The 2012-13 season continues Feb. 12-17 with Neil Berg's “100 Years of Broadway,” a musical revue that features five vocalists backed by an all-star band. The singers will sample some of the American musical theater's classic scores, including “South Pacific,” “Cabaret,” “Man of La Mancha,” “Evita,” “Wicked,” “Company,” “West Side Story” and “Rent.”
“We've been looking at this show for a few years now,” Payton said. “In markets where it's played, the audience response has been great. It gets terrific word-of-mouth and some presenters have already planned to bring it back for a second time. It could turn out to be the sleeper in our season.”
The season concludes April 23-28 with “West Side Story.” The Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim musical returned to Broadway in 2009, a production directed by Arthur Laurents, the man who helmed the musical's debut in 1957.
Loosely based on Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet,” “West Side Story” was groundbreaking for its era. Musicals in which story and music were tightly integrated had become commonplace by 1957, but Bernstein's score was far more musically complex than anything heard on Broadway up to that time.
Unusual rhythms often underscored rangy melodies that perfectly captured the musical's themes of love that crossed ethnic lines, gang wars, comedy and loss of life. Fifty-five years since the premiere of “West Side Story,” numbers such as “Maria,” “America” and “I Have a Love” still manage to retain a freshness not found in many musicals.
“We haven't had ‘West Side Story' here in a long time, so it was good timing that this tour was announced when we were putting the season together,” Payton said. “It's a good way to end what we hope is a popular season.”
Season subscribers will have the first opportunity to buy tickets for three add-on productions this season: “Blue Man Group,” which plays Sept. 21-23, “Sister's Christmas Catechism,” scheduled Dec. 18 and “A Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis” on Dec. 29. Single tickets will go on sale to the public approximately one month before each production.
“Every year, we're excited about putting together a new season,” Payton said. “It's good to see that even in tough economic times, the people of Oklahoma City continue to support live theater.”