Before Broadway, Princesses, the Musical About Fathers, Daughters, Heartthrobs and Heartache, Plays Seattle

News   Before Broadway, Princesses, the Musical About Fathers, Daughters, Heartthrobs and Heartache, Plays Seattle The new Broadway-bound musical, Princesses, begins a tryout run at 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle Aug. 9.

As with most test runs of Broadway shows, the out-of-town engagement will offer the show's creators — in this case, David Zippel (conceiver, lyricist, director), Matthew Wilder (composer) and Bill and Cheri Steinkellner — the chance to adjust their work and gauge its highs and lows in the presence of a living, breathing audience.

A fall start on Broadway has been announced, although a theatre has not. Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley will produce the commercial stand.

Princesses is about a middle-aged Hollywood star (played by Brent Barrett) who intrudes upon his daughter's (Jenny Fellner) life at prep school, where the music teacher (Donna English) is mounting a drama-class production of the classic novel "A Little Princess." When hunky young star Zach (played by newcomer Storm Newton) arrives, the girls of the school swoon.

Performances play 5th Avenue Theatre Aug. 9-28. Produced by The 5th Avenue Theatre by special arrangement with Lane and Comley, the new musical-within-a-musical played a developmental run at Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre in fall 2004.

Lyricist Zippel is known for City of Angels, The Goodbye Girl and The Woman in White, Wilder is a composer with pop and film credits (including Disney's "Mulan") and book writers Bill and Cheri Steinkellner are known for their work on "Cheers." The gaggle of boarding school girls who go gaga over the movie stars includes Sierra Boggess, Mary Faber, Sarah Jayne Jensen, Anne Letscher, Moeisha McGill, Lindsay Mendez, Dequina Moore, Patti Murin, Anisha Nagarajan, Marissa Perry, Jacqui Polk, Sarah Spradlin and Kelly Stensland.

*

Newcomer Storm Newton, an actor-singer with the sort of name to set the hearts of teenage girls aflutter, is not known to theatre fans — or many others in showbiz. In fact, he didn't show up in a Google internet search (as of May), although readers of Cosmopolitan got a chance to goggle over his shirtless photo in March, when he was featured in the magazine's monthly photo series "Guy Without His Shirt 2005."

The vital stats provided in the "Guy Candy" section of www.cosmopolitan.com indicate that Newton is 22 years old, six feet tall, 170 pounds, a "Leo" and a native of Bellevue, MI.

His "favorite thing," Cosmo reports, is music. "It's in my soul," he told Cosmo. "I'm an R&B singer, and I just started recording my first album."

Bellevue, MI, is far from Seattle, and far from the girls' prep school setting of David Zippel's original musical, Princesses. Hairspray played its pre-Broadway run at 5th Avenue, and in 2006 The Wedding Singer musical will debut there.

Here's how 5th Avenue characterizes Princesses: "In this sensational new musical comedy, a clique of jaded private school girls reluctantly stage a production of the beloved Victorian novel 'A Little Princess.' The show is a disaster until America's hottest action hero arrives on the scene to direct it. The boy-crazy teens are wild for him, except for one — his daughter. Will she finally have her father back, or will he rush off to Hollywood when he gets a better offer? The fresh, hip score blends contemporary pop and traditional theatre tunes in this innovative musical-within-a-musical, developed by a multi-award-winning and nominated (Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy) creative team."

Tickets went on sale April 22 and range in price from $18-$70. Subscribers can purchase tickets at a discount. Tickets are available over the phone through Ticketmaster at (206) 292-ARTS (2787), online at ticketmaster.com or in person at any Ticketmaster Ticket Center as well as The 5th Avenue Theatre box office, 1308 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle. There is no service charge when purchasing tickets in person at The 5th Avenue Theatre box office.

Visit www.5thavenuetheatre.org.

The cast of <i>Princesses</i> at the 5th Avenue Theatre
The cast of Princesses at the 5th Avenue Theatre Photo by Carol Rosegg