Broadway comes roaring back this fall to the Peace Center, with nine musical blockbusters like “Disney’s Frozen” journeying to Greenville along with returning favorites such as “Hamilton” and classics like “Oklahoma!” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
“This is such a solid season because you’ve got all these recognizable names,” said Megan Riegel, president and CEO of the Peace Center. “Except for ‘Hadestown,’ which won so many Tonys, there’s not a name that people don’t recognize. We’re so proud of this season and we’re excited to be in the theater with our audiences again.”
Riegel expects a return to pre-pandemic normality, with the Peace Center concert hall able to accommodate a 100% capacity audience.
“I think there’s a tremendous pent-up demand,” Riegel said. “I believe people who are getting their vaccinations will come back with confidence. We’ve already seen people come through our doors with joy. It’s incredibly exciting.”
Most of the productions are scheduled for eight performances but “Frozen” and “Hamilton” will run two weeks.
Leading off the Broadway Series is “Hadestown,” winner of eight 2019 Tony Awards and the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. With music by singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell, “Hadestown” intertwines the mythic lives of Orpheus, Eurydice, King Hades and Persephone in a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back.
Greenville is the first stop on the national tour of “Hadestown,” which moves on to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., following its Peace Center run.
“Oklahoma!” returns to the Peace Center in a reimagined production that won raves on Broadway and the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. The production tells the story of a community circling its wagons against an outsider. Sexy and dark, the staging by Daniel Fish allows the classic musical — and our country — to be seen in a whole new light.
From movies to musicals
Four musicals in the season — “Tootsie,” “Pretty Woman,” “Mean Girls” and “Disney’s Frozen” — are based on popular movies.
“One thing that audiences like is familiarity,” Riegel said. “And these shows are incredibly well done.”
“Tootsie,” based on the 1982 Dustin Hoffman film, centers on Michael Dorsey, a talented but struggling actor who wins the role of a lifetime — as a woman.
“Pretty Woman,” based on the 1990 film starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, is a modern update of Cinderella, with a prostitute and wealthy businessman falling in love. The show features an original score by Grammy Award-winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance.
“Mean Girls,” about teens fighting for school popularity, is the hit musical comedy by the award-winning creative team of Tina Fey (“30 Rock”), composer Jeff Richmond (“Unbreakable Jimmy Scmidt”), lyricist Nell Benjamin (“Legally Blonde”) and director Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon”).
“Disney’s Frozen” features the familiar songs from the Oscar-winning film plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers by the film’s songwriters, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.
“It’s wonderful to have a great, solid family show in there,” Riegel said. “There’s not a kid in the world who can’t sing the songs from ‘Frozen.’”
“Jesus Christ Superstar,” the first big hit by the team of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, comes to the Peace Center in a new production in celebration of the musical’s 50th anniversary. Originally staged by London’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, the staging won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival.
“Hamilton” sold out every performance during its two-week run at the Peace Center in December 2018. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s landmark musical tells the story of a founding father – and America’s story – through a blend of hip-hop, jazz, R&B and traditional Broadway melodies.
Closing the season is “Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations,” which follows the famed group from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The show features several of the group’s 42 Top 10 Hits, including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and many more.
Here’s the complete Peace Center Broadway Season lineup:
- “Hadestown,” Oct. 5-10.
- “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘Oklahoma!,’” Nov. 17-21.
- “Tootsie,” Jan. 4-9, 2022.
- “Pretty Woman: The Musical,” Feb. 8-13, 2022.
- “Disney’s Frozen,” April 6-17, 2022.
- “Jesus Christ Superstar,” April 26-May 1, 2022.
- “Mean Girls,” May 24-29, 2022.
- “Hamilton,” June 7-19, 2022.
- “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations,” Aug. 2-7, 2022.
Weathering the pandemic
Like most arts organizations, the Peace Center was hit hard by the pandemic, forcing dozens of layoffs. Its full-time staff of 54 was reduced to 15 during the worst of COVID-19. Now, it’s back up to 23 full-time staff members and climbing.
But the Peace Center’s loyal supporters came through, Riegel said.
“Our donors were incredibly generous,” she said. “We had so many Peacekeepers donors and corporations stand by our side. Donors understood how important the Peace Center is to Greenville. We matter to them.”
The Peace Center made good use of the time by implementing some vital infrastructure projects, including a new, $1.3 million sound system.
“It’s a beautiful, fabulous sound system,” Riegel said.
Broadway Series Tickets
Season ticket packages range from $328 to $943 and are available now. New season ticket orders will be processed in the order they are received.
Season tickets may be purchased by calling (864) 467-3000 or (800) 888-7768 or online at peacecenter.org. Box office hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Group and individual show tickets will be available for purchase mid-summer.
Ticket buyers are reminded that the Peace Center Box Office – online or by phone — is the only official retail ticket outlet for all performances at the Peace Center and is the only way to guarantee the best prices.
For more information about the Peace Center and its upcoming events, visit peacecenter.org.