For High School Students

Register NOW! Deadline extended through Thursday, April 21st!

Join The 5th Avenue's own Orlando Morales -

Songwriting for Musical Theater!

What makes an effective musical theater song?  How do you start the process of writing a musical theater song? If you are one of those who has lyric-like poetry or original melodies constantly generating stories in your mind, this may be the class for you!  Whether you’re an aspiring composer/lyricist or a performer, a closer look at the craft of musical theater songwriting will offer unique insight into the musical theater genre and its evolving forms.

Monday, April 25, 2016
3:30 PM- 6:30 PM
For High School Students, ages 14-18
Tuition: $30.00

Click here to register

Orlando Morales is a Seattle-based musician, educator, and songwriter.  He is currently Director of Rising Star Project and Internships at The 5th Avenue Theatre, and a member of The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Writers Group, whose original musical theater pieces will be featured during an upcoming New Works presentation. Orlando was selected for the AMTP Johnny Mercer Songwriters Workshop (2008) and was a semi-finalist for the Eugene O'Neill National Music Theater Conference (2014).

The 5th Avenue Theatre is one of the nation’s leading producers and creators of new work, having premiered over 16 original musicals in the past 10 years.  The 5th’s New Works Program operates year-round to foster the creation of new musicals. From the smallest kernel of an idea to a main stage production, the New Works Program is committed to creating a positive and safe environment that supports the unique needs of each project.



Workshops for High School Students

If you are a high school student with a strong interest in technical theater, then TECH TUESDAY is for you! 

Tech students  – Take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn by watching the detailed work done in professional technical rehearsals.  

At this workshop, you will tour backstage, observe the various teams setting and adjusting cues at rehearsal, and meet working theater professionals and technicians. You will also enjoy a pizza party and receive a ticket to a preview performance of the mainstage production which you observe in rehearsal. 

Now Registering!
Tech Tuesday- Paint Your Wagon

May 31, 2016

Workshops are for high school students, ages 14–18 only. Parents or chaperones who wish to attend the later performance with their students may contact the Box Office at 206-625-1900 to purchase tickets by phone or may purchase tickets online.

Click here to register!

Registration forms for each upcoming workshop will be posted four weeks prior to the Tech Tuesday event date!

Tech Tuesdays are sponsored in part by The Morgan Fund.


Musical Theater Summer School for Middle School Students

August 1-12, 2016

Weekdays, 10AM-2PM or 2PM-6PM
for Middle School Students ages 11-13
All Classes will be held at The 5th Avenue Theatre

Singing! Acting! Dancing!
These are the three core skills which musical theater
performers study for their whole careers. In this fully rounded
course of study, especially designed for the middle school age,
students will develop these disciplines, while gaining confidence
and enjoying the camaraderie that theater can build.

Click here to register!

Call (206) 625-1418, if you would like a brochure sent to you.
Click here for information about scholarships and financial aid.  

We look forward to having your students join us this summer for these classes and more:

SINGING:  Singing with Freedom

Song interpretation is built on two elements: What story am I telling? How can my voice best be used to tell that story? In this class students will explore how the text and melody of songs are used to tell a story and how connecting to breath and brain can help tell those song stories with freedom and purpose. 

ACTING:  Creating A Character:

Students will learn techniques to create character by connecting mind, emotion and physicality to fulfill objectives, then applying those skills with confidence to theatrical roles and situations.  Exercises include styles of movement, use of the speaking voice, improvisation and understanding text and context. 

DANCING:  Musical Theater Dance:

Whether you are a new dancer or have trained before, you will develop your skills
 in this fundamental class.  Students will begin with a comprehensive warm-up, after
which they will work on steps and combination in the various musical theater styles
including jazz, tap and ballet.

Cancellation Policy: 50% refundable if cancelled by May 30, 2016. No refunds after May 30, 2016



Workshops for High School Students

Especially for high school students with an interest in musical theater, these workshops give students the opportunity to create the characters, sing the songs, learn the choreography, and meet with the cast and crew for the productions on our stage. At each workshop, the participants enjoy a pizza party, see the show, and attend a talkback with the cast after the evening's performance--all for only $25!


Fridays at The 5th: Paint Your Wagon

Mark you calendar now -
Friday, June 17, 2016, 3:30PM – 11PM
Registration will open May 5th!

No experience is necessary, just a willingness to have fun, jump in and try something new. 

