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Musical Theatre Productions From 1985 to Current

by Elizabeth Guenzler

The captions and anecdotes below are just that and all opinions are mine alone. While I have a large theatrical knowledge, this is not in any way meant to be details on the show, its creative team or cast.

This was the show that changed my life. A revival of the 1936 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical "On Your Toes" with original choreography by George Balanchine. My Aunt Pauline and Uncle Clive took my parents and I to the West End for the first time during one of our summer holidays in England in 1985. This was at the Palace Theatre which was owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber. At that time, I had no idea who he was!

I have a very good memory for names and dates, and learnt later that Tim Flavin, the male lead, was the first American actor to be presented with the Laurence Olivier Award {the British version of the Tony Awards} in 1984 for his performance.

Following this, each Christmas and birthday, Pauline would send me books, cast recordings and soundtracks which started my theatrical collection. I started acquiring tapes, LPs (and later CDs) myself, as well as theatre reference books and still add to them today.

A 1988 field trip with the St. Margaret's School Drama Class to Vancouver, British Columbia was to see "Cats" at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. This was when I learnt that there was not only the program but a souvenir brochure of the show. From this point on, I would always buy the souvenir brochure when available.

My mother and I went to England in 1989 for the last couple of weeks of my grandmother's life. Even though this was a sad time for all, we decided that she would have wanted us to enjoy a theatrical performance. The Black Cat Rhythm Band with special guest Jacqueline Dankworth was performing at nearby Hever Castle and the evening was exactly what myself, Mother, Pauline and Clive needed.

The next time my parents and I were in England was 1992 and we saw Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1984 hit "Starlight Express" at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. This was an incredible show as it was all performed on roller skates and the theatre had been renovated to have the show not just on the stage in front of us but all around.

The second Lloyd Webber show and the second at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre was "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" in 1993. One of the ladies I worked for in the British Columbia Ministry of Municipal Affairs had a connection to this show. Her brother was in the original 1968 cast of the show when it was just an end-of-school piece penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Another trip to Vancouver with Mother and a family friend to see "Phantom of The Opera" in September 1993.

In 1994, I made my first solo trip to England. I spent a day in London and visited Dress Circle, the theatre shop that sold theatrical merchandise, recordings, programs and other memorabelia. I came away with several additions to my collection. The historic and famous Theatre Royal Drury Lane was offering guided tours of the theatre and I took an afternoon tour and purchased a T-shirt.

Pauline and Clive took me to see the all-dancing "Hot Shoe Shuffle" during my visit in 1994.

April 1995 was my first visit to Seattle (and any part of the United States). Family friends and I visited the Paramount Theatre to see Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schoenberg's hit show "Miss Saigon".

Back to England in August 1995 where Pauline and Clive took my parents and I to see the Gershwin compilation musical "Crazy For You". Much to my surprise, there was a familiar name in the cast - Tim Flavin - whom we had seen ten years earlier in "On Your Toes". We spent a day in London and while Mother and Father shopped, I took another Theatre Royal Drury Lane tour and wore the T-shirt I bought previously. I was then mistaken for a tour guide, much to my enjoyment.

Up until 1996, Vancouver had just one theatre. Then the Ford Centre for the Peforming Arts was built and the revival of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's 1927 musical "Show Boat" was the first musical to play there. I took a day trip to Vancouver to see this show.

Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's musical "Ragtime" was the second show to be peformed at the Ford Centre, this in 1998. The theatre also had a store on the lower level which sold theatre merchandise and cast recordings. Needless to say, I came away with some purchases.

I made a trip to Bellingham, Washington and their unique Mount Baker Theatre to see "Crazy For You" in 2001.

My first trip to Arizona with my friend Bob included Irving Berlin's "Annie Get Your Gun" at the Sundome in Sun City West in 2002.

Bob visited Seattle and we attended a performance of Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man" at the Paramount Theatre in June 2002.

Theatre continued that summer with a trip to Vancouver for "Cats" at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Since Bob has relatives in Arizona, he and I made several trips over the years to Phoenix, Scottsdale and area. Gammage Auditorium is the location for the Broadway Across America series in Arizona and hosted Mel Brooks' musical "The Producers" in 2002.

The Ford Centre was the venue for us at the beginning of 2004 to see the revival of the 1933 Harry Warren and Al Dubin musical "42nd Street".

