For fans of flashy production numbers, huge orchestras and extravagant theatrical experiences—and, let's be honest, singing in the shower—there’s no better bet than Broadway in Austin. Presented by the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Performing Arts, Broadway in Austin brings the top touring productions of major Broadway musicals to Austin’s Bass Concert Hall for short, limited engagements (ticket prices run from $30 to $130; discounts are available for groups of over 10 people). The 2017-2018 season kicks off next month—here's what to keep an eye out for:
The King and I (Dec 12-17)
This is the touring version of the Lincoln Center Theater’s 2015 production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic, which won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. The show tells the story of Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher who has been brought to Siam by its King to help modernize his royal court and family. As the attraction between Anna and the King grows, the audience is treated to familiar show tunes such as “Getting to Know You,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.”
Finding Neverland (Jan 16-21)
The new year begins with the musical Finding Neverland, based on the film by the same name. A moderate success on Broadway (it's been running for seventeen months), the show is about playwright J. M. Barrie’s relationship with the Davies family, who inspired him to write Peter Pan. The music and lyrics are by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy, with a book by James Graham.
School of Rock (Feb 13-18)
Another musical based on a hit film, School of Rock features music by Broadway grandmaster Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Downton Abby creator Julian Fellowes. The story follows Dewey Finn, an out-of-work musician who poses as a substitute teacher and ends up turning his class of high achievers into a rock band. According to Broadway in Austin, the show features “musical theater’s first-ever kids rock band playing their instruments live on stage.”
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Mar 20-25)
The winner of the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder—with music by Steven Lutvak and a book by Robert L. Freedman—is based on a much older film, 1949’s Kind Hearts and Coronets. The show depicts the story of Monty Navarro, who stands to gain a family fortune if he manages to jump the line of succession—by killing his way to the top. One actor (James Taylor Odom for this tour) plays the entire extended family, thanks to a show-stopping series of elaborate costume quick-changes.
An American in Paris (May 30-Jun 3)
The Broadway in Austin season wraps up with An American in Paris, based on the 1951 film of the same name. With music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, the elaborate dance numbers (choreographed by director Christopher Wheeldon) steal this show about an American soldier’s romantic affair in France following the end of World War II.
For tickets and more info, visit Broadway in Austin.