BROADWAY IN ATLANTA will bring 11 shows to the Fox Theatre in the 2016-17 season, including a two-week return of The Phantom of the Opera and several shows still playing in New York.
“When you count the number of titles, it’s the biggest season in our history,” says Russ Belin, Broadway in Atlanta’s vice president. “Maybe not in show weeks but in titles.”
Seven of the 11 shows are part of the subscription season; four titles are optional. The season begins in September 2016 with The Illusionists – Live From Broadway and ends in August 2017 with An American in Paris, one of three shows still running on Broadway as of this writing. Finding Neverland (May 2017) and Matilda the Musical (April 2017) are the others.
The four optional titles are The Little Mermaid, The Phantom of the Opera, Riverdance (minus Michael Flatley) and Mamma Mia! All have played the Fox Theatre at one time or another.
One change from past seasons is that three shows – The Little Mermaid, Riverdance and Mamma Mia! will be in Atlanta for less than the usual weeklong run.
The full season, Belin says, is “good for arts in Atlanta as well as the Fox Theatre.”
Subscription packages for the Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta’s 2016-17 season is now on sale. Prices vary depending on show time, day of week and seating location. New subscriptions are available online at BroadwayInAtlanta.com or by calling 800.278.4447. Single-show tickets generally go on sale eight to 12 weeks before opening night.
Here’s a closer look.
The Illusionists – Live From Broadway | Sept. 27-Oct. 2, 2016
The Illusionists, a show based on magicians, visited Broadway each of the past two holiday seasons and in December aired on NBC as a TV special. Its seven illusionists – the Ant-Conjuror, the Manipulator, the Inventor, the Escapologist, the Trickster, the Weapon Master and the Daredevil – provide and a mix of levitation, mind-reading, disappearances and escapes.
Fox audiences haven’t seen this musical, set in pre-World War II Germany, in some time. The John Kander-Fred Ebb show has been around since 1966, but was revived in 1988 with a darker, sexier and more sinister undertone, and with Alan Cumming as (the Tony Award-winning) Master of Ceremonies. A revival of that version finished a yearlong Broadway run in March 2015. On tour, Randy Harrison (Showtime’s “Queer as Folk”) straps on the suspenders and Jewish star as emcee. Together, the original and the first Cumming revival collected 12 Tony awards including best musical and best musical revival.
Welcome to 1940s Indiana, where a boy named Ralphie really, really wants an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle for Christmas. The musical by Benji Pasek and Justin Paul is based on the 1983 movie starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie. It was based on the Jean Shepherd book In God We Trust All Others Pay Cash. Georgia Shakespeare staged a non-musical version of the story in 2010, but Fox audiences have not yet seen the musical. We double-dog dare you.
The Little Mermaid | Jan. 12-15, 2017
The Little Mermaid last waded into the Fox in July 2014 (and before that in September 2013 with Theater of the Stars). This Disney musical, based on the 1989 animated film, follows Ariel’s battle to trade her fins for human legs and find true love. The Alan Menken score includes “Under the Sea,” “Positoovity” and “Kiss the Girl.” Inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen story.
The longest-running show in Broadway history is also a Fox favorite. The Phantom, Christine Daaé, Raoul, Carlotta Guidicelli, and Monsieurs André and Firmin return for more music in the night. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s chandelier first crashed in New York in January 1988. His musical, adored by many, loathed by others, is based on the novel Le Fantome de L’Opera by Gaston Leroux, and depicts a disfigured musical genius who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera and exerts strange control over a lovely young soprano.
This musical based on the 1992 Whitney Houston-Kevin Costner feature film has yet to see Broadway. A U.K. tour launched in September 2014 with Heather Headley (Aida) in the Houston role. Grammy-nominated singer and Broadway actress Deborah Cox (Aida, Jekyll & Hyde) headlines the U.S. national tour that begins next fall. Cox also provided the vocals for the Whitney Houston Lifetime movie “Whitney.” The Bodyguard features such Houston hits as “Queen of the Night,” “So Emotional,” “One Moment in Time,” “Saving All My Love,” “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” “Run to You,” “I Have Nothing,” “How Will I Know,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “I Will Always Love You.”
This musical, new to Atlanta and based on the 1998 Roald Dahl children’s book, has been filling Broadway’s Shubert Theatre (the original home of A Chorus Line) since March 2013. The title character is a precocious 5-year-old girl who loves reading, overcomes obstacles with family and school, and helps her teacher reclaim her life. The U.K. original, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, won seven 2012 Olivier awards, the most ever by a single show at the time. The Broadway company won five Tony awards, including best book of a musical (for Dennis Kelly).
Riverdance | May 5-7, 2017
Riverdance, which many Atlanta subscribers have asked about, Belin says, is back for a 20th anniversary world tour that includes companies in Canada, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom as well as the United States. The traditional Irish music and dance show began as an interval performance act during the 1994 Eurovision Song. Since its opening in Dublin in February 1995, it’s played more than 450 venues worldwide and has been seen by more than 25 million people. This tour does not include Michael Flatley, whose name is nearly synonymous with the franchise. He’s playing his farewell in NYC.
The story of J.M. Barrie’s friendship with the family that inspired him to create the character of Peter Pan (and generations of fans who don’t want to grow up). The 2004 movie featured Johnny Depp as Barrie. The Broadway musical, which opened in April 2015 and is still running, features Broadway regular Matthew Morrison (The Light in the Piazza, South Pacific and, yes, TV’s “Glee”). The movie is one of several sources cited for the musical, which has a score by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy, the first Broadway credit for each. New to Atlanta audiences.
Mamma Mia! | June 16-18, 2017
ABBA lives! And returns to the Fox for a brief stay. This entertaining excuse for an ABBA songfest is set on a tiny Greek island where a wedding is about to take place. Fans in New York paid to sing along for 14 seasons. Now Atlanta gets another turn to soak in the sounds of the 1970s. The score includes “Honey, Honey,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Thank You for the Music,” “Chiquitita,” “Dancing Queen,” “Lay All Your Love on Me” and 15 more, including the title song.
New to Atlanta and, by all accounts, one of the most gorgeous productions of the 2015 Broadway season. Playwright Craig Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss, The Light in the Piazza, Reckless) updated the story from the 1951 Gene Kelly movie, setting it in 1945, at the close of World War II. The lush score is compliments of George and Ira Gershwin – “I Got Rhythm,” “The Man I Love,” “’S Wonderful,” “Shall We Dance,” “But Not for Me,” “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise” and “They Can’t Take that Away From Me.” Nominated for 14 Tony awards, including best musical. Won for choreography, orchestrations, scenic design and lighting design.