Saving Aimee, Starring Tony Nominee Carolee Carmello, Opens in Seattle Oct. 20

Kathie Lee Gifford, David Friedman and David Pomeranz's musical Saving Aimee, starring Tony Award nominee Carolee Carmello as 1920's evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, tests its faith with critics once again. The musical officially opens Oct. 20 at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.

Carolee Carmello in Saving Aimee.
Carolee Carmello in Saving Aimee. (Photo by Chris Bennion)

5th Avenue artistic director David Armstrong directs Saving Aimee, which began previews Sept. 30 and will continue through Oct. 29. Saving Aimee has book and lyrics by actress, writer and talk-show host Gifford, and music by Friedman and Pomeranz.

Two-time Tony nominee Carmello ( Parade, Hello Again, Lestat, The Addams Family) created the role of McPherson in the 2007 world-premiere staging of Saving Aimee at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. The writers have refined the material since its debut.

The cast of Saving Aimee also includes Tony winner Judy Kaye, fresh off the world premiere of Tales of the City, as Minnie Kennedy; Roz Ryan ( Dreamgirls) as Emma Jo Schaffer; as well as Ed Dixon ( Mary Poppins, Sunday in the Park With George); Ed Watts ( Finian's Rainbow); Charles Leggett; and Brandon O'Neill ( Aladdin at the 5th Avenue).

Completing the ensemble are Charissa Bertels, Jared Michael Brown, Christian Duhamel, Richard Gray, Cayman Ilika, Brandi Chavonne Massey, Cheryl Massey-Peters, Corrina Lapid-Munter, Heath Saunders, Aaron Shanks, Tim Shew, Mara Solar, Billie Wildrick and Matt Wolfe.

According to the 5th Avenue, "This is the powerful true story of 1920's evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, who catapulted to unexpected stardom as the founder of the first mega-church and a media empire. The rise and fall of a woman cloaked in intrigue, embroiled in scandal, and at the heart of one of the nation’s first sensationalized trials, Saving Aimee, celebrates the unstoppable force of a powerful woman inspired to great heights in a man's world." Saving Aimee has choreography by Lorin Laterro, music direction by Joel Fram, orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin, set design by Walt Spangler, costume design by Gregory A. Poplyk, lighting design by Tom Sturg, sound design by Ken Travis and hair and makeup design by Mary Pyanowski.

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Aaron Shank, Carolee Carmello, Judy Kaye and Richard Gray
Aaron Shank, Carolee Carmello, Judy Kaye and Richard Gray (Photo by Chris Bennion)