Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
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Music-Theater-Dance

'Les Mis,' 'Finding Neverland' lead Toledo's Broadway lineup

  • 02-LM-TOUR-0371-Josh-Davis-and-Nick-Cartell-jpg

    Josh Davis and Nick Cartell in 'Les Miserables.'

  • Billy-Harrigan-Tighe-and-John-Davidson-in-Finding-Neverland-Credit-Jeremy-Daniel-IMG-0140-jpg

    Billy Harrigan Tighe and John Davidson in 'Finding Neverland.'

    Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel

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Billy-Harrigan-Tighe-and-John-Davidson-in-Finding-Neverland-Credit-Jeremy-Daniel-IMG-0140-jpg

Billy Harrigan Tighe and John Davidson in 'Finding Neverland.'

Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel Enlarge

A celebrated new production of the Broadway hit Les Miserables and Finding Neverland, a musical that tells the story behind the story of Peter Pan, are among the highlights of the Theater League’s 2018-19 Broadway in Toledo Series presented at the Stranahan Theater.

The new Broadway season, with five shows, also will feature Evita, Elf The Musical, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The percussion and movement production Stomp is the season add-on for subscribers.

“I’m pleased that there are three shows that we have never presented in Toledo before,” said Mark Edelman, president of the Theater League. They include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which “just played on Broadway and is on a major national tour;” Elf The Musical, based on the Will Farrell film Elf, “a very, very funny show, and sweet too,” and Finding Neverland. The three are all family shows but also grown-up entertainment for adults, Edelman observed.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, coming to town March 19-24, 2019, is based on Roald Dahl’s 1964 story about Willy Wonka and his curious factory, which is opened for a tour to a boy named Charlie Bucket and four other golden ticket holders with amazing results.

The show features a score by Grammy and Tony winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and book by David Greig, artistic director of Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre. The musical also has songs from the original film, including “Pure Imagination,” “The Candy Man,” and “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.

“It was a terrific Broadway musical,” Edelman said. “It’s going to be a big production, which we’re excited about. All of the special effects and video that made the Broadway show so successful, audiences are going to get to see on the first national tour.”

Elf the Musical, the Broadway show on a new national tour, arrives Dec. 11-16. It’s about an orphaned child named Buddy who travels to the North Pole and gets adopted by elves after mistakenly getting into Santa’s bag full of gifts. Years later, he travels to New York in search of his father and the real meaning of Christmas.

Finding Neverland, coming to town April 25-28, 2019, tells the story of Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie, whose life changes when he meets an attractive young widow and her four sons. The boys’ stories of adventures inspire Barrie to create the magical Peter Pan and the incredible place Neverland.

The 2018-19 Broadway in Toledo season also features two revivals of hit musicals, Evita and Les Miserables.

02-LM-TOUR-0371-Josh-Davis-and-Nick-Cartell-jpg

Josh Davis and Nick Cartell in 'Les Miserables.'

Enlarge

The new Les Miserables production, in Toledo April 9-14, 2019, is the work of Cameron Mackintosh, the producer who is the force behind the celebrated reimagining of Phantom of the Opera presented at the Stranahan in 2016. His Broadway revival of the Tony-winning Les Misérables by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg has new staging with innovative projection technology and scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, whose novel of the same name was the inspiration for the musical.

Les Miserables is enhanced by new technology, but the story is timeless, deeply moving,” Edelman said. “It probably is the most popular revival on tour right now. Les Mis is really huge, [we’ve] been asking about it ever since the tour was announced.”

Les Miserables is set in 19th century France. It follows Jean Valjean, a French peasant in prison for seven years for stealing bread for a starving child. He is released, then breaks parole to search for a new life, finding success as a factory owner and mayor in a French town. But all the while he is pursed by Inspector Javert, who wants him back in jail, and Valjean is swept up in the 1832 fever of revolution in France.

Evita, staged at the Stranahan Theater Jan. 31- Feb. 3, 2019, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, won the Tony Award for best musical in 1980. The show follows Eva Peron from her rise as the powerful, glamorous wife of Argentinian dictator Juan Peron and an advocate for the poor and the working class to her tragic ending. Songs include “Don't Cry for Me Argentina,” “Another Hall,” and “High Flying, Adored.” The musical, which opened on Broadway in 1979, will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2019.

The Theater League is bringing Stomp back to town Feb. 25-26, 2019. “People never get enough of Stomp,” Edelman said.

The Theater League president sees a trend in theater that applies to Broadway and to the new Broadway in Toledo season at the Stranahan.

“What’s exciting about theater is that Broadway is getting younger,” he said. “We’re seeing a much more vibrant group of contributors, a young crop of writers. It’s exciting for Broadway and for our audiences.”

Examples include some of the big hits on Broadway, including Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for drama and Tony for best musical; Dear Evan Hansen, winner of the 2017 Tony Award for best musical, with music and lyrics by University of Michigan graduates Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and book by Steven Levenson; Come From Away, written by Tony nominees Irene Sankoff and David Hein; Finding Neverland, by composer and lyricist Gary Barlow; and Shaiman and Wittman.

Season ticket renewals and priority orders are available online at BroadwayInToledo.com, by calling 419-381-8851, and at the Stranahan Theater box office, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd., open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Individual tickets will be on sale at a later date.

Contact Sue Brickey at sbrickey@theblade.com.

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