A delightful assortment of Broadway crowd-pleasers comprise the Victoria Theatre Association’s very strong 2017-2018 season.
The VTA’s Premier Health Broadway Series, Projects Unlimited Star Attractions, Morris Company Family Series, and National Geographic Live! Series were announced Monday, Feb. 27 in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center. Overseen by VTA President and CEO Ken Neufeld who revealed titles along with staff members, the ceremony, framed by the welcoming theme “Our Stages Await,” gathered over 650 Victoria ticket holders, donors, sponsors, and friends.
The upbeat, six-show Broadway Series consists of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hispanic-meets-hip-hop “In the Heights” (the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Musical), the local premiere of the 2015 Gershwin-inspired musical “An American in Paris” (featuring director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s absolutely gorgeous Tony Award-winning choreography), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” (a brand new production superbly reconceived by Tony Award-winning director Jack O’Brien of “Hairspray”), the local premiere of the charmingly silly 2016 Tony Award-nominated Renaissance spoof “Something Rotten!” (playfully directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw of “The Book of Mormon”), the return of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s blockbuster “The Phantom of the Opera” (featuring new staging and design), and the local premiere of the 2014 Tony and Grammy Award-winning hit “Beautiful –The Carole King Musical” (chronicling the rise of King’s career as an iconic songwriter).
In addition, the Pittsburgh CLO and Kansas City Starlight’s production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” will kick off the Projects Unlimited Star Attractions, a promising slate including the Bollywood-driven “Mystic India,” “A Christmas Carol,” “A Christmas Story” (a collaboration with the Human Race Theatre Company), and the return of illusionist Adam Trent.
Surprise guests included Sarah Bockel who understudies the role of Carole King in the Broadway production of “Beautiful” and Nick Rashad Burroughs currently on tour as the Minstrel in “Something Rotten!” Bockel particularly performed King’s tender ballad “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and toe-tapping “Beautiful.”
“Carole King” is such an inspiration,” Bockel said. “Her lyrics are so simple yet deep that anyone can connect with them. ‘A Natural Woman’ means so many things to so many people, (the feeling) you’re perfect the way you are. This show is about an everyday woman – a daughter, a mom, a wife – who is just trying to live her best life. She’s trying to take care of the people she loves. She’s a woman going through heartbreak but in doing so finds herself.”
‘‘Something Rotten!’ is ridiculously funny,” Burroughs noted. “It’s truly a love letter to musicals that’s lighthearted and tuneful.”
Musical selections were also offered by three students from Wright State University’s Musical Theatre Department. Eli Davis introduced “An American in Paris” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” Lauren Everett performed “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music.” Alejandra Solis performed “Breathe” from “In the Heights.”
Premier Health Broadway Series
(all shows at Schuster Center)
In the Heights (Oct. 3-8, 2017)
An American in Paris (Nov. 7-12, 2017)
The Sound of Music (Feb. 13-18, 2018)
Something Rotten! (March 20-25, 2018)
The Phantom of the Opera (April 11-22, 2018)
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (May 22-27, 2018)
Mystic India: The World Tour (Oct. 26, 2017 – Schuster Center)
A Christmas Carol (Nov. 28-29, 2017 – Victoria Theatre)
The Illusionists Present Adam Trent (Dec. 3, 2017 – Schuster Center)
A Christmas Story (Dec 12-17, 2017 – Victoria Theatre)
Morris Furniture Company Family Series
(all shows at Victoria Theatre)
How I Became a Pirate (Nov. 4, 2017)
Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Jan. 20, 2018)
Step Afrika! (March 3, 2018)
Journey to Oz (April 7-8, 2018)
The Olate Dogs Variety Show: Rescue Tour (May 5, 2018)
National Geographic Live! Series
(TBA, all lectures at Victoria Theatre)
Season tickets are on sale for the Premier Health Broadway Series. New Season Ticket Holders will be seated once current Season Ticket Holders’ renewals are fulfilled. Renewal packets for all current Premier Health Broadway Series Season ticket holders will mail Feb. 28. The deadline for current season ticket holders to request changes to Broadway Season ticket packages is March 13. The deadline to renew 2017-2018 Broadway Season Ticket packages is March 20. Season Ticket sales for the Morris Furniture Company Family Series and National Geographic Live Series begin later in the spring, as well as new packages for the Projects Unlimited Star Attractions. Additional Star Attractions will be announced at a later date. For more information, call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com or www.victoriaheatre.com