"The Lion King" will come roaring back to Orlando in April 2012 for a monthlong engagement.
The Florida Theatrical Association's next touring Broadway season also includes these treats: The restaging of "Les Miserables" to celebrate the musical's 25th anniversary and the acclaimed Lincoln Center production of "South Pacific."
Rounding out the season, announced today, will be the new Broadway musical "The Addams Family," the revival of "La Cage aux Folles" and 10-time Tony winner "Billy Elliot" — which means actress Faith Prince might make it to Orlando.
Prince had been scheduled to perform in the Orlando Philharmonic's October concert staging of "Guys and Dolls" but dropped out when she was cast in the "Billy Elliot" tour.
The season kicks off in November with "The Addams Family," which opened on Broadway last spring to withering reviews from critics, who especially disparaged the story line. Fans of the kooky television family led by romantic Gomez and deadpan Morticia will undoubtedly be pleased to know that Thing and Cousin Itt (a dismembered hand and hairball, respectively) make cameo appearances in the musical comedy.
The other productions have all been critically acclaimed.
The 2008 revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" won the Tony for outstanding musical revival that year. The sweeping, romantic tale effectively inserts the gravitas of war and discrimination among the lighthearted "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" and "There Is Nothing Like a Dame."
"Les Miserables" has received a makeover for its 25th anniversary tour — gone is the turntable so associated with the original production. Instead, projections based on paintings by "Les Miz" author Victor Hugo are used to change the scenes and move the sprawling story along. Jean Valjean's quest to do what is right remains the same, as do the familiar songs, including "I Dreamed a Dream" and "On My Own."
"Billy Elliot" retells the story of the movie of the same name, set to music. A boy in a rough-and-tumble British mining town dreams of being a dancer. The dancing is spectacular, the music is by pop star Elton John. Among the show's Tony awards: Best musical and best choreography.
Disney's smash hit "The Lion King," which last stopped in Orlando in December 2006, is a visual feast of puppetry and choreography. The story of young Simba's quest to take his place in the circle of life plays out to music also by John. The Carr seating will once again be rearranged to allow more aisles for the spectacular procession of animal puppets that opens the show.
Rounding out the season, is "La Cage aux Folles," also a Tony winner for best musical revival. The story — which was used by the movie "The Birdcage" — tells of gay nightclub owner Georges, whose partner Albin performs at the club in drag. Their son is newly engaged — but her father is an ultra-conservative politician, necessitating a comical deception when the families meet. It's a fun story of love and acceptance, with such classic Jerry Herman songs as "I Am What I Am" and "The Best of Times."
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Broadway touring season
The Addams Family: Nov. 1-6
South Pacific: Dec. 6-11
Les Miserables: Jan. 17-22, 2012
Billy Elliot: The Musical: Feb. 15-26, 2012
The Lion King: April 17-May 13, 2012
La Cage aux Folles: June 5-10, 2012
•Tickets: Season tickets go on sale today and cost $170-$600, depending on performance time and seating. All performances are at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. For more information, call 1-800-448-6322 or go to OrlandoBroadway.com.