The world can definitely use a good song and dance this week. That’s why it was so refreshing to attend last night’s preview of the the 2013-14 Broadway at the Marcus Center season. The lineup includes old favorites and new shows, and I smell a few blockbusters in there, so you might want to buy your tickets early if something strikes your fancy.
Die-hard Andrew Lloyd Webber-philes, rejoice: two of Sir Andrew’s greatest hits are coming our way. I’m particularly excited about "Evita," which rolls into town Feb. 4-9, 2014, and so was the crowd last night – there was an audible gasp and an outbreak of applause as this high-flying adored musical was announced.
It was also revealed that Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of "Phantom of the Opera" will sing the music of the night next summer, July 23-Aug. 3. It’s the same beloved plot but all-new costumes, staging and choreography.
And there’s more good news for you fans of ‘80s pop rock – break out your leg warmers for "Flashdance," which runs March 4-9, 2014. Remember, Milwaukee: when you give up your dreams, you die (Sorry. That’s my favorite line from the movie. I promise I’m done now.)
"Jersey Boys" is also returning to the Marcus Center after a successful run in 2011. Audiences will get to hear the hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons brought to life Oct. 16-27, 2013.
Judging on the reaction of the audience at the preview, "War Horse" will likely be the most talked-about show of the season. This five-time Tony Award-winner follows young World War I soldier Albert and his beloved horse, Joey. You might recognize this title from its 2011 Steven Spielberg adaptation for the big screen.
What’s interesting about this play is that the horses will be represented by life-sized puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company - who also created the puppets for the Broadway production, and won a Tony for their work.
"Joey" was present at Uihlein Hall last night in all his glory. Production representative Scott Tucker was on hand to introduce the breathtaking life-sized horse puppet brought to life by three actors – it’s even strong enough for a 150-pound person to ride. I didn’t know what to expect when I heard that this play starred a horse puppet, but I was blown away by the actors’ uncanny ability to imitate the sounds, nervous energy and even breathing patterns of a real horse.
"Bring your Kleenex," advised 99.1 The Mix’s Van McNeil, who was on hand to present. He’s seen the show and assured us it’s a tearjerker - but then, what World War I saga isn’t?
Ticket packages for all shows went on sale last night. Prices for the five show package range from $159-$499 and vary depending upon performance time and seating preference. "Jersey Boys" is an addition to the season and ticket prices start at $42 for season ticket holders only.
Marcus Center CEO and president Paul Mathews also announced at the preview that the Marcus Center has entered into a new eight-year agreement with Broadway Across America, which brings nationally touring Broadway shows to over 40 cities in North America, ensuring that the lights of the Great White Way will reach Milwaukee for years to come.
Colleen Jurkiewicz is a Milwaukee native with a degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and she loves having a job where she learns something new about the Cream City every day. Her previous incarnations have included stints as a waitress, a barista, a writing tutor, a medical transcriptionist, a freelance journalist, and now this lovely gig at the best online magazine in Milwaukee.