Six of the eight shows that the premiere institution announced Tuesday morning debuted on Broadway in the past year. Another, the returning “Hamilton,” continues to dominate the Broadway box office. The whole season reflects the downtown Baltimore theater’s unique role in the region’s cultural landscape, said France-Merrick Performing Arts Center President Ron Legler.
“We’re the only organization that brings national touring Broadway into the state of Maryland.” he said. “We’re really proud of that.”
So if you crave Broadway musicals and plays without Broadway prices or waitlists, here are the eight shows you’ll need to add to your calendar:
“Tootsie” (Oct. 13-18, 2020). Based on the 1982 film about a temperamental actor who impersonates a woman to land roles, this comic musical won two Tony Awards in 2019.
“Hairspray” (Nov. 10-15). The stage adaptation of local outsider hero John Waters’ 1988 coming-of-age tale revisits 1960s Baltimore, where a local teen challenges body and race assumptions to integrate a soul revue TV show. “We’re actually going to be the first city on its tour ... which, how exciting is that?” Legler said.
“Pretty Woman: The Musical” (Dec. 8-13). This Bryan Adams-scored musical adaptation of the iconic 1990 film, in which a sex worker and businessman fall in love, shattered box office records even before opening on Broadway.
“Mean Girls” (Jan. 19-24, 2021). The Hippodrome kicks 2021 off with “30 Rock” creator/star Tina Fey’s multiple Tony Award-nominated take on her own 2004 teen comedy. The musical, like the film, explores the foibles of high school romance, popularity and cliques through the eyes of a Chicago-area high school’s new student.
“The Prom" (March 2-7). Legler said this touring version of the Tony-nominated musical, which follows four Broadway veterans who travel to help a lesbian student banned from bringing her girlfriend to prom, has the power to inspire. “It has so much heart, a lot like what ‘Kinky Boots’ did for our audience,” he said, comparing the two musicals’ resonance with Baltimore. What’s more: “Glee" creator Ryan Murphy is directing a film version starring James Corden, Awkwafina and Meryl Streep.
“To Kill a Mockingbird" (March 30-April 4). “The West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin’s dramatic adaptation of the 1960 literary classic, about racism and coming-of-age in the Jim Crow South, set the record for American plays’ gross revenue in 2019. “This show just really sticks with you,” Legler said. “In a community like Baltimore, we need to hear these things, we need to see these things, we need to be outraged sometimes.”
“Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” (May 4-9). Motown fans rejoice: the hit musical about the popular vocal quintet’s trials and tribulations, during a decade of social strife, comes to the Hippodrome stage in the spring. Enjoy stage versions of such soul standards as “My Girl" and the titular “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”
“Hamilton” (June 8-July 3). The new standard for how Broadway musicals can bring history to new audiences, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s diversity-celebrating story of the eponymous Founding Father returns to Baltimore for what promises to be another well-received run. “We knew that that was going to rate really high on the list to return, and we’re excited to be able to bring that back,” Legler said.
Current subscribers can renew their subscriptions for next season now, while new subscription sales for eight-show packages (which begin at $288) start in March and group and individual ones start at dates to be determined, per availability.
Learn more and purchase tickets by visiting BaltimoreHippodrome.com/season, calling 800-343-3103 or visiting the Hippodrome Theatre at the corner of Eutaw St. and W. Baltimore St.