With a little over a month to go until Hamilton takes his first hip hop bow in Houston on April 24, Broadway at the Hobby Center is already looking to a beautiful musical future with its just announced 2018-2019 season.
The extensive lineup of seven shows and two season add-on brings to town beloved classics as well as some hot tickets still garnering raves on Broadway. There’s something for every type of musical theater lover on the calendar, so for a preview peek, here’s some trends and highlights we’re seeing for melodious nights ahead at the Hobby Center.
Everything old is new
The next season opens in late summer, with the acclaimed new production of a true musical phenomenon, Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Misérables (September 25-30, 2018). This re-imagined staging, with sets inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, garnered praise and several Tony nominations.
Next spring, another revival of a beloved Mackintosh ’80s hit, the Madama Butterfly-inspired Miss Saigon lands (yes, helicopter included) on the Sarofim stage May 7-12, 2019. This new production, which just closed on Broadway in January, is said to have a renewed focus on the star-crossed love story of Kim and Chris, doomed to be torn apart by war.
Summer becomes the season of love as the 2018-2019 lineup ends (August 6-11, 2019) with a thoroughly American take on another Puccini opera, La Bohème. The 20th anniversary tour of Jonathan Larson’s Rent brings back to Houston the story of struggling artists living and loving through those five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred moments so dear.
In between all the returning favorites, the Tony Award winning freshly baked show Waitress brings an intimate feel-good and new love story to town (January 29-February 3, 2019). The hit musical is based on the Adrienne Shelly film about a woman taking life’s lemons and making delicious pie out of them. With music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles and book by screenwriter Jessie Nelson, The Waitress still charms audiences in New York. No word yet on if the touring show will continue the Broadway practice of actually baking pies before each performance, to set the olfactory mood.
The biggest surprise in the lineup might be The Play That Goes Wrong (March 26-31, 2019), which only debuted in New York in April 2017 and yet has become the little UK show that could (garner huge laughs on Broadway). I’m usually not a big fan of broad physical farce, but on a East Coast visit last May, I wandered into this production having heard little about it. By the end of the first act, it had become one of my favorite comedies of the year. What happens when great actors play really bad actors, scenic designers and a clueless playwright? Something so wrong it becomes a revelation of comedy as chaos.
Rub this Disney lamp
Said to be inspired by both the 1950s Ingrid Bergman film and the ’90s animated musical, the story of the lost possible-princess, Anastasia, made its Broadway debut last year with a book by acclaimed playwright Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Is Anya the last of the Romanovs or a just an amnesiac street sweeper, albeit with the voice of a fairytale princess? She joins two charming con artists on an adventure through 1920s Paris to find out, making a stop in Houston March 5-10, 2019.
Disney rubs its creative lamp and conjures up another beloved animated film on stage with Aladdin. Still a family favorite hit on Broadway, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin, the touring production will bring all the classic’s heroes and villains, and the real star of the story, Genie, to Houston for something of an extended summer stay, June 26-July 14, 2019.
Fun with Mormons
Broadway at the Hobby rounds out the lineup with two seasons options. For those who can’t get enough Cameron Mackintosh productions, The Phantom of the Opera will haunt Houston once more November 7-18, 2018. If irreverent singing Mormons are more your speed, The Book of Mormon opens its musical pages again January 15-20, 2019.
As an added incentive, Broadway at the Hobby Center also announced one show for its 2019-2020 season, the six Tony Awards winner, Dear Evan Hansen. Subscribers for the 2018-2019 Season will have first access to reserve their seats for Hansen when they renew their subscription for the 2019-2020 Season.