Thursday, April 05, 2012

Broadway Series 2012-13 announced


There was no doubt while Gina Vernaci, the Cleveland Play House Square’s Senior Vice President of Theater Operations was announcing the 2012-13 Key Bank’s Broadway series in the Westfield Insurance Studio Theatre, that something special was happening. The applause continued to get louder and louder as Vernaci added one pleasing offering after another.
The series opens with ANYTHING GOES which received the 2011 Tony Award for a winning revival. The Cole Porter 1934 musical will be staged by director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall. The production will rehearse in Cleveland for its tour and will open here. Performances are set for October 2 through 14.
The touring production will star Rachel York as Reno Sweeney, who was present for the Key Bank preview. The dynamic York played Fantine in LES MISERABLES on Broadway, and Marguerite in the second Broadway version of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. Her other Broadway productions include CITY OF ANGELS, VICTOR VICTORIA, SLY FOX and DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS.
In a one-on-one interview, York, who declares that she is a perfectionist, finds that touring, and living out of suitcase is going to be a challenge as she is a new mother and will be bringing her child on the tour. She finds that every opening night in each city is a major challenge. The different audiences and new venues presents an interesting challenge.
Following ANYTHING GOES will be a new staging of Disney’s Beauty & the Beast from November 6 through 18.
The Bette Midler produced PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, which won a 2011 Tony Award for costumes, will disco into town from January 15-27. This is a quirky show of a troupe of cross-dressers traveling Australia in a rocking tour.
Another super star, Whoopi Goldberg, is the producer of SISTER ACT, based on her 1992 movie. The feel good musical, which has been called “ridiculously fun” will be on the local stage from March 5-17
My review of WAR HORSE, which I saw on stage at Lincoln Center ended with the statement: “Filled with amazing puppetry, stirring music, a riveting story, compelling graphics, and fine acting, WARHORSE is mesmerizing theatre. It is a once in a lifetime theatrical experience. To be honest, I never expected the show to tour…there are just to many technical wonders to reproduce. I’m so excited to see how the masters who created the show pull it off. You may have seen the movie, but it was a light-weight compared to the stage production. See Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa’s amazing puppets in action from April 9 through 21, 2013.
GUYS AND DOLLS, Damon Runyon’s sit down your rockin’ the boat musical will be a joint production with Great Lakes Theatre. It will be staged in the intimate Hanna Theatre from May 1 through June 23.
The season climaxes with THE BOOK OF MORMON, Broadway’s hottest ticket. My review of the show was, “THE BOOK OF MORMON is one fun ride that takes on religion, the Broadway musical, life and strife, and comes out the winner. It’s a precious laugh delight.” Unfortunately, the Trey Parker/Matt Stone hilarious musical will only be at the Palace Theatre for three weeks, so the odds of getting tickets will probably necessitate buying a season ticket. With the quality of what’s scheduled, that should be a no brainer.

Find details at