There’s usually something “spectacular” in any new Broadway/LA new season announcement…as in, something that will probably be a spectacle the likes of which can only fit in a theater the size of the Pantages. This is the venue where touring Broadway musicals come to roost, where “The Lion King” comes – or, as the case may be, where it returns. The Pantages has been home – semi long-term – to engagements of “Wicked” and “Phantom of the Opera” and, most recently, “The Book of Mormon.”
Hang on to those titles. You will hear some of them again before my ramblings have run their course. Of the nine announced titles for Broadway/LA’s 2013-14, four are return engagements, one is a new version of a well-known show and one is a compilation of a composer whose name, given the title of this post, you can probably guess.
L.A. audiences will finally see the musical that won the 2012 Tony Award for best Musical...in the summer of 2014! And we’ll get a return of what can now be considered an old “War Horse.”
First, the Andrew Lloyd Webber news. Hope you like him, since he will be extremely well-represented.
Beginning in September, we’ll get Lloyd Webber’s new adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” with Jeremy Sams who also directs. The production (September 17 – October 6, 2013 ) will features new songs by Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice as well as the songs we all know by heart from the MGM film.
…New songs for “The Wizard of Oz” from Andrew Lloyd Webber? Like “Don’t Cry for me, Kansas”?...Sorry, couldn’t resist…
Barely two weeks after “The Wizard of Oz” moves out to find the Yellow Brick Road in another city, in comes another Lloyd/Webber treasure, this one the touring version of the latest Broadway revival of “Evita” directed by Michael Grandage. If you’re reading this post, I’m assuming you know that “Evita” tells the tale of one wife of an Argentinian president. The Broadway revival closed in January, and likely as not, Ricky Martin, Elena Roger and Michael Cerveris will not be touring, but the casting of this one should be worth watching. There are those among us who consider “Evita” to be Lloyd Webber’s finest musical.
“Evita” plays October 23 – November 10, 2013.
Just before Thanksgiving, we’ll get the aforementioned return of “Disney’s The Lion King,” the beast’s first return to the Pantages since way back in…2006! Granted the Julie Taymor-directed musical, which is legitimately a spectacle, has a place in the city’s musical history having sat down at the Pantages for a couple of years in 2000 and prompted a $10 million renovation of the theater. (The return visit is Nov. 20-Jan. 12, 2014.)
Those who couldn’t snag tickets to the record-breaking run of “The Book of Mormon” when it was at the Pantages in 2012 will have another crack at catching those poor blighted missionaries subjected to all kinds of indignities in Africa by the creators of “South Park.” It’s a quickie run this time, Jan. 21-Feb. 9 and the season ticket holders get the first crack at it.
Next, just when we might have been jones-ing for an Andrew Lloyd Webber fix, along comes “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber,” one of these greatest hits compilations with tunes from all his well-known shows: “Song and Dance”, “Phantom of the Opera,” “Evita,” “Cats,” “Starlight Express, ”Jesus Christ Superstar,” and – presumably for the first time in L.A. a song or two from the “Phantom” sequel “Love Never Dies.”
This will play from June 3-22 which leaves a great gaping ALW hole since the shuttering of “Evita.”
OK, not so gaping. Filling said hole will be a return engagement of a show that played not the Pantages, but the Ahmanson: “American Idiot,” (May 13-18), a sorta jukebox musical featuring the songs of “Green Day.” I was hoping that the season announcement might contain synopsis of the story. Having seen the musical (and written about a rather interesting weekday matinee of “Idiot” in this very space), I still don’t know what the hell it was about. But you’ll hear songs like “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and “Holiday.”
Post “Music of ALW,” comes a title that has legitimately never been here before: “Ghost the Musical” with music by David Stewart and a book by Bruce Joel Rubin who wrote the screenplay on which the musical is based.
Sam Wheat and Molly are in love. Sam is murdered, but – from beyond – discovers that Molly is in danger, so he goes about protecting her through the use of a huckster psychic named Oda Mae Brown. Figure lots of sentimental tunes and, perhaps, some cool visual effects. We can but hope.
Immediately after the closing of “Ghost,” we finally get a new lauded title, the Tony Award-winning “Once” (July 15 – August 10, 2014) As was the case with the film, “Once” – which has its actors also playing their own music – chronicles a Dublin street musician who's about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights.
(Did I mention that it ticks me off how long it takes Tony winners to get out here on tour?)
Anyway, “Once” closes the season, but there’s one more show sandwiched between “The Wizard of Oz” and “Evita.” That would be “War Horse,” (Oct. 8-13, 2013) the Tony Award-winning (non-musical) play with giant amazing puppets about a boy and his horse that is sold into cavalry combat during World War 1.
Season ticket packages go on sale March 4. Check out www.HollywoodPantages.com or call (866) 755- 2929.