A birthday trip to Scottsdale was not complete without seeing "Show Boat" at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa.

A unique locale for a musical to be performed was the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix. In 2004, Bob and I saw Bob Fosse's musical "Chicago".

The Bob Fosse retrospective musical "Fosse" played at the Ford Centre, now known as The Centre, in Vancouver in spring 2004.

"Hairspray", the 2002 musical by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, that had its premiere in Seattle and later won the Tony Award for Best Musical, played Gammage Auditorium in Tempe in 2004.

"Yankee Doodle Dandy" was a special show for me. Not only was it the first show we saw at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre, but was also directed by the then Executive Director, David Armstrong. He would go on to lead the 5th for many years and take over a dozen shows to Broadway, where two of them won the Tony for Best Musical.

A trip to San Fransisco over Memorial Day weekend in 2004 gave us the opportunity to see Julie Taymor's musical "The Lion King". We were very impressed at the cleverness of the choreography and scenery.

A summer trip to Phoenix included Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's show "Oklahoma!" at Gammage Auditorium.

My first time in Illinois over Independence Day week 2004 included a visit to Oakbrook Terrace and the dinner and theatre combination at Drury Lane Theatre to see Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick's 1964 show "Fiddler On The Roof".

A trip to Chicago the following month coincided with "The King and I" playing at the Auditorium Theatre.

George and Ira Gershwin's 1931 musical "Of Thee I Sing" was playing at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace in October 2004. It was the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schoenberg's 1985 smash musical "Les Miserables" was playing at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver in November 2004. This was one of the few times that I mixed railways and theatre in the same trip since there was a model railway show that weekend also.

We visited San Diego over Thanksgiving weekend and made "Crazy For You" part of the trip. It was as fantastic as the first time I had seen it in London a few years before.

A trip to Phoenix around my birthday in 2005 included "The Lion King" at Gammage Auditorium.

A second trip to Phoenix in early 2005 was for Leonard Bernstein's "Gypsy" at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa.

Bob and I saw Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1981 musical "Cats" at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver in 2005.

The second time for me to see "Miss Saigon" was in 2005 when the 5th Avenue Theatre mounted the show as part of their 2005-2006 season.

A Memorial Day weekend trip to Arizona to Washington in May 2005 saw us at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa to see Alan Janes' 1989 musical "Buddy", the story of Buddy Holly.

The Paramount Theatre included Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin's 1982 hit "Annie" as part of their 2005-2006 Broadway Across America" series.

I helped Bob move from Arizona to Washington in June 2005 and during my visit, we saw "Phantom of the Opera" at Gammage Auditorium, the last show I would see in Tempe.

We became season subscribers at the 5th Avenue and enjoyed "The King and I" there in October 2005.

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's musical "The Sound of Music" was the Christmas/family show for the 2005-2006 5th Avenue season.

I enjoy all musicals although do have some favourites. Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green's shows are of particular interest to me and I had wanted to see "Wonderful Town" for a long time. I had my opportunity in March 2006 and was very happy.

Before he became known as the composer of "Wicked", Stephen Schwartz wrote "Pippin" in 1972. The show was part of the 5th Avenue's season but did not appeal to me very much.

We saw "Les Miserables" for the second time in early 2006 and it was as powerful and poignant as before.

A touring production of David Yazbeck's 2004 musical "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" played the Paramount Theatre that summer, starring John Lithgow and Norbert Leo Butz who reprised their roles from the Broadway production.

"Wicked", the 2003 musical composed by Stephen Schwartz, played an extended engagement at the Paramount Theatre in September. Both Bob and I were excited to see this show, which was a prequel to "The Wizard of Oz".

The 5th Avenue Theatre paid homage to Stephen Sondheim by producing one of his shows each season for a few years. His 1970 musical "Company", which won six of the fourteen Tony Awards it was nominated for, was part of the 2006-2007 season.

Another favourite show of mine, whose cast recording was among the first ones I acquired, was the 1966 Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields musical "Sweet Charity". The original musical was choreographed by Bob Fosse and starred his wife, dancer Gwen Verdon.

"White Christmas", the 1954 musical by Irving Berlin, was written as a musical in 2004. The 5th Avenue Theatre chose this as their Christmas show in 2006 and it was a hit.

2007 started with the 5th Avenue's production of "Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story". While the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre production that I saw two years earlier had been excellent, there is nothing like seeing a show in a proper theatre.

