Five For Fighting Hits Olympia: Four, Three, Two, One, Go Get Tickets Today

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Some artists have a breakout hit and rest on their laurels. Others, like John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting, use hits like “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” as a creative springboard into multiple studio LPs, top-10 chart crushing follow-ups, songwriting, composing and winning awards along the way. On Wednesday, April 17, 2024, Ondrasik brings his unique sound – and elegant string quartet – to downtown Olympia’s Washington Center for the Performing Arts and tickets are on sale now.

John Ondrasik playing the guitar on stage
John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting (pictured) brings his popular songbook to downtown Olympia’s Washington Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, April 17. Photo credit: Nikolai Puc Photography

Five For Fighting’s World Class Music and Musicians Take the Washington Center Stage

Ondrasik, who has played Seattle before, is excited for his first visit to Olympia. He explains that when touring with his rock band, large, stadium-type venues are the norm, “but small venues for me are the best place to see singer songwriters. The interaction with the audience is personal, sometimes to the point of actual conversations and requests from concert goers. I also enjoy coming to small towns and meeting people from all walks of life. It allows me to see firsthand the heart of America.”

Throughout a multi-decade career, which began when music publisher Carla Berkowitz, now his wife of 25 years, discovered him in a dive bar, Ondrasik has also been involved in multiple charity efforts. Along with supporting the troops via multiple USO tours, Ondrasik created The CD For the Troops project with song and comedy compilations featuring artists like Billy Joel, Melissa Ethridge, Chris Rock and others, gifting more than one million CDs to veterans and military families. He has also been deeply involved with the ALS charity Augie’s Quest, and is an ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation.

But just because his Olympia appearance is backed by a string quartet, doesn’t mean it will be sedate. Joining Ondrasik on stage are elite Broadway musicians, including lead violinist Katie Kresek who won a Tony Award for Moulin Rouge. “There is nothing like performing with this incredible string quartet,” he says, “They give me chills every night.”

John Ondrasik with his hands up on stage, there is a string quartet behind him
From his 2000s hit ‘Superman (It’s Not Easy)’ until today, Ondrasik’s unique sound and musicality will make this a night to remember. Photo courtesy: Five For Fighting

From Classics like ‘Superman (It’s Not Easy)’ to New Hits, John Ondrasik Wows the Crowd

Referencing Five For Fighting’s success in the 2000s, industry magazines called Ondrasik one of the decade’s leading balladeers. But perhaps his biggest achievement is performing “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” at the 2001 Concert for New York, a benefit show at Madison Square Garden that honored first responders and the fallen about a month after the tragic September 11 attacks. Ondrasik performed alongside other big-name artists like Paul McCartney, The Who, Elton John, Billy Joel and dozens more.

Why choose a string-quartet pivot from his well-received rock career so far? For Ondrasik, the answer is quality and variety. “I have had the honor of working with world class string arrangers throughout my career,” he says, “and the quartet allows me to pull songs out of my catalogue that I don’t typically play with the rock band. They also add a new dimension to popular songs like ‘Superman (It’s Not Easy)’ and ‘100 Years’ and are full of surprises. This format also allows a unique intimacy and the ability for me to tell the stories behind the songs and some of my adventures, both good and not so good, that I have experienced in my career.”

Even if you aren’t familiar with his more well-known pieces, this show is sure to please…and you may just hear a familiar tune. Aside from many years on the radio, Five For Fighting’s music has been featured in more than 350 films, television shows and commercials, including the Oscar-winning “The Blind Side,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Sopranos” and the CBS drama, “Code Black.”

Five for Fighting performing on stage
Ondrasik will be backed by a top-shelf string quartet including Tony Award-winning lead violinist Katie Kresek and other Broadway musicians. Photo courtesy: Five for Fighting

Downtown Olympia is Ready to Rock New F4F Fans and Long-Time Aficionados

If you love music, this show is for you. Ondrasik hopes that his audience is a large cross-section of fans of all ages and backgrounds. “As a dad I have prided myself on these concerts being family friendly,” he says, “and always enjoy parents bringing their young children, which often makes it their first concert. You will certainly hear a song that recognizes our military families as well as a few surprises you might not expect. It is my wish that concert goers sing along and share a few laughs, a few tears and find their spirit lifted as they lift ours.”

Ondrasik isn’t slowing down his songwriting and recording either. He recently released a song called “OK,” which addresses the cultural aftermath of October 7 and its global impact. And his team is developing a song and music project called Let Music Fill My World. This will include a national contest and support for raising awareness of music education in schools. You can sign up for the Five For Fighting newsletter or find recent updates on their website.

You can be a real Superman and buy tickets for the upcoming Washington Center show online or at the Box Office. The performance takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Box Office hours are from noon until 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday and two hours before any ticketed show. Call 360.753.8586 or email boxoffice@washingtoncenter.org with questions.

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