Matt Seib to Lead 5th Avenue's Rising Star Project Production of 'HOW TO SUCCEED'; Cast Set!

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Nearly 80 high school students from across Washington State are gathering regularly in Downtown Seattle to mount a wickedly funny production of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, featuring an all student cast, orchestra and technical crew for four performances only at The 5th Avenue Theatre.

The fifth annual Rising Star Project is well underway, and is a tuition free program for talented teens to partner with theater professionals, receiving direct mentorship in a variety of fields ranging from performance and orchestra to stage management and technical crew to fundraising and producing responsibilities. The program culminates in a fully-staged production using the original costumes, props and set on the historic 5th Avenue stage.

Rising Star Project: HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING runs March 3-5, 2016 (with a by-invitation-only performance on March 3) at The 5th Avenue Theatre (1308 5th Avenue, Seattle). For single tickets (starting at $15) and information, visit, call the Box Office at (206) 625-1900 or visit the Box Office at 1308 5th Avenue in Downtown Seattle. Tickets may also be purchased at (888) 5TH-4TIX. Group ticket buyers (10 or more) may call (888) 625-1418.

The Rising Star Project is proudly sponsored by a generous grant from The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation that ensures the effects of this immersive experience extend far beyond the run of the show. Audiences will laugh the night away at this satire of big business while supporting the hard work of local students on- and off-stage in this hilarious production of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING.

Orlando Morales, Director of Rising Star Project and Internships at The 5th, remarked, "HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING marks the fifth anniversary of Rising Star Project (RSP), the hallmark mentoring program of The 5th Avenue Theatre. Over the last five years, RSP has used the resources and professional knowledge at The 5th to help every young person we interact with achieve a fulfilling career, a stronger sense of self, and confidence in their ability to inspire positive change in the world. The growth RSP students achieve goes far beyond the practical skills attained during their on- or off-stage mentorship. They leave this program with professionalism and confidence that carries into their chosen career path, whatever that may be. It's a great privilege to work with such dedicated and passionate young adults and to witness their transformation firsthand on The 5th Avenue stage!"

Matt Seib stars as J. Pierrepont Finch alongside Alia Thomaier as Rosemary Pilkington. They are joined by Henri Fitzmaurice as J. B. Biggley, John Han as Mr. Twimble/Wally Womper, Angelica Hines as Miss Jones, Blayne Shamarin as Bud Frump, Lydia Weir as Smitty, Erin Hyatt as Hedy La Rue and Tate Busby as Bert Bratt. Swinging tunes like "Company Way," "Brotherhood of Man" and "I Believe In You" are accompanied by slinky Fosse-inspired choreography and a spectacular professional set design inspired by '60s artist Piet Mondrian.

HOW TO SUCCEED is directed by Chryssie Whitehead, choreographed by Trina Mills and music directed by John Callahan. These artists recreate the original direction by Bill Berry, choreography of Bob Richard and music direction of Dan Pardo, who created The 5th Avenue's critically acclaimed production of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING. This student run production also utilizes main stage production's original set design by Tom Sturge and David Sumner, costume design by Rose Pederson, lighting design by Robert J. Aguilar, sound design by Justin Stasiw and hair and makeup design by Mary Pyanowski Jones.


Ambitious J. Pierrepont Finch is played by Matt Seib, a junior at Seattle Prep in his Rising Star Project debut. Sieb's favorite performances include Legally Blonde (Emmett) and Addams Family (Gomez) at Village Theatre's KIDSTAGE and Pippin (Pippin) at Seattle Prep HS.

Devoted romantic Rosemary Pilkington is played by Alia Thomaier, a senior at Edmonds Heights. Her recent credits include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and My Fair Lady at Lyric Light Opera, and Side Show and Shrek at Edmonds Heights.

Henri Fitzmaurice, a senior a Roosevelt High School, returns to Rising Star Project for his 5th production at The 5th Ave as the boisterous World Wide Wicket owner, J.B. Biggley. His recent productions include Visiting Olivier (Olivier) at Roosevelt High School, The Wizard of Oz at Seattle Children's Theatre and Kiss Me Kate at Village Theatre, First Stage.

Lydia Weir, a junior at Everett High School, plays World Wide Wicket secretary and office confidant, Smitty. She is ecstatic to return for her third Rising Star Project, with credits in Carousel and Monty Python's Spamalot at The 5th. Weir was recently seen in The Addams Family (Morticia) and Anything Goes (Reno Sweeney) at Village Theatre's KIDSTAGE.

Joining the steno pool are Erin Hyatt as Hedy La Rue and Angelica Hines as Miss Jones. Erin Hyatt, a junior at Edmonds Heights, is thrilled to be part of the Rising Star Project for the first time. Her recent credits include Children of Eden (Eve/Mama Noah) at EH K-12, bare (Ivy) at Ballyhoo Theatre, and Seussical (Mayzie) at VT's KIDSTAGE. Angelica Hines, a freshman at Kentridge High School, joins the cast in her Rising Star Project debut, recently seen in Snow White and the 7 at Langston Hughes Theatre and multiple performances at Seattle Repertory Theatre.

The staff of the World Wide Wicket Company includes Blayne Shamarin as Bud Frump, John Han as Mr. Twimble/Wally Womper and Tate Busby as Bert Bratt. Blayne Shamarin, a junior at Ingraham High School, returns to The 5th Avenue stage, last seen as Enoch Snow Jr. In last years' Rising Star Project, Carousel. Recent credits include Bye Bye Birdie (Conrad Birdie) and Shrek the Musical (Donkey) at Broadway Bound and Les Miserables at Ingraham HS. John Han, a student at Cascadia College makes his Rising Star Project debut with this production. Recent credits include Addams Family, Beauty and the Beast and Shrek at Studio East and multiple productions at Bothell High School. Tate Busby is a senior at Edmonds Heights and is elated to return to The 5th Avenue stage in one of his all time favorite shows. His recent roles include Children of Eden (Adam/Noah), Big Fish (Edward) and Pippin (Pippin) at Edmonds Heights and RSP: Carousel (Officer Timony) at The 5th.

Rounding out the workforce, the ensemble includes Tom Bentsen, Tyler Bocock, Max Boone, Emily Brooks, Sarah Dennis, Emilie Hanson, Derek Hoyden, Cameron Lee, Atreal Loyd, Anthony Lord, Javier Luna, Sophie Poole, Shalondra Powell, Ben Sanders, Mackenzie Taylor, Brandon Weglin, Shelby Willis and Ava Yaghmaie.


The production features original scenic design by Tom Sturge and David Sumner and original costume design by Rose Pederson. The design team also includes lighting designer Robert Aguilar, sound designer Justin Stasiw and hair and wig designer Mary Jones. Additional staff includes assistant director Kelsey Thorgalsen, student director Emma Hokoda, associate choreographer Gabe Corey and associate sound designer Kevin Heard. The production features orchestrations by Bruce Monroe. Student stage managers include Peter Davies, Esmé DeCoster, Matthew Lewis and Noah Sarkowsky.

The non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre is acclaimed as one of the nation's leading musical theater companies and is especially renowned for its production and development of new works. Since 2001, the Seattle-based company has produced 17 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 25,000 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 which served over 74,000 students last year. For more information about The 5th Avenue Theatre, its season and its programs, visit

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