Jennifer Allen and Steven Blanchard Featured in Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID in Seattle; Cast Set!

Jennifer Allen and Steven Blanchard Featured in Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID in Seattle; Cast Set!

A spectacular new production of Disney's The Little Mermaid kicks off at The 5th Avenue Theatre this holiday season. Featuring the critically acclaimed work of Director Glenn Casale, this beloved tale of a young mermaid's coming-of-age adventure is told like never before.

Previously announced casting includes Seattle's own Diana Huey as Ariel and Matthew Kacergis as Prince Eric, with Broadway's Jennifer Allen as Ursula and Steven Blanchard as King Triton. Melvin Abston, Connor Russell and Jamie Torcellini join the cast as Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle.

The 5th Avenue's production will go on to play engagements in cities including Orlando, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Louisville, among others.

"The 5th Avenue Theatre has a tradition of producing a spectacular musical treat for families at the holidays, and The Little Mermaid is no exception," said Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong. "Audiences will be transported through the magic of live theater to a kingdom under the sea and drawn into a story that, at its heart, is about family, adventure and a young girl coming-of-age. Everyone from young children with their parents and grandparents to young adults who loved the 1989 film will delight in this stunning musical."

Disney's The Little Mermaid plays November 23-December 31, 2016 (press opening Thursday, December 1) at The 5th Avenue Theatre (1308 5th Avenue, Seattle). For single tickets (starting at $36) and information, visit www.5thavenue.org, call (206) 625-1900 or visit the Box Office. Groups (10 or more) may call (888) 625-1418.

This timeless Disney musical is based on the hit animated 1989 Disney film The Little Mermaid, which was loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson tale. The show follows headstrong Ariel, no longer content to live on the ocean floor under her father, King Triton's rule. Convinced she'll only find happiness on land, she sets off to find a world where she belongs, battling a cruel sea witch and finding true love along the way. The film earned three Academy Award® nominations and four Golden Globe nominations, winning the awards for Best Song ("Under the Sea") and Best Score in both ceremonies. The soundtrack won the Grammy Award for Best Album for Children and the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for A Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.

The Broadway production appeared in 2007 under Director Francesca Zambello. In 2012, Director Glenn Casale was invited to re-imagine the show, making significant plot changes, introducing aerial elements and featuring a new set design by Bob Crowley that emulates a pop-up book. Casale's changes are reflected in this production.

ABOUT THE CAST

Seattle's own Diana Huey stars as Ariel. Her 5th Avenue credits include Jasper in Deadland, RENT, MAME and Adventure Musical Theater. Her regional work includes performances at Village Theatre, ACT Theatre, Seattle Children's Theater, Signature Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Flat Rock Playhouse, Prospect Theatre and Playwrights Horizon. Huey has been seen on TV in Leverage, The Glee Project and is heard on TV as New Day Northwest's theme-song singer. She is a Helen Hayes Award Winner for Best Leading Actress for Signature Theatre's Miss Saigon.

Matthew Kacergis makes his 5th Avenue debut as Prince Eric. His work has been seen at Village Theatre in LES MISERABLES(Marius), Billy Elliot (Tony), Chasing Nicolette (Aucassin) and Anne of Green Gables (Gilbert Blythe). Other regional credits include Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Wickham) at La Mirada Theatre, Parade (Frankie/Young Soldier) and The Civil War ("Tell My Father") at Ford's Theatre, Spring Awakening (Melchior) and Cinderella (Prince Christopher) at Olney Theatre Center. Additionally, Kacergis was seen in Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular (Aladdin) at Disney's California Adventure and Fiddler On The Roof (Fyedka) at the Ogunquit Playhouse. TV/Film: Veep. He can be heard on the cast recording of A Walk On The Wild Side.

Jennifer Allen joins the cast as Ursula in her 5th Avenue debut. Her Broadway credits include starring and co-starring roles inBridges of Madison County, Sister Act (Mother Superior), Memphis, A Catered Affair, Cats (Grizabella), Little Me, Guys and Dolls (Miss Adelaide) and City of Angels. Allen has been seen in National Tours of Ragtime (Emma Goldman), Jerome Robbins' Broadway (Ma and Tessie Tura) and Cabaret (Sally Bowles). Regionally, she has worked at the Williamstown Theater Festival, Goodspeed Opera House and Paper Mill Playhouse.

Steven Blanchard makes his 5th Avenue debut as King Triton. His Broadway credits include Beauty and the Beast (Gaston and the Beast), Camelot and The Three Musketeers. Off-Broadway, he was seen in Johnny Guitar and Frankenstein.Blanchard's national tours include Phantom of the Opera, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Camelot, The Little House on the Prairie and Newsies. His TV credits include Ed, Third Watch, Law & Order, Sunset Beat, Police Story,Another World, One Life to Live, Guiding Light and Rapmaster Ronnie for HBO. Blanchard's regional work includes performances at Paper Mill Playhouse, St. Louis Rep, Madison Square Garden, Guthrie Theatre, TUTS and more.