The name Chita Rivera is synonymous with Broadway, having starred in "Chicago", "West Side Story", "Guys and Dolls", "The Rink" and "Kiss of the Spider Woman" to name a few. She In 2007, her revue "Chita Rivera, The Dancer's Life" played to great acclaim at the Paramount Theatre.

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's musical "Camelot" was staged by the 5th Avenue Theatre in spring 2007.

"West Side Story" was the next Stephen Sondheim (and Leonard Bernstein) musical to be produced by the 5th Avenue Theatre, and as usual, did not disappoint.

"Young Frankenstein", a Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan musical version of the 1974 film had its tryout at the Paramount Theatre in summer 2007. Never having seen the film, it was completely new to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the "Putting on the Ritz" number.

A Midwest trip in 2007 included an evening of theatre in the form of "Wicked" at the Oriental Theatre".

Stephen Sondheim's 1987 musical "Into The Woods" became the first show of the 5th Avenue's 2007-2008 season.

The 1995 musical parody "Monty Python's Spamalot", was part of the Paramount Theatre's Broadway Across America series in 2007 and it was very entertaining.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has composed a myriad of musicals over the years. His 1996 musical, "Whistle Down The Wind", with lyrics by Jim Steinman, is not as well-known as some of his other shows. However, it became known to Seattle area audiences in late 2007 when the 5th Avenue Theatre staged the show.

"Jersey Boys", the 2005 'jukebox musical' about the Four Seasons, played to sold-out audiences at the 5th Avenue Theatre next. It was not one of my favourite shows as I am not too partial to the Four Seasons.

"Jesus Christ Superstar", Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's 1971 musical, came to Seattle at the end of 2007 as part of the Paramount Theatre's Broadway Across America season.

"Riverdance", the Irish dancing show that took the world by storm thanks to Michael Flatley and Jean Butler, made a return engagement to Seattle. By luck, it was playing at the Paramount Theatre on my 35th birthday so that is where Bob and I spent my birthday evening.

Jerry Herman's 1966 musical, "Mame", was staged by the 5th Avenue Theatre in 2008.

We enjoyed John Kander and Fred Ebb's 1966 musical "Cabaret" when we saw it at the 5th Avenue in 2008.

"Spamalot" returned to Seattle but this time as a touring production at the Paramount Theatre.

In September 2008, Bob and I went to New York to see the New York Yankees and New York Mets at one of their last games before they moved to new ballparks. We saw two shows during our visit. The first was Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's 1960 off-Broadway show "The Fantasticks", which was the longest-running off-Broadway show for 42 years. While the show was designed for a small stage, theatre and orchestra (the venue was most certainly small), it did not appeal to me one bit. Having seen a multitude of shows over the years at large theatres with sizeable casts, orchestra and audience, the minimalistic nature of the show together with the story just was not my cup of tea. However, Bob enjoyed it.

Two days later, we saw "Mary Poppins" at the New Amsterdam Theatre. What a difference! Now I was in my element, with both a show I loved, a historic theatre and the grandeur of it all. Our seats were fantastic - three rows from the stage - and Gavin Lee, who had originated the role of Bert in the London production, was reprising his role here. During the intermission, the fellow who announces the interval is nearly over passes us and was carrying a set of chimes. He let both of us ring them! That evening was a highlight of the trip for me.

My mother, Audrey, made a trip to Lynnwood in November 2008 and we took her to see "Drowsy Chaperone", the Greg Morrison and Lisa Lambert musical which opened on Broadway in 2006, at the 5th Avenue Theatre. It was her first time at this historic theatre and she was extremely impressed and thoroughly enjoyed the show.

Due to my needing to stay in Canada during the fiancee visa approval process, I had to miss the next three shows of the 2008-2009 season. But in July 2009, we saw "Show Boat" at the Village Theatre in Everett. While not as famous as the 5th Avenue Theatre, a handful of shows had their start there and went on to success on Broadway.

"Catch Me If You Can", Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's musical based on the 2002 film, had its world premiere at the 5th Avenue in August 2009 before going on to Broadway and being nominated for four Tony Awards.

"Wicked" returned for a few days in September 2009 at the Paramount Theatre.

