The World Awaits, 2014-2015
By Richard Schultz, Aug. 27, 2014.
Without a doubt, touring shows are a major component in the Valley arts scene. This year, these diverse offerings include Broadway favorites along with innovative new shows, familiar faces and cult classics.
Back on Broadway for the first time since it thrilled audiences 40 years ago, this show, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence. Will he choose a happy but simple life? Or will he risk everything for a singular flash of glory? This captivating new production features a beloved score by Stephen Schwartz of Wicked fame, sizzling choreography in the style of Bob Fosse and breathtaking acrobatics.
One of the most enduring shows of all time, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s timeless family musical about the trials and triumphs of Joseph, Israel’s favorite son. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Andy Blankenbuehler, this new production will feature Broadway/television star Diana DeGarmo (9 to 5, Hairspray, Hair) as The Narrator and Broadway star Ace Young (Grease, Hair) as Joseph. Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colors, this magical musical is full of unforgettable songs including “Those Canaan Days,” “Any Dream Will Do” and “Close Every Door.”
The classic cinematic story is now an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensational dancing. Seen by millions across the globe, this worldwide smash hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. Featuring the hit songs, “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and the heart-stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”
This Tony Award-winning Broadway musical continues to delight audiences with its contemporary take on the classic tale. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the classic moments — the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more — plus some surprising new twists! Audiences will be transported back to their childhood through Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago,” in this hilarious and romantic Broadway experience for anyone who’s ever had a wish, a dream ... or a really great pair of shoes.
This jazzy musical defines Broadway at its best with an universal tale of fame and fortune and one show-stopping-song after another; plus astonishing dancing. It’s been honored with 6 Tony Awards, a Grammy and thousands of standing ovations. Whether its your first Broadway musical, whether you’ve seen the Academy Award-winning film and want to experience the show live on stage or whether you’ve seen it before and want to recapture the magic, CHICAGO always delivers.
What began as one man’s story became everyone’s music. This is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat including classic songs such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
May 27-June 5
Following an acclaimed sold-out tour of the United Kingdom, Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s phenomenal musical success, returns as part of a brand new North American tour. This production features a brilliant new scenic design, Tony Award-winning original costume design, new choreography and a new staging. The production, overseen by Matthew Bourne and Cameron Mackintosh, boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier. The beloved story and thrilling score — with songs like “Music of the Night,” “All I Ask Of You,” and “Masquerade” — will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this one of the largest productions on tour.
Flashdance – The Musical
Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, this pop culture phenomenon tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and a bar dancer by night with dreams of one day becoming a professional performer. When romance with her steel mill boss threatens to complicate her ambitions, Alex learns the meaning of love and its power to fuel the pursuit of her dream. The score that includes the biggest hit songs from the movie, including the Academy Award-winning title song “Flashdance — What a Feeling,” “Maniac,” “Gloria,” “Manhunt,” and “I Love Rock & Roll.”
This beautiful love story comes to life in this lush, romantic Broadway musical for all generations. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, this classic musical love story is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes and dazzling production numbers including “Be Our Guest” and the beloved title song.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Jan. 7-11 (See ASU Gammage for show description)
February 24-March 1
Set in vivid, mid-20th century New York City and buoyed by a Frank Loesser score that ranks among the greatest works in theater history, this American classic has been called “the perfect musical comedy.” Featuring an eclectic ensemble of high-rolling gambler “guys,” well-meaning missionary “dolls” and brassy-voiced showgirls, this toe-tapping and romantic fable about gambling men and the strong-willed women who love them.
March 31-April 5
Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, Once is an enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights, but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than any everyday romance.
In New York City at the turn of the 20th century, Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies’ dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.
Older and Hotter adds hilarity to everyday life for an unparalleled evening of laughter. Robin Duke (Saturday Night Live), Jayne Eastwood (Hairspray), Kathryn Greenwood (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and Teresa Pavlinek (The Jane Show) have wowed audiences with their uproarious sketches and songs. It’s like having coffee with the girls. This is “grown-up” humor, shaped by living, working and raising a family.
Chicago’s comedy powerhouse The Second City is opening up their vaults to celebrate 55 years of laughter. The performance presents the ultimate peek behind the curtain as the superstars of tomorrow revisit the legendary best of the best created by some of the biggest names in the business. It’s the perfect fusion of Second City’s hysterical history, the comically cutting-edge future and its world-famous improv.
Produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and the show’s writer/performer Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, this multimedia one-woman show incorporates film, photographs and animation to examine how “race” has been constructed in the United States and how it can influence our most intimate relationships.
On the weekend of his marriage, a Jazz Age playboy gets involved with bootleggers, rumrunners and gold diggers, all to the tunes of George and Ira Gershwin. The champagne flows and the gin fizzes in this hilarious, Tony-winning new musical comedy. The sparkling score includes “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “‘S Wonderful” and “Fascinating Rhythm.”
This hilarious, record-breaking Canadian musical, unleashes its mayhem and fun as it tells the outrageous story of five college friends spending the weekend in an abandoned cabin in the woods after accidentally unleashing an evil force that turns them all into demons. Those familiar with the show will remember that audience members sitting in the designated “Splatter Zone” get covered in fake blood as the production incorporates some fun ‘real-life’ effects. In addition to some dismembered limbs, demons telling bad jokes and catchy tunes, the show features a saucy combination of wit and sexual innuendos.
The contradictions of modern India with its iPhones and ancient gods come alive in this outrageously funny and heartbreakingly beautiful romantic thriller. A poor chaiwallah (tea seller) has his life changed forever when a young girl is abandoned at a busy railway station and brings the place to a standstill with the beauty of her singing.
With personal anecdotes and reflections drawn from their work together, acclaimed British actor Julian Sands (A Room with a View, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 24) combines Harold Pinter’s poems and prose to create a fresh and intimate portrait of the Nobel laureate and his extraorindary literary legacy. In 2005, Sands was approached by Pinter to prepare a set of his poems for a special presentation in London. Working closely with Pinter, he was granted a rare insight into his personality, life and work. This extraordinary collaboration evolved into this wonderfully humorous and fascinating solo show directed by John Malkovich.
Called “The Last Leading Man” by The New York Times, Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a rich and varied career on Broadway, television and film. Known for his powerful baritone, he earned the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in the Broadway revival of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate. His recent projects range from guest starring on the hit show Glee to his latest album, Simply Broadway, featuring new interpretations of classic recordings of the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
(See Broadway in Tucson description)
Mesa Arts Center
This four-time Tony Award-winning show tells the story of the time-honored legend of King Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table in an enchanting fable of chivalry, majesty and brotherhood. When Queen Guenevere and the dashing Sir Lancelot, the most trusted knight, give in to their passions, one of the most fabled love triangles of all time ensues.
Guys and Dolls
(See Broadway in Tucson description)
Before The Beatles or The Rolling Stones ever played a note, rock ‘n’ roll was forever changed by a 19-year-old kid from Texas. This musical tells the true story of Buddy’s meteoric rise to fame and features his greatest hits, including “That’ll Be the Day,” “Peggy Sue” and “Oh, Boy!”