattle)
Please visit www.5thavenue.org or call the Box Office at 206.625.1900 for tickets (starting at $29).
Groups of 10 or more call 1.888.625.1418.
Photo Credit: Mark Kitaoka and Darren Cox