Plays do not interest me as I find them rather boring with just spoken words and no songs or dancing. However, "Abe Lincoln In Illinois" by Robert E. Sherwood written in 1938, was a play that Bob wanted to see as he is an admirer of President Lincoln and I accompanied him to the Intiman Theatre in Seattle. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the performance and learnt a lot.

It had been sixteen years since I had seen "Joseph" and the 5th Avenue had the show as part of their season.

The 2006 staging of "White Christmas" had been so popular that a return engagement of the show was brought back for the season in 2009. We gladly saw this uplifting and fun show again.

I had never had the opportunity to see the Rockettes until December 2009 when the touring "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" came to the Paramount Theatre. It was incredible to see and I have a Christmas tree ornament as a memento of this evening.

Bob and I visited Spokane in January 2010 to watch the United States Figure Skating Championships. John Kander and Fred Ebb's musical "Curtains" was playing at the Spokane Civic Theatre and on a free evening, we went to see this show which was most enjoyable.

The Lincoln Centre Theatre's production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's "South Pacific" came to the 5th Avenue Theatre and while I knew the music and lyrics from owning various cast recordings, I had never seen the show live before.

A special event in 2010 was the Seattle Pops Tribute to Stephen Sondheim at Benaroya Hall. What made it even more special and poignant was that Marvin Hamlisch was the conductor of the Seattle Pops and this was the only time I saw him live before his passing in 2012.

Five days later, it was back to the 5th Avenue for the touring production of Lawrence O'Keefe and Neil Benjamin's 2007 musical "Legally Blonde.

John Kander and Fred Ebb's hit show "Chicago" came to Seattle's Paramount Theatre in early 2010.

Another of the Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green musicals, "On The Town" was staged by the 5th Avenue that season. I had enjoyed the music for years and it was another show that I had really wanted to see.

Leonard Bernstein's musical "Candide" was the next 5th Avenue show. I owned both the original cast recording and the Scottish National Opera production and whenever I played them, always turned up the volume for a couple of songs and sang along. So it was with great anticipation that I entered the doors of the theatre in June 2010 and was not disappointed.

Before his hit show "Hamilton", Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote "In The Heights" which debuted on Broadway in 2008. The 5th Avenue Theatre's 2010-2011 season included this show, which while different and rather more modern than I am used to, was enjoyable to see.

"Hair", the ground-breaking 1968 musical, came to Seattle on tour in December 2010. Bob and I went to see it and I very soon realized this was my least favourite show of any that I had seen, or would see in the future. The temptation to walk out was extremely strong but I did not. It was the most unpleasant theatrical experience I have ever had.

The Christmas season was upon us again and Benji Pasek and Justin Paul's 2012 musical "A Christmas Story" played at the 5th Avenue Theatre. While the show had had its initial tryout in Kansas City, Seattle was the next stop on the road to Broadway and received three Tony Award nominations.

In 2011, Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt's musical "Next to Normal" played the 5th Avenue Theatre. This show had had its start at the Village Theatre in Issaquah so was coming back to home territory. This was a different and rather dark show that did not really appeal to me.

"Billy Elliot", the Elton John and Lee Hall musical toured Seattle's Paramount Theatre that April. One of the cast members, Faith Prince, was familiar to me from some Broadway shows. At the end of the show, it was announced that photograph opportunities would be offered with show cast members. I came away with a photo of Faith and myself.

The 1980 film "9 to 5" was transformed into a musical by Dolly Parton in 2009 and was staged by the 5th Avenue Theatre two years later.

Frank Loesser's hit musical "Guys and Dolls" was the next in the 2010-2011 season. This was another in the classic shows that I had always wanted to see and finally I had the chance. As an aside, would see the show again in a completely different setting a month later when Bob and I visited Kansas City and his friend took us to see the show at the outdoor Starlight Theatre.

"Aladdin" has had several theatrical iterations over the years. It was first a 1992 Disney animated film with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Tim Rice and Howard Ashman. It then became a musical which had its premiere at the 5th Avenue in July 2011 (this performance), was re-developed and went to Broadway in 2014. I had liked 'A Friend Like Me' and 'Prince Ali' from the soundtrack and really enjoyed this production.

"Les Miserables" made a triumphant return to Seattle that August and we both enjoyed this epic story again.

Another of the world premieres that the 5th Avenue was involved in was "Saving Aimee", the story of Aimee Semple McPherson, written by David Pomeranz, David Friedman and Kathie Lee Gifford. When it transferred to Broadway the following year, it was renamed "Scandalous", and while it did not fare very well, it was nominated for two awards.

