by Eric Andrews-Katz -
SGN Contributing Writer
Seattle is being hailed as a large theater town. Residents of the Emerald City are privileged to have several good theater companies performing fringe and local productions, as well as touring Broadway companies coming through with nationally known material. The two main musical theater production houses in Seattle are 5th Avenue Theatre and the Broadway Across America series, housed at the Paramount Theatre. The upcoming seasons have been announced for both, and each are showcasing wonderful lineups of great shows.
Broadway Across America and the Seattle Theatre Group have teamed up to bring Seattle some of the best of Broadway available. In the past, Key Bank's "Broadway at the Paramount" has been responsible for bringing such exclusive engagements as WICKED!, Monty Python's Spamalot, (and The Color Purple (to the Seattle stage. The upcoming season is as promising as ever, bringing a collection of new and revival shows that will be eagerly anticipated. Season tickets can be purchased by phone (1-888-451-4042) or on the web at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com/Seattle.
Burn The Floor ( (September 14-19, 2010): More than competitive ballroom dancing, the show celebrates dance ranging from the foxtrot to the Latin tango. Full of hot bodies and beautiful movement, this show explodes across the dance floor.
HAIR( (November 28-December 4, 2010): HAIR created more than stirrings when it arrived on Broadway in 1968; it created a legend. With songs ranging from "Aquarius" to "Let the Sunshine In," this musical celebrates "tribal" living at the time of the '60s. This revival was nominated for eight Tony Awards and won Best Revival of a Musical (2009).
ROCK OF AGES ( (February 8-13, 2011): An original jukebox musical, the show celebrates the big-haired glam metal bands. Known for its lightheartedness, the show involves the audience as it blasts the songs of Twisted Sister, Poison, Styx, Bon Jovi, and Pat Benatar, among other '80s favorites. Nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical of 2009.
Billy Elliot, the Musical ( (March 17-April 3, 2011): Based on the hit film, the musical took over the London and Broadway stages by storm. With music by Sir Elton John, this show tells the wondrous and often brave journey of a young boy's self-discovery, set against the turmoil of Irish poverty. Nominated for 15 Tony Awards in 2009, it won 10, including Best Musical.
Mary Poppins( (May 12-May 29, 2011): Blending highlights from the Disney film and storylines from the original P.L. Travers tales, the musical brings to life all the adventures of the beloved nanny. Mixing original songs with the well-known film tunes, the musical was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including 2007's Best Musical.
BONUS: (Special Engagement of RIVERDANCE (June 3-June 5, 2011)
Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre has formed a reputation for bringing a variety of musicals to Seattle audiences. Shows ranging from tried-and-true classics to those on the cutting edge and original productions on their (potential) way to Broadway have been produced on the 5th Avenue stage. The theater that held the world premieres of Hairspray, the Musical and Memphis announced their 2010-2011 season. Season tickets can be bought at www.5thavenue.org/showsandtickets/subscribe.
In the Heights ( (September 28-October 17, 2010): Set in the New York area known as Washington Heights, this musical beat all odds, becoming a smash on Broadway. Using Latino rap and classic Broadway style, the show was nominated for 13 Tony Awards (2008), earning five wins, including Best Musical (2008). It was also a nominee for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
A Christmas Story, the Musical ( (November 30-December 19, 2011): This beloved 1983 Christmas classic film is now on the stage. Making its debut in December 2009, this show is on the road before going to the Great White Way.
Vanities ( (February 1-20, 2011): This musical follows the friendship of a trio of girls over several years. Starting as high school seniors, the girls go through college together and then venture out into the world. One girl discovers that planned dreams can go wrong, one girl discovers the sexual revolution, and one tries to discover who she really is as the bonds of friendship are tested.
Next to Normal ( (February 22-March 13, 2011): With a controversial edge, this musical follows a dysfunctional family that deals with hidden secrets, bi-polar disorder, and electroshock therapy. With a haunting score, it was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical of 2009, and won three. It also won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, being only the sixth play ever to hold the honor.
9 to 5, the Musical( (April 5-April 24, 2011): Based on the 1980 film, three working gals get revenge on their boss, a "sexiest, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot." Using songs from the movie as well as original music and lyrics from Dolly Parton, the show was nominated for four 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Score.
The season is rounded out with two classics: Guys & Dolls (May 14-June 3, 2011) and Oklahoma ( (July 10-30, 2011).
No matter what your musical theater tastes are, there is something to please it in the upcoming Seattle season. Both Broadway Across America at the Paramount Theatre and 5th Avenue Theatre usually offer discounts for seasonal tickets or package deals to allow more personal choices. The magic of live theater is not something to be missed, and with these choices of the great upcoming shows, Seattle will live up to its reputation of being one of the premier "theater towns" in the United States.
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