Melvin Abston returns to The 5th Avenue as Sebastian. He was previously seen in Memphis at The 5th, and appeared on Broadway in Sister Act (Broadway and first national tour) and The Lion King (Broadway and national tour). Abston's regional performances have been seen at TUTS, Zach Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, La Mirada, Pasadena Playhouse, Chicago Theatre, Goodman Theatre and more. His film and TV work includes Solace, Gotham, Raising Hope, Touch, Weeds, Grey's Anatomy,Chuck, ER and more.

Connor Russell joins the cast as Flounder. His 5th Avenue credits include Disney's Aladdin, A Chorus Line, and Hairspray Anniversary Concert. Russell has been seen regionally at The Old Globe (Quentin in October Sky), The Smith Center (Idaho! The Comedy Musical), Pittsburgh CLO (A Christmas Carol), Arkansas Rep (White Christmas), Village Theatre (The Who's Tommy) and Capital Rep (Gypsy). His film work includes Paul in The Hinterlands (IAWTV Award nomination for Best Leading Actor), Brand Upon the Brain (Toronto Film Festival/New York Film Festival) and Truth Slash Fiction (SeriesFest 2016 Winner).

Jamie Torcellini makes his 5th Avenue debut as Scuttle. He was seen on Broadway in Billy Elliot, Man of La Mancha, Little Johnny Jones, Cats, Beauty and the Beast, Jerome Robbins' Broadway and Me and My Girl. Torcellini's TV and film credits include ER, Law & Order, The Jamie Foxx Show, Stuart Little, Aladdin, Tarzan, Mrs. Santa Claus and Pocahontas 2.

This stellar cast is joined by Brandon Roach as Flotsam, Frederick Hagreen as Jetsam/Prince Eric Cover, Allen Fitzpatrickas Grimsby and Dane Stokinger as Chef Louis. Also swimming under the sea are Kristin Burch, Venny Carranza, Lisa Karlin, Michael McGurk, Amanda Minano, Taylor Niemeyer, Becca Orts, Marco Ramos, Robbie Roby, James Shackelford, Brian Steven Shaw, Momoko Sugai and Brenna Wagner.

About the Director
Glenn Casale revisits Disney's The Little Mermaid as Director. Casale directed the 1999 Tony Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby. Casale was brought on to re-imagine Disney's The Little Mermaid, introducingaerial effects and plot revisions that are reflected in this production. Additional directing credits include a new production ofDragapella (nominated for Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Awards for Best Production), Beauty and The Beast and Peter Pan(Broadway and National Tour). His TV work includes The Faculty and The Wayans Bros.

About the Choreographer
John MacInnis' choreography credits include European productions of Disney's The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He was associate choreographer of Something Rotten!; Aladdin and The Book of Mormon on Broadway. MacInnis was director and choreographer of the Olympic Medals Ceremonies for the 2002 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games. He was the director/choreographer of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular including the first international production in Mexico City, Mexico. He has been seen on stage in Curtains; Thoroughly Modern Millie; Kiss Me Kate; Steel Pier; How to Succeed in Business...; Guys and Dolls; Jerome Robbins' Broadway and Me and My Girl on Broadway.

About the Music Director
Colin R. Freeman has over 30 theater credits in both US and UK including: Annie, Annie Get Your Gun, Anything Goes,Assassins, Cats, Cinderella, Chess, Disney's The Little Mermaid, Forever Plaid, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Gypsy, Harmony,Jesus Christ Superstar, My Fair Lady, Sweet Charity and The Wizard of Oz. His varied concert work has taken him from recording for the BBC to conducting many of the principal U.S. and Canadian symphony orchestras including the Pittsburgh, Rochester, Ottawa, Calgary, Utah, St. Louis and Minnesota symphony orchestras. Freeman has worked as an arranger and orchestrator for Lorna Luft, Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart and Hal Linden among others. He is a Los Angeles Ovation Award winner, and Desert Theatre League winner for Best Musical Direction.

About the Creative Team
The production features flying sequence choreography by Paul Rubin, original scenic design by Kenneth Foy and original costume design by Amy Clark and Mark Koss, lighting design by Charlie Morrison, sound design by Ed Chapman, original soundscape design by Gareth Owen, and hair and wig design by Leah Loukas. The design team also includes assistant lighting designers John Burkland and Gary Echelmeyer and costume coordinator Nichole Hull. Additional staff includes associate director Michael Heitzman, associate choreographer Robbie Roby, associate music director R.J. Tancioco, assistant flying sequence choreographer Ashley Anderson and keyboard programmer Jim Harp. Michael McEowen is the production stage manager with assistant stage managers Rachel Bury and Hannah Wichmann.

The non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre is the nation's premier incubator for new musical theater. 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 www.5thavenue.org.

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