"Cinderella", the only Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical written for television (starring Julie Andrews in 1957), was the Christmas season show for the 5th Avenue's 2011-2012 season. The show itself was very enjoyable and the performances outstanding as usual, but in my opinion, there did not need to be any ethnicity changes in the casting of the principal role.

"Oklahoma!" was the next show at the 5th Avenue and one of the classics of musical theatre.

We returned to the Paramount Theatre in February 2012 to see the touring production of "Beauty and the Beast". A very enjoyable evening.

For several years, the 5th Avenue and ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) have collaborated on a musical that is meant for smaller audiences and a smaller stage. In 2012, the new musical "First Date" by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner premiered at ACT and went on to Broadway.

April 2012 marked a century since the Titanic disaster. A 1997 musical by Maury Yeston was the basis for a special concert at the 5th Avenue Theatre on April 15th, 2012.

Richard Adler and Jerry Ross' 1955 musical "Damn Yankees", choreographed by Bob Fosse and starring Gwen Verdon as Lola, was staged at the 5th Avenue Theatre next. This was the first time I had seen the show and the Fosse choreography was instantly recognizable.

"Million Dollar Quartet", a 2009 musical about the famous December 4th, 1956 concert between Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, visited the Paramount Theatre in spring 2012. I was not sure I would enjoy it but was pleasantly surprised by the show.

Thanks to my friend Robert Hickman, I was able to see a show that is not often staged, starring one of my favourite British musical theatre actresses. "Follies", Stephen Sondheim's 1971 show, had been revived in Washington DC and Broadway, and was going to be in Los Angeles in spring 2012. The cast was a who's who of both London and Broadway with the role of Carlotta being played by Elaine Paige both on Broadway, and much to my surprise and delight, Los Angeles.

To add to this, I had turned 40 in February and what a way to celebrate my birthday (three months late) by seeing "Follies" at the Music Centre in Los Angeles. Bob and I spent a weekend in Los Angeles and area with our friend Chris Guenzler and the days were spent riding trains and visiting railway museums and for the two evenings were spent at the Music Centre. To say this show was fantastic is an understatement and was the first time I had seen Elaine perform live. In fact, I was so in my element and was having the time of my life that I went back the next night and saw the show again! I waited at the stage door this second night and was rewarded with meeting Elaine and getting her autograph.

I had followed Elaine's career over the years. She originated the role of Eva Peron in "Evita" and Grizabella in "Cats", as well as being in "Piaf" and "Sunset Boulevard" in London among many other shows. She is known as the First Lady of British Musical Theatre and in 2004, started her own radio show on BBC Radio 2. My father's cousin Barbara kindly started taping the shows for me and sending me the cassette tapes since I did not have home Internet access. I took over a few years later and have almost every one of the radio shows on tape. "Elaine Paige on Sunday" is still going strong after all these years and I continue to tape each episode and enjoy each one.

Back to Seattle and the 2009 David Bryan and Joe DiPietro musical "Memphis" at the 5th Avenue Theatre. This was a new musical which had been developed here. It went to Broadway and won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and made a welcome return in autumn 2012.

The 1964 television series "The Addams Family" became a musical in 2007 and was part of the 5th Avenue Theatre's series of shows in 2012. While I knew of the television series, I had not seen it and really enjoyed the musicalized version.

Matthew Sklar and Chad Berguelin's musical adaptation of the film "Elf" became the 5th Avenue Theatre's Christmas season show and was enjoyed by all who saw it.

A special tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch by the Seattle Pops had a one-time airing at Benaroya Hall on February 24th, 2013. Bob and I attended this moving event.

"War Horse", the multi award-winning 2007 Royal Shakespeare Company play that took London and New York by storm, came to the Paramount Theatre the same month. The staging and "choreography" was breathtaking and the whole play very emotional.

'76 Trombones' were in our heads after we saw Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man" at the 5th Avenue that season.

"Jersey Boys" returned to the 5th Avenue in April that year and we saw it again.

"Hairspray", one of the musicals that had its start in Seattle, had a special concert production that summer.

Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta "The Pirates of Penzance" became a musical and I enjoyed seeing it the 5th Avenue Theatre. Being a fan of this English duo's comedic opererttas, this was one of the shows I was looking forward to seeing.

