What’s the best way to characterize the 2014-15 season of touring musicals presented by Celebrity Attractions? The five scheduled productions earned a whopping 20 Tony Awards during their original Broadway runs. Too vague, I think.
Perhaps a better approach would be to paraphrase a few song titles from the musicals. Think of this season as one big party filled with simple joys, bravos and one-of-a-kind theatrical experiences. And given the stellar lineup, audiences certainly won’t leave disappointed.
One could also point out that the five shows span 52 years, the earliest dating from the golden age of the American musical theater and the latest an unexpected hit from the present decade.
Their settings are equally diverse: the Paris Opera House, the North Pole, a Dublin bar, medieval England and a Memphis, Tenn., recording studio. Ready to wager a bundle on the final Jeopardy category? What are “The Phantom of the Opera,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Once,” “Camelot” and “Million Dollar Quartet.”
The 2014-15 season opens Aug. 27-Sept. 7 with a new production of “The Phantom of the Opera.” The Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbuster, based on Gaston Leroux’s gothic thriller, celebrated its 25th anniversary on Broadway last season.
In honor of that milestone, producer Cameron Mackintosh has mounted a new U.S. tour of “Phantom” that celebrates the brilliance of the original while taking advantage of technological advances that promise a heightened theatrical experience.
“Cameron specializes in evolution,” said Seth Sklar-Heyn, the show’s production supervisor. “Every time he does a new production, something changes. It's enhanced, manipulated or removed.
“As producer of the show, he takes responsibility for what the audience experiences. That speaks to everything he does. For Cameron, it’s all about reinvention and pushing the limits to make it bigger and more exciting for the audience.”
“Phantom” follows the mysterious transformation of a young chorus girl into a leading lady. When her childhood friend Raoul shows up at the opera house, his attention towards Christine draws the ire of the Phantom, who wreaks havoc with anyone who gets in his way.
Kicking off the holiday season Oct. 28-Nov. 2 is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” Following a successful limited engagement on Broadway during the winter of 2006, this boisterous comedy based on characters created by Dr. Seuss has become a seasonal hit in New York and on the road.
“This is a show we’ve been trying to get for three seasons,” said Ed Payton, CEO of Celebrity Attractions. “It’s one of those shows that families watch every year on television, and now they can see it live on stage. This retelling combines the fun of the original illustrations with a lot of new music.”
The first show of the new year is “Once,” a 2012 musical that earned eight Tony Awards, including best musical. Scheduled Jan. 13-18, “Once” tells the story of an Irish street musician who nearly gives up his dream until a young Czech girl inspires him to change his mind.
Based on the 2006 screenplay, “Once” is performed by a cast of actors who double as onstage musicians. Featuring the Academy Award-winning “Falling Slowly,” “Once” celebrates the rich tradition of Irish folk music as it explores romance and taking chances.
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Celebrity Attractions’ 2014-15 season