About The 5th

Our Mission

To nurture, advance and preserve all aspects of America’s great indigenous art-form: The Musical.  We achieve this by creating extraordinary theatrical experiences that enrich, entertain, and inspire current and future audiences everywhere.

Our Vision

To be the pre-eminent musical theater company in the world - achieving the highest levels of artistic achievement, production quality, audience engagement, and community impact.

Our Values

We are committed to the preservation of the historic and irreplaceable 5th Avenue Theatre as a cultural center for the region.

We are dedicated to achieving consistently high standards of excellence by showcasing world-class performers and creative artists, utilizing full live orchestras, and staging exceptional and imaginative productions. 

We place special emphasis on the employment of our outstanding regional community of performers, technicians, and theater professionals.

Each season, we program a vibrant and dynamic mix of productions that attract, delight, and retain a large and diverse audience and reflect the broad scope and cultural significance of the American Musical - past, present, and future

We ensure our future by serving as a creative incubator for the production of New Works, by engaging our community through Educational programming of the highest caliber, and by maintaining exceptional standards of fiscal responsibility.


The 5th Avenue Theatre Today

The 5th Avenue Theatre is one of the nation's premier incubators for new musical theater. Since 2001, The 5th has premiered 16 new works, nine of which have subsequently opened on Broadway. They include Disney’s Aladdin; First Date; A Christmas Story, The Musical; Scandalous; Shrek; Catch Me If You Can; The Wedding Singer; and Best Musical Tony Award-winners, Hairspray and Memphis. The 5th Avenue Theatre is also known for its world class, critically-acclaimed productions of musicals chosen from both the contemporary canon and the Golden Age of Broadway, as well as the latest touring offerings from New York.

Unique in its Chinese-inspired design, this exquisite theater opened in 1926 as a venue for vaudeville and film. In the early days, people eagerly lined up for first-class vaudeville shows, featuring the top touring entertainers of the day. The Theatre later transformed itself into a popular movie palace. In the late 1970s, The 5th Avenue Theatre fell on hard times, but was saved from a wrecking ball by a visionary group of businesses and community leaders. In 1980, the non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre began producing and presenting top-quality live musical theater.

Today, under the leadership of Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong, Managing Director Bernadine C. Griffin and Producing Artistic Director Bill Berry, The 5th Avenue Theatre attracts an annual attendance of more than 300,000 and ranks among the nation’s largest and most respected musical theater companies.

In addition to its main stage productions, The 5th Avenue Theatre is also committed to encouraging the next generation of theatergoers through its extensive educational outreach program that serves more than 74,000 each year through programs including The Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company, The 5th Avenue Awards Honoring High School Musical Theater and the Rising Star Project. For adults, The 5th offers free-to-the-public events such as the popular Spotlight Night series, and pre-performance Show Talks with Albert Evans.


Saving the Building & Founding the Company

When The 5th Avenue Theatre was forced to close its doors in 1978, 43 local companies and community leaders joined forces to save the glorious, historical building. In 1979, this visionary group formed the non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre Association, and raised $2.6 million for renovations.

Following a spectacular $2.6-million renovation, the theatre re-opened in 1980, more beautiful than ever and emerged as Seattle’s premier home for touring Broadway shows

In 1989, with the generous assistance of company sponsors, The 5th Avenue Musical Theatre Company was established. The new non-profit company expanded its mission to include not only presenting touring shows but producing top quality musical theater productions of its own.

The 5th Avenue Founders

We offer our gratitude and heartfelt thanks for the commitment and vision of our founders who were responsible for the 1979 renovation and who made saving The 5th Avenue Theatre a reality:

  • Airborne Freight Corporation
  • ALPAC - Pepsi-Cola /Seven-Up
  • Morris and Joan Alhadeff
  • Longacres Race Track
  • American Building Maintenance Industries
  • The Boeing Company
  • Burlington Northern, Inc.
  • Crescent Foods
  • James R. Ellis
  • First Interstate Bank of Washington
  • John Fluke Manufacturing Company, Inc.
  • Frederick and Nelson
  • Item House
  • Dr. Solomon Katz
  • King Broadcasting Company
  • KIRO Radio and TV
  • KOMO Radio and Television
  • Nordstrom, Inc.
  • Old National Bank of Washington
  • Overall Laundry Services, Inc.
  • PACCAR Foundation
  • Pacific Northwest Bank of Washington
  • Pacific Northwest Bell
  • Pay ’N Save Drugstores
  • Peoples National Bank of Washington
  • Physio-Control Corporation
  • Rainier National Bank of Washington
  • SAFECO Corporation
  • Faye and Herman Sarkowsky
  • Schoenfeld Industries, Inc.
  • Shuck’s Auto Supply, Inc.
  • Seattle-First National Bank
  • The Seattle Times
  • Simpson Timber Company
  • Skinner Corporation
  • UNICO Properties, Inc.
  • Unigard Insurance Group
  • United Airlines
  • Western International Hotels
  • Univar Corporation
  • Urban Investment & Development Co. /Four Seasons Hotels
  • Washington Energy Company
  • Washington Mutual Savings Bank Foundation
  • Weisfield’s, Inc.
  • Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation

Musical Theatre Company Sponsors

We also offer our sincere appreciation to the following company sponsors who were responsible for the 1989 establishment of the Musical Theatre Company:

