Robert Cuccioli, Kendra Kassebaum, Justin Gregory Lopez to Lead Revised PAINT YOUR WAGON in Seattle; Full Cast Announced!

By: Apr. 26, 2016

The 5th Avenue Theatre presents an exciting new 'revisal' of the sweeping saga Lerner & Loewe's PAINT YOUR WAGON. Featuring an all-new book by Pulitzer Prize nominee John Marans, this show has taken an incredible journey over the last five years from developmental workshops to The 5th Avenue stage this season. And BroadwayWorld is happy to report that the company has just announced the full cast and creative team.

Directed by Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong, this thrilling musical tells the inspiring story of the rise and fall of a remote mining town during the height of the California Gold Rush. Audiences will follow the intrepid men and women from around the world who take an incredible leap of faith and cross continents and oceans in search of the American dream, only to find themselves swept up in a clash of cultures, passion, greed and romance. The 5th is famous for inventing new musicals-this time we are reinventing a classic.

The show's brilliantly talented cast features Tony-nominee Robert Cuccioli (originator of the titular roles in Broadway's Jekyll and Hyde) as Ben Rumson, Kendra Kassebaum (Broadway's Wicked) as Cayla Woodling and Justin Gregory Lopez (Off-Broadway's bare) as Armando. They are joined by Eric Ankrim, Kyle Robert Carter, Kirsten deLohr Helland, Steven Eng, Allen Fitzpatrick, Rodney Hicks, Louis Hobson, Mikko Juan, Eli Lotz, and others.

PAINT YOUR WAGON plays June 2-25, 2016 (press opening Thursday, June 9) at The 5th Avenue Theatre (1308 5th Avenue, Seattle). Tickets start at $36 and may be purchased at, by phone at 206-625-1900, or at the Box Office at 1308 5th Avenue, in downtown Seattle.

"This show has had a truly remarkable journey to our stage, and I'm so excited to see it brought to life with a mix of the incredible talent from Seattle and Broadway," said David Armstrong, director of PAINT YOUR WAGON and executive producer and artistic director at The 5th Avenue Theatre.

PAINT YOUR WAGON began its 'revisal' journey at The 5th Avenue Theatre in 2011 after the company received permission from the Lerner and Loewe estates to revise the book. The show underwent a series of readings and development sessions as part of the 5th Avenue's New Works Program, before being featured as the centerpiece of the company's inaugural NextFest: A Festival of New Musicals in a four week developmental lab with Jon Marans' new book in July, 2015. NextFest is a month long celebration of new musicals at various stages of development and an integral part of The 5th Avenue Theatre's year-round New Works Program. A safe environment for dynamic creativity and collaboration, NextFest supports and responds to the needs of individual projects through writer's intensives, table reads, read/sing rehearsals and developmental labs.

"Even though it happened 160 years ago, the California Gold Rush had a profound effect on American history and especially of the West," said Armstrong. "The themes of immigration, multiculturalism, and who gets to sit at the table and achieve the American Dream are all inherent in the real stories of the period and we have incorporated them into our story for the musical."

Director David Armstrong is the Executive Producer and Artistic Director of The 5th Avenue Theatre where he has directed acclaimed productions of Candide; Oliver!; Sweeney Todd; Hair; Hello, Dolly; Mame; White Christmas; A Little Night Music; A Room with A View; Company; The Rocky Horror Show; Pippin; Jaques Brel Is Alive... and Anything Goes. On Broadway, he directed the musical Scandalous, which he staged at The 5th under the title Saving Aimee. His direction and choreography have been seen at many leading regional theaters including The Kennedy Center, Ordway Center, Cincinnati Playhouse, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, St. Louis Rep, Dallas Summer Musicals, Ford's Theater and Paper Mill Playhouse. Next fall he will stage a new production of The Secret Garden at The Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.C. As a playwright, he created the book for The 5th's world premiere musical Yankee Doodle Dandy!, and for two musicals for Theatreworks/USA: Gold Rush!, which premiered at New York's Kaye Playhouse, and A Christmas Carol, which played Off- Broadway at New York's famed Lucille Lortel Theatre.

