Broadway blockbusters dominate the Peace Center season
Paul Hyde, [email protected] 8:24 p.m. EDT April 5, 2016
A roar of approval rose up from an enthusiastic Peace Center audience at the news that “The Book of Mormon” is returning to Greenville.
The wickedly funny musical satire about two missionaries in Africa sold out eight performances at the Peace Center when the national tour last breezed through Greenville in November, 2014.
The Peace Center announced that nine national touring shows would visit Greenville’s cornerstone arts organization in 2016-17, including current Broadway blockbusters such as “Something Rotten!,” “Finding Neverland” and “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical.”
The Broadway Series season opens in late September with “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” the 2014 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical, and also spotlights a couple of acclaimed classics: “An American in Paris” and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I.”
“I have to say I love this season,” said Megan Riegel, Peace Center president and CEO.
Riegel announced the season at the Peace Center’s big annual Broadway party, which featured performances by cast members from the national tours of “The Lion King” and “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical.”
With the previously announced “Lion King” setting up for a four-week run in May-June, 2017, the Peace Center is offering a combined record of 12 weeks of Broadway shows next season, Riegel said.
The other eight shows will be in town for one week each, with eight performances for each show.
The Broadway Series uniquely will include one non-musical, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” a hit both in London’s West End and on Broadway.
Here’s the complete lineup and the dates of the Peace Center’s 2016-17 Broadway Series:
•“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” (Sept. 27-Oct. 2) The 2014 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical is the story of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession by eliminating the eight pesky relatives (all played by one man) who stand in his way.
•“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” (Oct. 25-30) This winner of five 2015 Tony Awards, including Best Play, is about 15-year-old Christopher, a boy who is incredibly intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he determines to identify the true culprit, which leads to a journey that will change his life.
•“An American in Paris.” (Nov. 29-Dec. 4) The Tony Award-winning musical centers on an American soldier and a mysterious French girl in an indomitable European city in the aftermath of war.
•“The Book of Mormon.” (Jan. 31-Feb. 5) Two mismatched missionaries are sent overseas to spread the good news — with hilarious consequences. This musical, by the creators of “South Park,” is for mature audiences only.
•“Beautiful — The Carole King Musical.” (Feb. 21-26) The show tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, writing the soundtrack for a generation. The musical includes such classics as “I Feel the Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “You’ve Got a Friend.”
•“Something Rotten!” (April 11-16, 2017) Set in 1595, the hit Broadway show centers on Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers who are desperate to write a hit play. The end up writing the first musical with a little help — and hindrance — by Shakespeare.
•“Disney’s The Lion King.” (May 31-June 25, 2017) The musical is a coming-of-age story that has been seen by 80 million people, including several thousands during its sold-out run at the Peace Center a few years ago.
•“Finding Neverland.” (July 25-30, 2017) The musical relates the story behind one of the world’s most beloved characters: Peter Pan.
•Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I.” (Aug. 22-27, 2017) Lincoln Center’s acclaimed production won four 2015 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.
All of the shows are critically acclaimed. Many are still running on Broadway. Several, such “Something Rotten!” and “Finding Neverland,” are touring for the first time under the direction of the original Broadway creative teams.
The Peace Center’s Broadway Series, responding to popular demand, has expanded considerably in the last 10 years. Until a few years ago, the Peace Center only rarely scheduled Broadway shows during the summer.
“Now, we program 52 weeks out of the year,” Riegel said.
The number of Broadway shows is great economic news for Greenville’s thriving downtown, Riegel said. Restaurants and hotels enjoy brisk business during Broadway runs.
“When we have Broadway, they have a great week,” she said.
Many theater-goers had hoped that “Hamilton,” by many accounts the nation’s most popular Broadway musical, would find its way to Greenville next season. Riegel promised that “Hamilton” will be a part of a future season.
All nine shows of the 2016-17 season will be included in the Broadway Series subscription package, although subscribers may opt out of “The Book of Mormon” and/or “The Lion King.”
Ticket packages for the nine shows run $255 to $785. Season packages may be purchased by calling 864-467-3000 or 1-800-888-7768.
Individual tickets will go on sale at later dates. A subscription package is the best deal for theater-goers, Riegel said, because some shows will raise individual ticket prices based on high demand.
“Subscribers get the best price ever,” Riegel said.
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