"Secondhand Lions", Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner's 2013 musical based on the 2003 film, had its world premiere in Seattle.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has had a huge impact on musical theatre, not just in London but around the world with his plethora of musicals over the decades. He also owns several London theatres and was heavily involved in some television casting programs to find new actors and actresses for revivals of shows. One such was "The Wizard of Oz" and the search for a new Dorothy. The Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) aired this program and we watched each episode. The girl who won the show performed the role both in Toronto and the touring production that came to Seattle's Paramount Theatre. We thoroughly enjoyed this revised production of "The Wizard of Oz".

The 5th Avenue's Christmas season show was Lionel Bart's 1968 musical "Oliver". This was yet another of the famous musicals that while I had seen the film and owned a couple of cast recordings, had never seen live before now.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1978 musical "Evita" toured Seattle at the Paramount Theatre to start 2014.

"Spamalot" played at the 5th Avenue in February 2014.

"Little Shop of Horrors" was the 5th Avenue/ACT Theatre collaboration show of this season and was not one of the shows I particularly liked.

"Room With A View", a musical based on the 1985 film with music by Jeffrey Stock, had it's premiere at 5th Avenue that spring. I had never seen the film so this was my first introduction to it.

From modern to old -- George and Ira Gershwin's 1927 opera "Porgy and Bess" had a musical staging at the 5th Avenue Theatre.

'One Singular Sensation' was in my head as we saw "A Chorus Line" for the first time that autumn, the show that started the 2014-2015 season.

Cyndi Lauper's musical "Kinky Boots", based on the 2005 film, toured Seattle and played at the 5th Avenue Theatre in October.

"The Nutcracker" has become a perennial favourite ballet to be performed during the Christmas season. Neither Bob nor I had ever seen this and Pacific Northwest Ballet always mounted this show. On the last season for the Stowell and Sendak version, we decided to go and see it. Magical is the word I would use to describe the experience of my first ballet.

5th Avenue Theatre brought back "A Christmas Story" after a four-year hiatus, as their Christmas show of the season.

Back to a classic musical to start 2015 - Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's musical "Carousel" at the 5th Avenue.

"Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris", the revue about the Belgian singer, composer, actor and director was the 5th Avenue and ACT's show for 2015. This revue, which I only knew of by name, was very well done and some of the songs familiar.

Ryan Scott Oliver's musical "Jasper In Deadland" had it's tryout in Seattle but it was a show that I could not really get into.

"Grease", the musical based on the famous film, was staged by the 5th Avenue Theatre next.

Roald Dahl, famous for the book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", wrote "Matilda" in 1988 which was made into a film and musical. The 5th Avenue Theatre hosted the Seattle leg of the tour late summer 2015.

Richard Maltby and David Shire's new musical "Waterfall" had its premiere in Seattle that autumn.

One of the classics of film musicals, "The Sound of Music" was seen at the 5th during the 2015 Christmas season.

"Bullets Over Broadway", the 1994 Woody Allen film that he adapted into a musical, came to Seattle as part of the Paramount Theatre's Broadway Across America series. The tour dates included my birthday and so we saw the show on the evening of February 2nd.

Frank Loesser's 1961 musical "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" has been revived a few times. The 5th Avenue Theatre hosted the show in 2016.

Stephen Sondheim's rarely-produced show "Assassins" was the 2016 joint 5th Avenue/ACT show. I owned both the original and revival cast recordings and enjoyed seeing the show in person.

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's 1951 musical "Paint Your Wagon" was revived as part of the New York City Centre's "Encores" series in 2015. The 5th Avenue Theatre mounted this revival next.

2013's jukebox musical based on Berry Gordy's autobiography, "Motown the Musical", was the last show in the 5th Avenue's 2015-2016 season.

Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion's 1965 musical "Man of La Mancha" opened the 5th Avenue's new season.

Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice's musical "The Little Mermaid" was enjoyed as the Christmas season show at the 5th Avenue Theatre.

Richard Adler and Jerry Ross' musical "The Pajama Game", with one of my favourite songs 'Once A\ Year Day' was the third show of the 5th Avenue's season and was a fun show to see.

It was back to the Paramount Theatre for a touring production of "Mamma Mia".

This year's 5th Avenue/ACT collaboration was the new show "Murder for Two". This was a most interesting show and cleverly staged.

