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The 5th Avenue Theatre's David Armstrong to join UW Drama faculty with new course: The Broadway Musical

Submitted by Holly Arsenault on February 8, 2019 - 11:19am
2007 Production of West Side Story at the 5th Avenue Theatre / Photo by Chris Bennion
2007 Production of West Side Story at the 5th Avenue Theatre / Photo by Chris Bennion

We are thrilled to share that David Armstrong, who recently stepped down as Executive Producer and Artistic Director of The 5th Avenue Theatre after 18 years in that position, will join our faculty this spring, teaching a brand new course: The Broadway Musical. The course is an historical and cultural study of the Broadway musical, examining how this uniquely American artform was predominantly created by outcasts from mainstream society. It surveys the evolution of Broadway musicals, including the mid-20th Century “Golden Age” and their current, 21st Century resurgence, and explores how musicals have both reflected and shaped American culture -- especially in regard to issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, social justice, and equality.

David Armstrong HeadshotDuring Armstrong's tenure at the 5th, the company produced 18 new musicals, 9 of which went on to have Broadway productions including the Tony-winning productions of Hairspray and Memphis. He helped guide the 5th Avenue Theatre to a position as one of the nation's leading musical theatre companies. As a director, Armstrong helmed the 5th Avenue productions of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well & Living in Paris, A Room With a ViewOliver!, CandideSweeney ToddHAIRA Little Night MusicCompanyHello, Dolly!Anything GoesMAMEPippinThe Secret GardenVanitiesWhite ChristmasThe Rocky Horror ShowYankee Doodle Dandy, and Saving Aimee. He made his Broadway directing debut with the musical, Scandalous (which started at The 5th Avenue as Saving Aimee). He has also written the books for the musicals The Wonder Years (winner of seven Drama-Logue Awards), Gold Rush, and Yankee Doodle Dandy! 

This course offers students a golden opportunity to learn about a thoroughly American artform from one of its eminent practitioners. We do expect this course to fill quickly, so be sure to register ASAP!

Offered as DRAMA 171, this 5-credit course has no pre-requisites, and is open to all UW undergraduates. It satisfies both VLPA (Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts) and DIV (Diversity) general education requirements. Registration priority period 1 for Spring quarter 2019 open February 15th. Course details are available here.