Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The 5th Avenue Theatre Campaigns

For New Rehearsal and Education Center

Half-Way to $4 Million Fundraising Goal for “Downstairs at The 5th”

SEATTLE – The 5th Avenue Theatre’s newest endeavor to build its own rehearsal space and education center is half-way to meeting its $4 million fundraising goal, thanks to the support of Sheryl and Peter Neupert, who recently donated $1.2 million to the “Downstairs at The 5th” capital campaign, as well as gifts of $300,000 from Ken and Marleen Alhadeff, Executive Producing Partner of The 5th, $100,000 from Tom and Connie Walsh, and $75,000 from Microsoft.

Built in the 1920s as a vaudeville house, The 5th Avenue lacks virtually all of the backstage trappings of more modern musical theater venues. Currently, The 5th Avenue does not have a rehearsal space on site. It must rent space from Theater Puget Sound in the Seattle Center House to rehearse and stage its local productions, including last season favorites West Side Story, White Christmas, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and the upcoming production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Board of Directors has authorized planning for a new area to consolidate all production-related backstage activities. This new space will be known as “Downstairs at The 5th” and will include a full-sized rehearsal hall, education center, and space for the construction and storage of scenery, props, costumes, lighting and sound equipment. It will be located below the Theatre’s mainstage and auditorium in the Skinner building concourse, recently vacated by Eddie Bauer.

“This is an amazing step for The 5th Avenue Theatre to streamline production,” says Norm Rice, newly appointed Chairman of the 5th Avenue ’s Board of Directors. “We are proud to introduce this campaign to the community and to invite participation by our subscribers and patrons. It will take all of us supporting this campaign to ensure its success.”

“We are honored to be a part of The 5th Avenue Theatre,” Sheryl and Peter Neupert say. “The Theatre is a magnificent piece of art in itself, and the magic they create each night is something we want people to experience for a long time. The 5th Avenue is a non-profit and requires support from the community to thrive – we are hoping others will step up to support The 5th as well.”

The 5th Avenue Theatre is Seattle ’s premier musical theater. In 1980, the non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre began producing and presenting top-quality live musical theater for the cultural enrichment of the Northwest community. The 5th Avenue Theatre maintains a subscription audience of more than 24,000 and an annual attendance of over 225,000. It ranks among the nation’s largest and most respected musical theater companies. The Theatre is committed to encouraging the next generation of theatergoers through its Educational Outreach Program which includes: The Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company, The 5th Avenue High School Musical Theatre Awards, the Student Matinee Program, First Friday Workshops, and Spotlight Nights. Unique in its Chinese-inspired design, the exquisite theater opened in 1926 as a venue for vaudeville and film. Today, under the leadership of Managing Director Marilynn Sheldon and Producing Artistic Director David Armstrong, The 5th Avenue Theatre continues to achieve the highest standards in all aspects of artistic endeavors and facility operations, while preserving its artistic, architectural and historic legacy. Visit

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