By Bill Hirschman
Once, the dark horse that won the best musical Tony Award last Spring, will make its South Florida bow a year from now as one of the notable national tours appearing in the 2013-14 Broadway Across America season at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
Also notable in the lineup in the 8th season in Miami will be the stunning play Warhorse, which will close the current season in Broward, as well as the recent Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita.
The season schedule is:
Dec. 10-15: We Will Rock You is a 2002 musical with a score based on the music of the classic 1980s rock group Queen and an appropriately weird script by Ben Elton (TV’s Blackadder) set 300 years in the future. Savaged by critics, the intentionally over-the-top production was a runaway hit with audiences in London and around the world bolstered with hits like “Another One Bites The Dust,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Are The Champions,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the title song.
Dec. 31-Jan. 5: Arriving a tiny bit late, Elf is the Broadway musical based on the 2003 Will Ferrell movie. You’ve never heard of the composer, but the script is by Bob Martin who wrote The Drowsy Chaperone and Thomas Meehan, responsible for everything from Annie to The Producers. The plot centers on “Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.”
Feb. 4- 9, 2014: Once is here for only a week, but it’s one of the don’t-miss shows of the season. Based on the plot and some of the songs from the 2006 cult film, this affecting romance between a forlorn Dublin songwriter and a young woman who believes in him has been expanded with additional music and is a genuinely touching evening in the theater. The show features a large cast who play their own instruments in a score of gentle folk rock music that will pluck the heartstrings of all but the curmudgeonly.
March 4- 9: If you saw Warhorse at Lincoln Center, you know what a triumph of theatrical magic it was. The play’s plot is almost children’s book simple about the growing friendship of a farm boy and a horse, and his pursuit to rescue the horse when it is conscripted into World War I . But its execution is spellbinding for audiences of all ages, not the least of which for the use of life-size puppets of two horses who you’ll swear are real.
May 12-18: The producers are in negotiations for a particular title that will be announced later this year.
May 27- June 1: A revamped production of Evita starred Ricky Martin on Broadway last season. It’s unlikely Ricky will be living la vida ‘Vita on the road, but Evita remains one of Webber and Rice’s best scores with wickedly insightful jabs at political corruption in the guise of Argentina’s Evita Peron.
And if you can’t wait until December for the season to start, the producers are offering the return of Mamma Mia!, separate from the subscription package Oct. 11-13. As you know, this is the sung-through operetta about over-sized anthropomorphic cats roaming around a junk yard late at night making so much noise that you can’t sleep.
Current subscribers may renew their season tickets beginning Monday by visiting the Arsht Center box office at 1300 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami, calling the Season Ticket Holder Hotline toll-free at (800) 939-8587 or the box office at (305) 949-6722. Season renewals are also available online at www.arshtcenter.org. The renewal period ends April 19, 2013. New subscribers and single tickets will go on sale later this year.
For more information, visit www.arshtcenter.org.