The cast is led by Broadway's Robert Cuccioli as Ben Rumson. Previous 5th Avenue credits include Jekyll & Hyde, A Little Night Music and Lone Star Love. His work on Broadway includes Jekyll & Hyde, for which he received a Tony nomination and Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, LES MISERABLES and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. His Off-Broadway credits include And The World Goes 'Round for which he received an OCC Award, Jacques Brel is Alive..., Bikeman, Snow Orchid, Rothschild and Sons. His regional work includes Antony & Cleopatra, 1776 (for which he received a Helen Hayes nomination), Jesus Christ Superstar, Amadeus, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Carnival, Othello, Hamlet, The School for Scandal and The Seafarer. Cuccioli's television credit includes White Collar, Sliders, Baywatch and The Guiding Light. He has been seen on film in Celebrity and The Stranger. Cuccioli's original cast recordings include Jekyll & Hyde, And The World Goes 'Round, Jacques Brel is Alive..., Rothschild and Sons and his debut solo album, The Look Of Love.

5th Ave favorite Kendra Kassebaum joins the cast as Cayla Woodling. She has been seen in 5th Avenue productions of Assassins, Jacques Brel is Alive..., Cinderella, ELF, A Little Night Music, Company and The Secret Garden. Kassebaum was also recently acclaimed for her work in Come From Away at Seattle Rep. Her work on Broadway and in New York includes Wicked (Glinda), RENT (Maureen), Assassins (Ensemble/Squeaky Fromme u/s), Leap of Faith (Sam), MTC's The Receptionist (Lorraine) and Roundabout Theatre's A Little Night Music (Petra). Kassebaum's regional credits include Actors Theater of Louisville, Sundance Writer's Lab, San Jose Rep, Ordway Center, Florida Stage, St. Louis Muny and Arizona Theatre Company. She was seen in the film The Other Woman and her recordings include Leap of Faith and Grammy-nominated Assassins.

Justin Gregory Lopez makes his 5th Avenue debut as Armando. A New York-based actor and award-nominated nightclub entertainer, Lopez was seen Off-Broadway in bare (Beto, Matt u/s) and in regional productions of In the Heights (Usnavi), Evita and The Fantasticks (Matt). His developmental work includes The Hamilton Mixtape (Hamilton stand-by), Wonderland, NC-17 and principal castings in The New York Musical Theatre Festival. Lopez's film/TV credits include NBC's Law & Order: SVU and Learning to Drive starring Ben Kingsley.

Kirsten deLohr Helland returns to The 5th as Jennifer. She was seen earlier this season as Maria in The Sound of Music and recently performed as Rizzo in Grease (The 5th), Whatsername in American Idiot (ArtsWest), Siren in Lizard Boy (Seattle Rep) and LES MISERABLES, Trails and The Tutor at Village. Additional 5th Ave credits include Oklahoma!, ELF, Hairspray in Concert, Titanic in Concert, Pirates of Penzance and RENT. Helland was seen in the film Laggies and performs regularly as half of folk-rock duo Hanschen & Ilse.

5th Avenue regular Eric Ankrim plays William in this production. Ankrim appeared earlier this season as J. Pierrepont Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Select 5th Ave credits include Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel, Jacques Brel is Alive..., RENT, Into the Woods, The Rocky Horror Show and Miss Saigon. He made his Broadway debut in First Date, a production that began at The 5th, and was seen in Come From Away (Seattle Rep), a production soon to hit Broadway. Ankrim's work as a director includes The 5th's hit productions of Grease and ELF - The Musical as well as American Idiot at ArtsWest.

Kyle Robert Carter joins the cast as Wesley. His 5th Avenue credits include Grease, How To Succeed... and Jasper in Deadland. He was seen in the National Tour of In The Heights (Benny) and his regional credits include In The Heights (Benny) and Sister Act (Eddie Souther). Carter was seen Off-Broadway in Storyville (Butch "Cobra" Brown).