Frances Burnett's famous book "The Secret Garden" was turned into a musical in 1991 and starred eleven-year-old Daisy Egan. In 2016, a revival of the show was put on by the 5th Avenue and while not in the same role, Daisy Egan was in the cast of this version.

George Gershwin's famous music and Gene Kelly's choreography of "An American In Paris" came to the Paramount Theatre that spring when the musical toured Seattle.

Not a show for everyone's taste, the national tour of "Fun Home" was the next show in the 5th Avenue's season.

While I would choose musicals over plays any day, "The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night Time" took both London and Broadway by storm and won the Best Play Tony Award. When it came to Seattle at the Paramount Theatre, we went to see it and were quite impressed.

Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick's 2015 musical "Something Rotten" was a show that I was really looking forward to seeing. The show was postponed a year but was highlighted in one of 5th Avenue's Spotlight Nights and was a resounding success.

It had been several years since I saw "Ragtime" and the show had been revived since then. But it was as good as before and as usual, I could sing along with the songs as I had the cast recording.

Irving Berlin's "Holiday Inn" made a return as the 5th Avenue's Christmas season show and I did not mind seeing it again.

A local production of "Mamma Mia" started 2018 off at the 5th Avenue Theatre.

Cole Porter's musical "Kiss Me Kate", known more as a film musical than a stage show, was next on the boards for the 5th Avenue. This show is one of my favourites and I was glad to have an opportunity to see it.

Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz's musical adaptation of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" finished the 2017-2018 5th Avenue Theatre season.

The Tony Award-winning show "Waitress" toured Seattle in September 2018 and we saw it at The Paramount Theatre.

I was not sure what to expect when I saw "Come From Away", the musical which had its roots in Newfoundland and how the Town of Gander became so involved in the events of September 11th, 2001. However, it made an impression on both of us and was extremely well done.

Audiences of all ages enjoyed "Annie" over the Christmas 2018 season and we were two of those.

The next in the 5th Avenue Theatre's cache of new shows in production was "Marie: Dancing Still" which was enjoyable to see.

The tour of the revised "Aladdin" was playing Salt Lake City in early May 2019 and was a fun way to start the visit to Utah.

The Village Theatre's season included "Million Dollar Quartet" and as this theatre was fifteen minutes from us, it was an easy decision to see this show again.

"Austen's Pride", a musical about Jane Austen started the 2019-2020 5th Avenue seson. This was a new show but one that appealed to me.

The hit film "Mrs. Doubtfire" has been turned into a musical and it was the 5th Avenue's Christmas season show. I enjoyed it a few days before Christmas 2019. This would be the last show I would see in Seattle since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all theatres early in 2020 and the season was cancelled.

In addition, I moved to Southern California mid-April 2020 and since theatres are currently shuttered all over the world, am not sure when my next theatrical experience will be.

The 5th Avenue Theatre has done so much for musical theatre and its advancement, not only in the Seattle area, but around the country. The depth of talent, both on stage and on the technical side of things in Seattle seems to be never-ending and the breadth of shows, both new and old, that they have staged or premiered over the years is extremely impressive. Two of their outreach programs are most notable. Firstly was their free Spotlight Nights. These were held about three times a year, hosted by the Executive Director, David Armstrong, with musical theatre historian Albert Evans. History of the show, the era and the composer/lyricist was discussed with songs sung from the show and the composer's repertoire by selected 5th Avenue Theatre performers (usually those in the show). These two-hour evening events were fantastic and I wish they had not stopped.

The other program, Rising Star Project, was most unique. Per their website, "The Rising Star Project uses the resources and professional knowledge that exist at The 5th Avenue Theatre to help very young person achieve a fulfilling career, a stronger sense of self, and confidence in their ability to inspire positive change in the world." It is a program that was done in conjunction with local schools through an application process and the students learnt theatrecraft from the professionals and mounted their own versions of one of the season's productions. Bob and I saw a couple of those shows and they were just as good as the professional version. Over the years, some of the students continued with the theatre and were cast members in other 5th Avenue productions.

This is being written on August 1st, 2020 and the 24th of this month will be 35 years since my introduction to the world of musical theatre. Nearly 150 musical theatre books, approaching 500 cast recordings, soundtracks and compilation albums on tape, record and compact disc, plus 53 albums of newspaper and magainze articles, reviews and obituaries make up my musical theatre library, and it will only continue to grow!