Two of the most acclaimed musicals of the past few years will anchor the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center’s 2019-2020 season, the venue’s president announced Thursday.
“The Band’s Visit,” which in 2018 became one of just four musicals to capture the “big six” Tony Awards (for best musical, book, score, director, actor and actress) will stop at the Hippodrome Theatre March 17-22, 2020. The musical, based on a 2007 film, chronicles what happens after eight Egyptian musicians are accidentally stranded overnight in a small Israeli town and the local residents take them in.
Two months later, “Dear Evan Hansen,” which picked up not just the 2017 Tony Award for best musical but also the 2018 Grammy Award for best musical theater album, visits the theater from May 5-17, 2020. The musical is about two troubled teenage boys — one who disappears, and another who fabricates a friendship with the missing boy so he can become closer to his sister.
The season “is packed with smash hit musicals, both classic and new Broadway productions, as well as several return engagements and Baltimore premieres,” Performing Arts Center Ron Legler said in a news release. “Coming off a record-breaking season for the Hippodrome, we are confident this lineup will continue the tradition of delivering top-quality shows to our dedicated subscribers and patrons.”
It’s likely that the new season will begin with a groundswell of audience interest, generated by the blockbuster show closing this season’s slate of offerings: “Hamilton” will run for nearly a month at the Hippodrome, from June 25-July 21, 2019.
In addition to the shows mentioned above, the 2019-2020 lineup includes:
“The Phantom of the Opera,” Oct. 9-20, 2019. If you thought Andrew Lloyd Webber’s melodrama set in the 19th-century Paris opera house was over the top when it debuted in 1986 with its dramatically plunging chandelier, wait until you see producer Cameron Mackintosh’s revival. Season option.
“Aladdin,” Nov. 13-Dec. 1, 2019. Chances are you remember the 1992 Disney movie retelling of the fairy tale of a poor boy who gets three wishes from a genie in a lamp. But the musical also includes a handful of new songs that aren’t in the film.
“Jesus Christ Superstar,” Dec. 17-22, 2019. This is the 50th anniversary of one of the earliest rock operas, featuring the traitorous Judas Iscariot as the unlikely anti-hero. Featuring such songs as “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” this durable classic holds up surprisingly well to time.
“Cats,” Jan. 21-26, 2020.From the very beginning the critics caterwauled, but the audiences kept coming. Until 2006, “Cats” was the longest-running show in Broadway history and even now, it ranks fourth. In the 1980s, theater lovers were entranced by the eerily feline-like movements of the human actors, by the musical’s breakout hit song, “Memory,” and by its lofty literary provenance. “Cats” is based on the great 20th-century poet T.S. Eliot’s light verse.
“Wicked,” Feb. 12-March 8, 2020. This is the musical billed as “the untold true story of the Witches of Oz” that turned an entire generation of preteen girls into die-hard theater fans after it debuted in 2003. Young women felt empowered by the musical’s message that it’s better to be powerful and smart than it is to be pretty and popular. Season option.
“Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” April 14-19, 2020. It’s refreshing for a biographical jukebox musical to center for a change on the story of a woman — and a black woman at that. Summer’s fans doubtless will be interested in the ups and down of her life. But what they’ll really come for is a chance to hum along to such songs as “She Works Hard for the Money” and “Bad Girl.”
“Miss Saigon,” June 2-7, 2020. Though this is the epic Vietnam War-era story of a young Vietnamese girl named Kim, an American G.I. and the amoral hustler known as The Engineer, the real star has always been the helicopter that lands on stage. Previous national tours have had to make do with special effects, but the production that just closed at the Kennedy Center used a fiberglass replica. We’ll have to wait to see what, err, flies at the Hippodrome.
Seven-show packages (minus the two optional additions) cost between $258 and $1,035. Current subscribers can renew online now; new subscriptions will be available in late March. For more information, visit baltimore.broadway.com.