Steven Eng joins the cast as Ming-Li. He was seen last season at The 5th in Waterfall. Eng was seen in the London production of The King and I. His regional credits include Pacific Overtures, Richard II, Henry IV Parts One and Two and Miss Saigon. Other select credits include NY Philharmonic, Pasadena Playhouse, Huntington Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse, Alliance Theatre, ShakespeareNYC and many more. Additionally, Eng is the co-founder of the National Asian Artists Project and a member of the faculty at NYU Tisch.

Seattle actor Allen Fitzpatrick returns to The 5th as Jameson. He has been seen in over forty appearances on Seattle stages with 21 productions at The 5th Avenue including Sweeney in Sweeney Todd and J.B. Biggley in How to Succeed. His ten Broadway shows include LES MISERABLES, 42nd Street, Driving Miss Daisy, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Passion, Memphis, Sweet Smell of Success and Damn Yankees. Additionally, Fitzpatrick is Artistic Director of the Icicle Creek Theatre Festival.

Rodney Hicks appears as H. Ford in this production. He was previously seen at The 5th in Hair. His Broadway credits include the upcoming Come from Away, Scottsboro Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar and RENT. His select Off-Broadway work includes Scottsboro Boys, Jacques Brel is Alive..., From My Hometown and RENT. Among his regional work is Come from Away, Scottsboro Boys, The Mountaintop, Big River and King Lear. Hicks has appeared on TV in Leverage, Grimm, Law & Order: CI and Hope & Faith. He is also a playwright and creator of NC-17 and PS BKLYN.

Louis Hobson returns to The 5th as Jake. His recent 5th Avenue credits include Assassins, Jacques Brel is Alive..., A Room with a View, Spamalot, West Side Story, Miss Saigon and Hair. Hobson was seen on Broadway in Next to Normal (2010 Pulitzer Prize), Bonnie & Clyde, Leap of Faith and People in the Picture. His film/TV credits include C.O.G. (Sundance 2013), Laggies (Sundance 2014), Lucky Them (TIFF 2014), The Man in the High Castle (Amazon) and Captain Fantastic (Sundance 2016).

Mikko Juan makes his 5th Avenue debut as Guang-Li in this production. He is currently a student in the University of Washington's new Musical Theater Program and will graduate in the spring of 2017.

Eli Lotz joins the cast as Craig in this production. His 5th Avenue credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver! and The Rising Star Project: Spamalot. Other local credits include A Christmas Carol at ACT Theatre and involvement in over 30 shows at Edmonds Heights K-12.

Also staking their claim as the citizens of Rumson City are Kyle Bernbach, Jared Michael Brown, Ethan Carpenter, Taryn Darr, Sarah Rose Davis, Van Dijk, Eric Esteb, Paul Flanagan, Ulyber Mangune, Trina Mills, Aaron Shanks, Nicholas Tarabini, Brenna Wagner, and Carolyn Willems van Dijk.

Alan Jay Lerner wrote the original book and lyrics for PAINT YOUR WAGON. He was born in New York in 1918. In 1942, Lerner wrote his first musical with Frederick Loewe called Life of the Party; in 1943, they wrote their first Broadway musical, What's Up? The team went on to write The Day Before Spring in 1945, followed by their first hit, Brigadoon, in 1947. Lerner wrote the libretto for An American in Paris, the first musical film to win an Oscar. Lerner and Loewe teamed up again in the 1950s to write PAINT YOUR WAGON, the mega-hit My Fair Lady, the film Gigi (winner of nine Oscars, including Best Picture) and Camelot in 1960. After the retirement of Frederick Loewe, Lerner went on to write On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and Carmelina with Burton Lane, Coco with André Previn, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with Leonard Bernstein and Dance a Little Closer with Charles Strouse. Lerner and Loewe reunited in 1973 to provide Broadway with a stage version of Gigi. Alan Jay Lerner died in 1986 at the age of 67.