Fridays at The 5th workshops are for students ages 14-18.


  • Paint Your Wagon - June 17, 2016
  • A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - July 15, 2016

Registration for each workshop opens one month prior the workshop date. 



The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) and The 5th Avenue Theatre are partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for the Seattle pilot program of the inaugural NEA Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for 2016. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the NEA and Playbill, Inc., are joining forces with support from Disney Theatrical Group to highlight and nurture the next generation of songwriting talent with the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge. The pilot program is available to high school students residing in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Dallas County, TX; and Seattle and King County, WA

Contest winners from the each of these locations will travel with chaperones to New York City in July 2016 to participate in a program of artist workshops, recording sessions with professional musicians and performances of the selected works. The national winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship award, and each national runner-up will receive $2,500. Scholarships are provided by the National Music Publishers’ Association Supporting Our Next Generation of Songwriters (S.O.N.G.S.) Foundation. In addition, the national winner’s song will be published by Sony/ATV.

Submissions may be written in any style or genre, including but not limited to rock, electronic/pop, soul, folk, punk, rap, jazz and opera.  To honor our rich tradition of songwriting collaborations, two students may apply as a songwriting team, or one student may create both the lyrics/backstory and the music. 


Online application opens February 17. To apply, click here.


11 p.m., Monday, April 4, 2016 (Pacific Standard Time)


Workshops are available with local professionals on writing narrative music and lyrics for the stage. Attendees will be taught classic effective songwriting techniques and creative best practices, and will be given active feedback on in-progress works. Workshops are free, but registration is required. Workshops are open to students in grades 9-12 only. To register for a workshop, click here.

Workshop dates

Tuesday, March 8, 2016; 4 – 6 p.m.
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
104 17th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

Tuesday, March 15, 2016; 4 – 6 p.m.
Kentridge High School
12430 SE 208th St, Kent, WA 98031

Tuesday, March 22, 2016; 4 – 6 p.m.
Ingraham High School
1819 N 135th St, Seattle, WA 98133


  • All students in grades 9-12 attending high school in King County are eligible. This includes public, private, homeschool, post-secondary enrollment options, and charter school students
  • All applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
  • If under 18, applicants must have permission from their parent or guardian by providing their parent or legal guardian’s email, phone number, and address.
  • Relatives of those working for the NEA, local partners and national partners (Playbill, Inc. and Disney Theatrical Group) or affiliated contractors and sponsors may not compete past the local/state level.


The Rising Star Project welcomes a remarkable team of teenagers into the our theater to remount a full-length musical on our historic stage. 

This year's Rising Star Project production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying will use the sets and costumes of the professional production and employ the talents of 79 students representing over 50 schools across Washington State in every aspect of the theater industry—from the cast and orchestra to arts administration and the backstage technicians.  

Come and see an amazing group of young people perform a critically-acclaimed production and join us in celebrating the power of theater in developing future leaders and artists.  Click here for ticket information.

Applications for the 2016/17 Rising Star Project cohort will be available May 2016.  You can download an example of last year's application here.



Rising Star Project is an educational program offered tuition-free to Washington State students. Please note that participants are responsible for expenses associated with day-to-day transportation and meals. 

Rising Star Project is made possible by a generous grant from The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation and with additional support from The Herman and Faye Sarkowsky Charitable Foundation, Susie and Phil Stoller, The Boeing Company, Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the ArtsGM Nameplate, Jean K. Lafromboise Foundation, Nichols Foundation, and Promotion Arts (in-kind).



This program is available to all Washington State students ages 14-19.  Eligible participants are within this age range for the majority of the project timeline.



2015/16 Rising Star Project TEAMS & ROLES Photo Gallery

Rising Star Project focuses on career exploration and the development of professional skills.  Participants are embedded within a working department at The 5th Avenue Theatre.  Professional mentors work with students to learn skills and execute tasks that are crucial to the day-to-day operations of a regional theater company.  Students have the opportunity to apply for vocational teams in the following areas:


A professional musical would not be possible if not for dedicated teams who cast, produce, secure funding for, and market the production.

THE PRODUCING TEAM is mentored by the Casting Associate, Associate Production Manager, and Company Manager,  Projects include facilitating general auditions and casting, producing the Rising Star Project cabaret fundraiser, and attending to the needs of the Rising Star Project cast and company,  Strong candidates have a strong interest in the theater industry or business (thespians, FBLA), are good collaborators, have leadership experience (student government, team athletics), and are comfortable working under deadlines.

