At first glance, William Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Robert Louis Stevenson and P.L. Travers might appear to be little more than an unusual mix of distinguished authors. Yet each was responsible for inspiring a Broadway musical, only one of which happened during its author's lifetime.
For the 2012-13 season, Celebrity Attractions has assembled an eclectic lineup of musicals, from “West Side Story” and “Les Miserables” to “Jekyll & Hyde” and “Mary Poppins.” A fifth production, titled “100 Years of Broadway,” rounds out the company's 21st season in Oklahoma City.
Opening the season Oct. 9-14 is “Les Miserables,” a Tony Award-winning musical about an ex-convict who is stalked by a ruthless police inspector. Numerous side plots focus on the romance of a young couple, a band of youthful insurgents and a corrupt innkeeper and his wife.
Featuring music by Claude-Michel Schonberg and lyrics by Alain Boublil, “Les Miserables” is now the third-longest running in Broadway history. It won eight Tony Awards in 1987, including one as best musical. This new production is based on a 25th anniversary tour.
“The last time ‘Les Miserables' played Oklahoma City was in 1998,” said Larry Payton, president of Celebrity Attractions. “It was the last production in the Civic Center before the hall was closed for renovations. It's been heavily requested ever since.
“This new production has been modernized — think how technology has changed in the past 25 years — but the story is just as powerful, perhaps even more so now, than it was before.”
The season continues Nov. 6-11 with the state premiere of “Mary Poppins.” The Walt Disney film was introduced in 1964 and earned five Oscars. In addition to Julie Andrews' win as best actress, “Mary Poppins” took honors for special effects, film editing, song (“Chim Chim Cher-ee”) and musical score.
It took 40 years for “Mary Poppins” to make it to the musical stage. The 2004 London production earned Olivier Awards for Laura Michelle Kelly (as the title character) and one for best choreography. While the British production enjoyed a three-year run, the Broadway version continues to attract audiences and will celebrate its sixth anniversary in November.
“Adults are looking for entertainment they can take their kids to and ‘Mary Poppins' is one that people love,” Payton said. “It's a wonderful production that gives people around the country a similar experience to what they'd see on Broadway.”
Kicking off the new year Jan. 15-20 is a production of “Jekyll & Hyde” starring American Idol star Constantine Maroulis, who also was nominated for his role in Broadway's “Rock of Ages,” and Grammy Award nominee Deborah Cox.
Based on Robert Louis Stevenson's gothic thriller about a mild-mannered London doctor and his evil alter ego, “Jekyll & Hyde” ran nearly four years on Broadway and has toured regularly. Frank Wildhorn's score produced a pair of hits — “This Is the Moment” and “Someone Like You” — the latter becoming a staple among competitors on the pageant circuit.
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