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Four short-form musical offerings by The 5th's Rising Star Project teens will be streamed on May 21 & 22 at 7 PM..


In the midst of an historic global interruption of daily living by the COVID-19 pandemic, the students of The 5th Avenue Theatre's Rising Star Project will present four original short-form musicals that reflect on the highs and lows of living through 2020 and 2021.

Based on original podcasts and photojournalism projects by the students of KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media Program, these new musicals will be live streamed on May 21 and 22 at 7 PM. Those interested in attending this FREE digital event may register at The 5th Avenue Theatre's Crowdcast page:

Post-performance discussions will delve into the student narratives that the musicals explore and allow audiences to join the dialogue about issues important and relevant to young people. Rising Star Project is made possible by a generous grant from The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation.

This event will be the culmination of eight months of collaboration between 36 Rising Star Project and RadioActive Youth Media teens, working together to create, produce, and present these new musicals. The format is inspired by 21 Chump Street, a 2014 Lin-Manuel Miranda mini-musical based on a 2012 NPR This American Life episode, as well as the interview-devised storytelling that shaped the Broadway sensation Come From Away.

This year's Rising Star Project writing teams have adapted four 2020 RadioActive feature stories and one standalone song-a-logue. With topics ranging from the anxiety and stress one teen feels as she shops for groceries for her family early in the pandemic to a fantastical encounter between an aspiring young reporter/YouTuber and an old-fashioned rural cowboy that results in an unlikely friendship, RadioActive Musicals Volume 2 is at turns a profound and profoundly funny musical journey.

The Rising Star Project students have taken on roles as writers, composers and lyricists; directors and music directors; stage managers; actors; marketing and public relations administrators; and producers. Participants have spent more than 100 hours learning from and being mentored by musical theater professionals.

Established in 2012, Rising Star Project is a series of tuition-free theater education programming that uses the resources and professional knowledge that exist at The 5th Avenue Theatre to help every young person achieve a fulfilling career, a stronger sense of self, and confidence in their ability to inspire positive change in the world.

Founded in 2003, KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media Program works with 600-800 youth each year in the Puget Sound region to offer exposure to journalism mentorship, and hands-on paid media production experience so they can tell their own stories.

About RadioActive Musicals: Volume 2

  • Clean-Up On Aisle COVID-19
    Book: Irene Ellis
    Music & Lyrics: Lydia Hayes
    Inspired by "This Kent Teen Grocery Shops For Her Family. It's an Anxiety-Ridden Experience by Marian Mohamed
    Marian, a teen struggling with anxiety, is determined to protect her family from COVID-19 and manage the grocery shopping on her own. As the store becomes more and more crowded, her mission to restock gloves and popsicles begins to feel more like mission impossible...

  • The Other Side of the Glass
    Book: Lachlan Swanson
    Music & Lyrics: Coleman Hunter
    Inspired by Outside Looking In: Photos of Families During COVID-19 Quarantine by Jadenne Radoc Cabahug
    Dave Alton never really understood how to connect with others. But as the pandemic drives the world deeper into isolation, Dave finds himself coming out of his shell and building new relationships with his neighbors through their windows.

  • Far From The Range
    Book, Music & Lyrics: Henry Roseman
    Additional Lyrics: Thawdawaing Helmstetter
    Inspired by Spurned. A Podcast About an Outcast Cowboy by Joshua Fernandes, Lucas Galarneau, and Morgen White
    Elise Cresswell is an aspiring journalist and YouTuber set on making her mark on the world. Determined to go viral, she chases a story about an old-world cowboy to the small town of Shipton-but discovers a man more like herself than she could have expected.

  • A Sign to Say "I Love You"
    Book, Music & Lyrics: Thawdawaing Helmstetter
    Additional Music: Henry Roseman
    Inspired by Signs of the Times: Messages that Popped Up Across Greater Seattle that Convey Life in Lockdown by Paul Kiefer
    The pandemic has some real consequences for romance-particularly for Nora, a nurse, and Darius, her immunocompromised partner. As the weight and risk of Nora's job pulls them further apart, Darius looks for the ways to remind her they are in this together.

  • Song-o-logue

Music & Lyrics: Thawdawaing Helmstetter

Inspired by 'Gracias Por Todo.' Delivering Food During The Pandemic Was Worth It To Hear My Mom Say These Words by Luis Hernandez Vargas

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