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August 25, 2016 Comments Off on It’s Levi vs Norm As Village & 5th Avenue Import Broadway Stars For Fall Openers Views: 3834 *Seattle Theaterland, *The Strangeways Report, Arts & Entertainment, Stage

It’s Levi vs Norm As Village & 5th Avenue Import Broadway Stars For Fall Openers

Tony Award winning actor Levi Kreis returns to Issaquah's Village Theatre for their fall production of "Pump Boys and Dinettes".

Tony Award winning actor Levi Kreis returns to Issaquah’s Village Theatre for their fall production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes”.

It’s the “Battle of the Broadway Hunks” as both of Seattle’s major musical theater companies both produce fall shows starring imported leading men from Broadway.

Issaquah’s Village Theatre gets the head start as their fall opener, PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES opens September 15th for a month long run at their Issaquah home base before moving to Everett on October 28th for another month of shows. “Pump Boys” is the light as a feather country western/bluegrass musical review about “good ole boys” and the gals who love ’em and it was a surprise hit show on Broadway in 1982 and has lived on as a staple for musical theaters across the country since then…largely due to the fact it’s a small cast show and fun for the whole family. No Nazis, African war lords or ‘Angry Inches’ in THIS show!!!

And, to goose the box office potential, the Village is bringing back a “hometown boy” who has done good….LEVI KREIS isn’t actually a native of the Pacific Northwest but he did appear and originate the role of Jerry Lee Lewis in the Village produced hit  Million Dollar Quartet, a few years ago, which won Mr. Kreis a Tony Award after it moved to Broadway. Now, the adorably talented star (who is also an out gay actor, btw…) returns to our neck of woods to lead the ensemble of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” which includes a superb roster of very talented local actors: Joshua Carter as Jim, Sylvie Davidson as Prudie Cupp, Michael Feldman as Jackson, Olivia D. Hamilton as Eddie, Sara Porkalob as Rhetta Cupp, and James “Rif” Reif as Drummer.

More on “Pump Boys”:

Written by a performance group of the same name comprised of John FoleyMark HardwickDebra MonkCass MorganJohn Schimmel, and Jim WannPump Boys and Dinettes became a surprise hit on Broadway in 1982, with a fun-loving country and bluegrass-inspired score that mimicked the band’s own performance set. The musical welcomes its audience into the everyday goings-on of a downhome group of friends – a couple of pump boys at a gas station and the waitresses who work at the diner across the pavement – as they sing about the simpler things: fishing, beer, good food, and the importance of taking life slow. In directing the musical, Ivie has taken the show’s origins to heart, bringing the score to life one song at a time in rehearsals that more closely resemble band practice. Every performer is an accomplished musician in his or her own right, with two cast members stepping into the spotlight after performing as part of Village Theatre’s orchestra last season. Together, the ensemble cast plays a vast variety of instruments, including guitar, piano, bass, cello, ukulele, and banjo.

Pump Boys and Dinettes, sponsored by Redmond’s Bar and Grill and, is on stage at Village Theatre’s Francis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah from September 15 to October 23, before moving to the Everett Performing Arts Center from October 28 to November 20. Tickets are on sale now in Issaquah and can be purchased online or through the Box Office at (425) 392-2202. Everett tickets go on sale September 14.

Veteran Broadway star and Tony Award nominated actor NORM LEWIS stars in the 5th Avenue Theatre's fall production of "Man of La Mancha".

Veteran Broadway star and Tony Award nominated actor NORM LEWIS stars in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s fall production of “Man of La Mancha”.

If Levi Kreis wasn’t enough Broadway hotness for you, then Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre has just what you’re craving with their fall opener, the classic Broadway musical, MAN OF LAMANCHA, the 1965 Tony Award winning musical based on Cervantes’ classic novel “Don Quixote” and best known for introducing the song “The Impossible Dream” to the pantheon of brilliant Broadway songs. Tony Award nominated Broadway actor NORM LEWIS will make his 5th Avenue debut in the leading dual roles of Cervantes/Don Quixote.

Joining Lewis in the other two leading roles: Seattle’s own DON DARRYL RIVERA as Sancho Panza (longtime Seattle goers should remember that Rivera received rave reviews for performing this same role at Taproot a few years back before Rivera headed off to Broadway glory in the original cast of Disney’s Aladdin which originated at the 5th Avenue). And, in the female lead, Aldonza, another out of town actor but one we recently saw in a triumphant performance earlier this year in the 5th Avenue’s production of A Night with Janis Joplin, NOVA PAYTON returns to Seattle for the October 7 through 30th run of Man of La Mancha.

And, it’s interesting to note that the 5th Avenue really seems to have jumped on the diversity bandwagon with this production that stars two African-American actors and an Asian actor and features women in three key production roles. This production of “La Mancha” is directed by Seattle’s own Allison Narver with Maria Torres making her 5th Avenue debut as choreographer and Cynthia Kortman Westphal  as the production’s Musical Director.

More about “La Mancha”:

Man of La Mancha runs October 7-30, 2016 (press night Thursday, October 13, 2016) at The 5th Avenue Theatre (1308 5th Avenue, Seattle). For single tickets (starting at $29) and information, please visit, call the Box Office at (206) 625-1900 or visit the Box Office at 1308 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle.

One of the most epic and enduring musicals of all time, Man of La Mancha is a glorious affirmation of the unyielding resilience of the human spirit that will leave audiences breathless. Inspired by one of the greatest novels in Western literature, Man of La Mancha enters the mind and world of the mad knight Don Quixote as he pursues his quest for the impossible dream. In a tale told by Cervantes himself in defense of his life’s work, Quixote is, against all odds, a man who sees good and innocence in a world filled with darkness and despair. Featuring stirring classic songs including “The Impossible Dream,” Man of La Mancha is a multi-Tony Award-winning theatrical masterpiece that blurs the line between dreams and reality in a powerful celebration of the imagination.

Norm Lewis makes his 5th Avenue Debut as Cervantes/Don Quixote. Lewis made history in May of 2014 as the first African American Phantom in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. He received Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle award nominations for his performance in The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess. Lewis’ Broadway credits include Sondheim on Sondheim, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Les Misérables, Chicago, Amour, The Wild Party, Side Show, Miss Saigon and The Who’s Tommy. His West End credits include Les Misérables and Les Misérables: The 25th Anniversary Concert, which aired on PBS. Lewis has worked extensively Off-Broadway and in regional theatres across the country. He has been seen on PBS in the Live From Lincoln Center productions of Showboat with Vanessa Williams, Norm Lewis: Who Am I?, and New Year’s Eve: A Gershwin Celebration with Diane Reeves, as well as American Voices with Renée Fleming and the PBS Special First You Dream – The Music of Kander & Ebb. His film credits include Winter’s Tale, Sex and the City 2, Confidences, Preaching to the Choir and the upcoming film, Magnum Opus. His television credits include Chicago Med, Gotham, The Blacklist, and Blue Bloods, as well as in his recurring role as Senator Edison Davis on the hit drama Scandal. Lewis’s solo album is entitled “This is The Life.”

Other cast members: Allen Fitzpatrick as The Innkeeper (Governor), Eric Ankrim as Dr. Carrasco (Duke), Jose Gonzales as The Barber, Brandon O’Neill as Pedro, David Quicksall as Captain of the Inquisition, Nick DeSantis as Padre, Lauren Du Pree as Antonia and Marlette Buchanan as Maria/Housekeeper.

So many talented, dreamy actors…and, plenty of time to snatch tickets to see them!

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