THE DEVELOPMENT TEAM is mentored by members of the theater’s Development department and is responsible for raising funds for the Rising Star Project production.  This team will set a fundraising goal and then create and execute various campaigns to reach their goal.  Strong candidates are interested in professional networking and Arts advocacy, are involved in fundraising and service clubs (Key Club, ASB), and are passionate about the Arts and its impact on our community.

THE MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS TEAM is mentored by the Senior Marketing Manager and the PR & Communication Manager—with opportunities to shadow graphic designers and production photographers.  Projects include writing press releases, designing marketing, and coordinating social media campaigns. Strong candidates are interested in marketing and advertising careers, are involved in marketing clubs (DECA), and are strong writers or have graphic design, photography, and digital video production skills.  Specific roles on this team include:  Production Photographer, Graphic Designer



Behind the scenes, professional musicals require the technical expertise of dedicated craftspeople who take on the additional role of mentoring Rising Star Project participants.

HAIR & MAKEUP TEAM will learn essential skills and industry best practices for hair, wigs and makeup. In addition, Hair & Makeup students will put wigs and makeup on actors and perform changes during performances.

COSTUMES & WARDROBE TEAM will learn how to fit costumes on actors, alter pieces and “rig” them for quick changes as well as have the opportunity to analyze costume designs and learn about the design process. Students will also iron and prep costumes for the show, assist with quick changes, and “run” the wardrobe aspects of the show backstage during performances.

THE STAGE CREW will learn industry safety standards and best practices need to run all technical aspects of a professional musical.  Specific roles on this team include:

  • Deck Carpenter
  • Props
  • Light Board Operator / Electrics
  • Automation
  • Flyrail
  • Sound



THE CAST will be mentored primarily by theater professionals working on the Rising Star Project creative team—with opportunities to work with members of the professional cast of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.  General auditions for student performers will take place October 12-19.  Strong candidates will demonstrate commitment to the project schedule and a passion for collaboration.

THE ORCHESTRA will be mentored by musicians who play for the professional production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.  Students will rehearse and perform the score for the Rising Star Project production.  Ideal candidates are interested in professional music careers, have experience playing in advanced ensembles, and have an interest in learning diverse musical styles. Musicians should submit a complete application.  Strong candidates will be invited to also submit a video audition or to audition in person.

How to Succeed instrumentation:  piccolo, flute, clarinet, all saxophones, oboe/English horn, trumpet, french horn, trombone, bass trombone, violin, keyboard, percussion, drum set, bass

THE CREATIVE TEAM will by mentored by members of the Rising Star Project creative team.  Strong candidates will have specific interest in pursuing a career in their respective field as well as developed knowledge and expertise, and demonstrated experience in a leadership position.  Interested students will apply for one of the following roles:  Choreography, Directing

STAGE MANAGEMENT TEAM will be mentored by a professional 5th Avenue stage management team and will be responsible for rehearsal preparation, coordinating rehearsals, running technical rehearsals, and overseeing technical aspects of performances. Ideal candidates are passionate about being organized, experienced leaders, detail-oriented, and interested in learning one of the most crucial roles of putting on a show.


The Rising Star Project uses the resources and professional knowledge that exist at The 5th Avenue Theatre to help every young person achieve a fulfilling career, a stronger sense of self, and confidence in their ability to inspire positive change in the world.

Within this mission, we endeavor to:

  1. take a proactive role in creating  a theater community which is inclusive and representative of our region;
  2. provide students with direct mentorship from working theater professionals, introducing them to the diversity of viable careers in the theater industry;
  3. create a collaborative and authentic learning environment in regard to professional practices and expectations;
  4. connect students to American musicals not only as vehicles for self-expression, but also as significant artistic achievements, rich texts, and unique expressions of our nation’s history and heritage; and
  5. support classroom learning by providing quality arts-based education experiences for students—both at The 5th and in-residence throughout the community and in areas where opportunities for arts education are limited.

In March 3-5, 2016, following the professional production, local students (ages 14-19) will presented an all-student production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on the 5th Avenue stage.

A study guide for How to Succeedl is available for download.

The Rising Star Project is made possible through a generous grant from The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation.