The 5th Avenue Theatre Announces Selection Committee for Inaugural Cycle ofFIRST DRAFT: RAISE YOUR VOICE

The selection committee for the inaugural session of The 5th Avenue Theatre's new musical initiative, First Draft: Raise Your Voice, has been announced. This cycle is currently soliciting submissions nation-wide from womxn, gender non-conforming and non-binary folx with a submission deadline of June 15. Comprised of a team of outstanding womxn, the selection committee includes performers, producers, directors, playwrights and thought leaders in the Seattle theater landscape: Desdamona Chiang, Lauren DuPree, Keiko Green, Allison Narver, and Sarah Porkalob, lead by The 5th's Kelsey Thorgalsen and Bill Berry.

First Draft: Raise Your Voice is designed to introduce and nurture new musical theater writers from traditionally marginalized populations into a national musical theater landscape. Across an 18 month cycle, the program will shepherd writing teams representing an intentionally targeted community from a simple concept on a page through the complete draft of a show and score with an industry reading. The first cycle will solicit submissions from womxn, gender non-conforming and non-binary folx. The teams need only submit short bios and a brief description of the concept for their show. Writers need never have written a musical before, and are encouraged to submit new and original concepts not yet in development. Submissions are open here: www.5thavenue.org/firstdraft

The submissions will be reviewed by The 5th Avenue selection committee who will select 10-15 teams to be invited to The 5th for a week-long Story Summit. All submitters will receive an update on their status by July 1, 2018. During the Summit each team will work with musical theater industry leaders to develop their concept into a "pitch," inclusive of story outline and two songs. At the end of the Summit, these pitches will be presented to a panel of established theater artists, producers and artistic directors who will select three to five teams they recommend to The 5th for a "First Draft Commission."

The 5th will work with each team over the following year to develop a first draft of a script and score. At the end of the year long process, The 5th Avenue will produce an industry reading of each of the projects in a setting accessible to producers and industry leaders at the local and national level, indicating the completion of the cycle.

About the Selection Committee

Desdemona Chiang is a Gregory Award-winning stage director and Co-Founder of Azeotrope (Seattle). Directing credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, ACT - A Contemporary Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire Theatre Company, Azeotrope, Impact Theatre, FringeNYC, Playwrights Foundation, Golden Thread Productions, Washington Ensemble Theatre, Ohio Northern University and University of Washington. She has received awards including: Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Theatre, SDC Sir John Gielgud Directing Fellowship, Drama League Directing Fellowship, TCG Young Leader of Color, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and Directors Lab West. Gregory Award Recipient for Outstanding Direction. www.desdemona.org/blog/

A proud Howard University alum, Lauren Du Pree was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. After receiving a BFA in theatre, she began her professional career on the East Coast working at theaters such as The Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre and the historic Ford's Theatre. Since moving back to Seattle, she's been seen onstage at The 5th Avenue Theatre (The Pajama Game, Ragtime, Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn) and Village Theatre (Dreamgirls, String). She has also been seen on the nationally syndicated PBS show, Biz Kid$. When not onstage, Lauren does film and voiceover work, writes, produces her own content manages a blog, and works as a teaching artist. www.justdupree.com/

Keiko Green is a Bainbridge Island-based playwright/performer. She was part of Seattle Rep's 2015-2017 Writers Group and ACT's 2016 Core Acting Company. Honors: Outstanding New Play - 2017 Gregory Awards; Honorable Mention - Kilroys List; Finalist - Many Voices and Jerome Fellowships at the Playwrights Center; Semi-Finalist - Bay Area Playwrights Foundation. As an actress, she has worked at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Seattle Rep, ACT - A Contemporary Theatre, and the National Asian American Theatre Co. Keiko is currently in the process of developing the web series Maids. BFA: NYU/Tisch. www.keikogreen.com

Allison Narver is an award-winning director whose work has been seen at theaters across the country. Regional productions include Seattle Rep, ACT - A Contemporary Theatre Company, Intiman Theatre, The 5th Avenue Theatre, Book-It Repertory Theatre, New Century Theatre and The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In New York, her work has been seen at Ars Nova, The Public Theater, the Cherry Lane Theater, New Dramatists, and the Women's Project among others. Allison was the Resident Director for The Lion King (Director, Julie Taymor) both in London and on Broadway. Internationally she has developed new work with companies in Palestine and Nairobi.

Sara Porkalob is an arts activist, playwright, performer and director. She has been featured on City Arts' Future List, served as Intiman Theatre's 2017 Co-Curator, and was one of the first recipients of a Village Theatre Original Writers Residency. Dragon Lady, her first full length work, garnered a Seattle Times Footlight Award and a Broadway World Award for "Best New Play" and in 2019 she will develop and perform her Dragon Cycle at American Repertory Theater. This June, she will produce a concert version of new musical The Lamplighter with collaborators Justin Huertas and Kirsten Delohr Helland. www.saraporkalob.com

About The 5th Avenue Theatre

The 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's audiences. On the national stage, we are a leading voice for the power of this American art form to lift the human spirit.

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