  • American Building Maintenance Company
  • The Boeing Company
  • First Interstate Bank of Washington N.A.
  • Fisher Communications
  • John Fluke Mfg. Co., Inc.
  • Joshua Green Foundation
  • KIRO, Inc.
  • Nordstrom, Inc.
  • Puget Sound Bancorp
  • Faye and Herman Sarkowsky
  • Seafirst Bank
  • The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  • Security Pacific Bank Washington
  • Skinner Corporation
  • Samuel and Althea Stroum
  • UNICO Properties
  • Univar/VWR Foundation
  • US West
  • Washington Energy Company
  • Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation

Historic Theatre District

The Seattle Downtown Historic Theatre District is one of the premier collections of operating, historic theatres’ in the United States with over 1,000 live performances every year.  The 5th Avenue Theatre is one of five theatres that was constructed between 1907 and 1928. Through the years, all have served as important cultural landmarks and venues for artistic expression. They have hosted entertainers and dignitaries from around the world and today serve as one the most premiere collections of fully operating, historic theaters in the United States.  To learn more, please click HERE


The 5th Avenue Theatre Association Board of Directors

Stephen P. Reynolds, Chairman

              Community Leader

Margaret C. Inouye, Secretary

             K & L Gates

Sterling Wilson, Treasurer

              Community Leader

Wanda J. Herndon, Immediate Past Chairman

             W Communications

Kenny Alhadeff

              Elttaes Enterprises

Ann Ardizzone

               Alaska Airlines

Clodagh Ash

             Community Leader

Les Biller

             Biller Family Foundation

Robert R. Braun, Jr.

             Braun Consulting Group

Margaret Clapp

             Community Leader

Larry Estrada

             Goldman Sachs

​Gary J. Fuller

              Nyhus Communications LLC

Sarah Nash Gates

            University of Washington Arts

Cyrus Habib

               Perkins Coie

Randy Hodgins

              University of Washington

Richard Kagan

              HUB International

SaSa Kirkpatrick

              Community Leader

Elizabeth Lund


John Oppenheimer

              Columbia Hospitality

Llewelyn G. Pritchard

             Helsell Fetterman

David Quinn

             Edmonds-Woodway High School

Ann Ramsay-Jenkins

             College Success Foundation

Norman B. Rice

             Community Leader

Elliot Silvers

             Society Consulting

Heather Sullivan McKay

             Community Leader

Bonnie Towne

            Community Leader

Eric Trott

              Premera Blue Cross

Tom Walsh

             Community Leader

Tracy Wellens

             Gnosis Research

Kenneth Willman

             Russell Investments


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Plan Your Visit

Whether this is your first visit to The 5th Avenue Theatre or your 50th, we want to ensure that you enjoy every moment. If you have any questions about  the theater accommodations or services, please call 206-625-1900 or e-mail info@5thavenue.org.

Arrival Time
Productions begin promptly, so please arrive at least 15 minutes early. Doors open 45 minutes before the show and seating begins 30 minutes before the curtain.

Late Seating
Patrons arriving late will be seated at the first suitable pause in the performance in the least disruptive location. Following intermission, an usher will help you find your seat.

All performances will take place as scheduled, regardless of weather conditions.

the 5th Avenue Theatre welcomes children 4 years of age and older.  Children under 4, including babes in arms, will not be admitted. 5th Avenue productions are generally suitable for ages 8 and above. Complimentary booster seats are available at the Coat Check.

Some shows deal with mature themes and may not be appropriate for all children. For information on whether a particular show is suitable for your child, please see the Parental Guidelines on the production pages of this website.

Emergency Contact
Please leave the following information with your sitter or service, so we can quickly locate you in the event of an emergency:

  • Theatre Coat Check Phone:  206-625-1294
  • Your seat location: aisle, section, row, and seat number

Coat Check & Assistive Devices
Complimentary Coat Check is located in the lobby next to Aisle 3. You may check any item you don’t wish to carry into the theater. Booster seats and Braille playbills are available at no charge.  Binoculars may be rented for $5.00.

Food & Drinks
Refreshments are available for purchase on both levels of the lobby before the performance and during intermission. Drinks may be pre-ordered for intermission. Candy and beverages purchased at the lobby concession stand may be brought into the theatre. Beverages must be in a bottle with cap or a theater cup with lid.

Ticket Exchanges
You may exchange your tickets, if you do so 24 hours or more prior to your scheduled performance date.  Subscribers may exchange tickets for free.  Single-ticket buyers are charged an exchange fee.  Please note:  Tickets are non-refundable.

You may also donate your tickets back to the non-profit  5th Avenue Theatre and receive a donation receipt for your income taxes. Please call 206-625-1900 prior to your performance  to arrange a ticket donation.

Lost Tickets
If you lose or forget your tickets, please call 206-625-1900 or 888-5TH-4TIX for a replacement. You may pick up your tickets at the Box Office on the day of the show.

Third-Party Tickets
We strongly discourage patrons from purchasing tickets through outside vendors. Tickets bought from scalpers, brokers or by other third-party means may be counterfeit or inadmissible, and they are often grossly overpriced. These purchases do not benefit the performers, producers or The 5th Avenue Theatre. Purchasing directly from the 5th Avenue Theatre is your best bet for best seats and best available prices.

Cameras & Recorders
The use of cameras and audio recording equipment is strictly prohibited. You may leave these items at the Coat Check.

Smoking Policy
Smoking is not allowed in any part of the theater nor within 25 feet of the theater entrance.

Firearms Policy
No firearms of any kind are allowed in any part of the theater.

Ask an Usher
If you experience any discomfort during a performance, an usher or the house manager will be glad to assist you.