Frederick Loewe wrote the music for PAINT YOUR WAGON. Loewe was born in Vienna in 1901. A child piano prodigy at age four, he made his concert debut with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra at age 13. After arriving in America in 1930, Loewe wandered about in such odd jobs as cowpunching in Montana, gold prospecting in Colorado and saloon hall piano playing everywhere. In 1942, on the brink of establishing himself as a composer of popular songs, Loewe approached Alan Jay Lerner at a club in New York and said he would like to collaborate with him on a musical show. The two went on to enjoy a notable partnership that lasted 18 years, resulting in the musicals Brigadoon, PAINT YOUR WAGON, My Fair Lady and Camelot. In 1961 Loewe retired to the French Riviera until 10 years later, when Lerner persuaded him to write the score for a musical film based on The Little Prince, followed by creating new music for Lerner's expanded book and lyrics for the 1973 Broadway version of Gigi. Frederick Loewe died February 14, 1988, at the age of 88 in Palm Springs, California.

Jon Marans created the new book for The 5th Avenue's Production of PAINT YOUR WAGON. Maran's plays include Old Wicked Songs, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama which ran for a season off-Broadway, in London's West End starring Bob Hoskins and has been produced throughout the U.S. and in over a dozen countries; The Temperamentals which ran for over eight months Off-Broadway and was nominated for the Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding New Off-Broadway play; A Strange and Separate People; A Raw Space; Jumping for Joy; the book to the musical Legacy; book and lyrics to The Irrationals. In film, Marans and Yuri Sivo were hired by Universal Pictures/Tribeca Productions to write a political/war screenplay based on Roy Rowan's acclaimed book Chasing the Dragon. In television, Marans was a writer/lyricist for the 1991 New Carol Burnett Show on CBS. The Temperamentals and Old Wicked Songs are currently in film development. Marans is a recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Josh Rhodes' choreography has been featured on film, television, and in theaters all across the country. He recently choreographed the new Broadway musical Bright Star, written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. Rhodes' other Broadway credits include Cinderella, First Date and It Shoulda Been You. His work has been seen across the country at The Kennedy Center, Broadway Playhouse in Chicago, Paper Mill Playhouse and The Old Globe amongst many others. At the Old Globe in San Diego, Rhodes directed Ken Ludwig's play Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. Rhodes choreographed Sweeney Todd starring Emma Thompson and Sondheim: The Birthday Concert, both winning the Emmy award for Outstanding Program. His acclaimed work on Company starring Neil Patrick Harris was seen in the film and stage version and was featured on the 2011 Tony Awards.

Music director Ian Eisendrath is the Music Supervisor and Ahadeff Family Director of New Work whose 5th Avenue credits include Carousel; A Room With a View; Secondhand Lions; Disney's Aladdin; A Christmas Story The Musical; Vanities; Oklahoma!; On the Town; Sunday in the Park With George; Cabaret; Into the Woods; West Side Story; Company; Sweeney Todd and Miss Saigon. His work was seen on Broadway and the national tour of A Christmas Story. Eisendrath's regional credits include Come From Away (La Jolla Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre), Cabaret (TUTS, Ordway, American Musical Theater of San Jose), Miss Saigon (Casa Mañana), multiple new musicals at the Banff Centre for the Arts, The Nutcracker and Susan Stroman's Take Five (More or Less) at PNB. His upcoming work includes Come From Away (Broadway, D.C. and Toronto). He has taught musical theater performance at the University of Washington and is a member of the festival selection committee for the National Alliance of Musical Theatre. Eisendrath holds a degree in conducting music theater and choral repertoire from the University of Michigan.

The creative team includes August Eriksmoen (orchestrator), Jason Sherwood (scenic design), David C. Woolard (costume design), Tom Sturge (lighting design), Justin Stasiw (sound design), Mary Pyanowski Jones (hair and makeup design), Jason DeBord (dance arranger), and Ian Eisendrath and Albert Evans (new song arrangers).

Additional staff includes Adam Quinn (associate director), Chris Ranney (associate music director), Lee Wilkins (assistant choreographer), Tristan Roberson (assistant lighting designer), Siri Nelson (costume design assistant), Kevin Heard (associate sound designer), David Hsieh (dialect coach), Alyssa Keene (dialect coach) and Zach Redler and Ryan Driscoll (music preparation). The stage management staff includes Amy Gornet (production stage manager), Rachel Bury (assistant stage manager) and Rachael Dorman (assistant stage manager).

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. For more information about The 5th Avenue Theatre, its season and its programs, visit

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