May 24, 2021
2021-2022 Broadway Live Season Preview
By Broadway Live INSIDER - Michael J. Miller
After the longest intermission in musical theatre memory, one might have expected a relatively weak return to a semblance of normal if and when Broadway Live at the Opera House announced their upcoming season. I frankly expected an abbreviated slate of perhaps a few small scale productions to make their way to Lexington. A whisper of what we might expect a season or so from now once this pandemic is gone for good.
I was mistaken. Not only is Broadway Live back to a fully realized five show season, this promising parade of Tony Award winners and musical marvels may very well be one of the strongest seasons in recent memory. Riders up! Here’s a show-by-show look at what’s in store for the Opera House’s signature series triumphant return.
Perhaps in honor of all the chocolate we consumed for solace during lockdown, the season kicks off in November with a scrumpdillyicious family friendly delight. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory brings pure imagination to life in the national tour that had just started early last year but was put on pandemic pause in the midst of its stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan in March 2020. The Ooompa Loompas are back on the road and ready to teach Veruca Salt and Augustus Gloop a thing or two.
The second show of the season brings us “Up Where We Belong”, when An Officer and a Gentleman comes to town in January on a just-launched 1st National Tour. Based on the 1982 film, the show uses greatest hits from the ‘80’s with choreography by Patricia Wilcox, who deftly provided the moves for Motown: The Musical that played here several seasons ago. Lexington occasionally is able to capture a show during its 1st National Tour. To bring this fresh new show to town this season is remarkable. Now if I can just find my Pat Benatar jacket…
February brings what Entertainment Weekly calls “a little slice of heaven” with Waitress, whose glass ceiling breaking all-female creative team includes Tony Award nominee and Grammy Award winner Sara Bareilles and Tony winning Director Diane Paulus of Jagged Little Pill and Pippin fame. Waitress is likely to be the hottest ticket of the season. It’s one of those shows with a fierce fan base that tends to travel afar to catch the latest production. Word of mouth from a stop in Louisville a few months prior will only add fuel to the fire. Had this year’s season announcement event been held live at the Opera House the ovation of delight from the audience when this show was announced would have been ear-splitting.
The one show from last season’s Covid cancellations that Broadway Live was thankfully able to reschedule for this year is An American in Paris, the dance-centric multiple award winning musical that romances the heart with George and Ira Gershwin classics. Director Jeffrey Moss calls it a “happy dance-drunk show as light as a Paris love affair”. Who could ask for anything more?
I love it when an award-winning creative team gets together over coffee on Zoom and says, “Hey, that was a great ride, let’s do it again!” All the merrier when the creators include Directory Jack O’Brien and Choreographer Jerry Mitchell and the ride is the irresistible Hairspray. Good morning, Baltimore! Kudos to Broadway Live for capping off this sensational season with yet another brand new touring production. After a months long intermission, Broadway Live is back, and Tracy Turnblad was right all along, “You can’t stop the beat!”