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Miche Braden of East Orange, NJ Crowned Winner of Washington Mutual's Big Shot Talent Contest at Richard Rogers Theater

Ms. Braden Bests Ten Finalists from 200 Entries to Win Chance to Sing & Play

In Finale of an Upcoming Performance of Tony-Winning Musical Movin' Out

NEW YORK, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington Mutual's Big Shot Talent Contest culminated today at the Richard Rogers Theatre after weeks of anticipation and excitement. Ten finalists competed for their Big Shot on Broadway -- the chance to perform live in the hit musical Movin' Out. Ms. Miche Braden of East Orange, NJ was selected as the winner beating out more than 200 singer/piano players who entered the contest by submitting videotapes or performing at live auditions around Manhattan.

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Earlier today, each finalist performed a song from the show before a panel of judges who included Movin' Out producer James L. Nederlander, Movin' Out casting director Sarah Prosser, New York Post music critic/reviewer Dan Aquilante, WPLJ's Scott and Todd and Race Taylor, Sony Classical's Paul Cremo, and Washington Mutual's Marc Maietta.

Ms. Braden, who's been singing since the age of three and playing piano since she was six, will perform the finale of an upcoming performance of Movin' Out attended by show producers and Broadway talent agents.

"This is a dream come true for me," an excited Ms. Braden exclaimed. "I've always wanted to appear on Broadway." Ms. Braden also will receive a free checking account (with a $1000 balance) from Washington Mutual. The other finalists will receive free checking accounts with $100 balances.

    The other nine finalists included:

     * Deirdre Broderick, NY, NY         * Kevin Rehill, Yonkers, New York
     * Karen Jacobsen, NY, NY            * Matthew Leland, NY, NY
     * Michael Miceli, Bayonne, NJ       * William Vivino, Wayne, NJ
     * Cooper Grodin, NY, NY             * Tony DeSare, West Orange, NJ
     * John De Guzman, NY, NY

The contest was coordinated with Movin' Out as part of Washington Mutual's ongoing sponsorship of the Broadway musical, and is WaMu's second major event on Broadway. One day last year, Washington Mutual showed its appreciation for area educators by sending 28,000 teachers and their guests to Broadway's top musicals.

The contest is being presented with Movin' Out as part of Washington Mutual's continuing sponsorship of the Broadway musical, and is the company's second major event on Broadway. Last year Washington Mutual bought out Broadway in a show of appreciation for teachers, sending 28,000 teachers and their guests on a single day to all of the hottest musicals.


Movin' Out, conceived, choreographed and directed by Twyla Tharp and based on the songs and music of Billy Joel, is presented by James L. Nederlander, Hal Luftig, Scott E. Nederlander, Terry Allen Kramer, Clear Channel Entertainment and Emanuel Azenberg, is the story of lifelong friends through two turbulent decades that change them and the world around them forever told through the choreography of Twyla Tharp and 25 Billy Joel songs. The musical, now playing at the Richard Rogers Theatre, was recognized by Time Magazine as "The #1 Show of the Year" and received two 2003 Tony Awards - for Ms. Tharp (Best Choreography) and for Mr. Joel (Best Orchestrations - with Stuart Malina).


With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) is a retailer of financial services that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and commercial clients. At Sept. 30, 2003, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $286.72 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,700 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are available at

SOURCE  Washington Mutual
    -0-                             11/18/2003
    /CONTACT:  Derek Aney of Washington Mutual, +1-646-521-3327,
    /Photo:  NewsCom:
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              PRN Photo Desk,
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CO:  Washington Mutual
ST:  New York

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