The Peace Center’s 2020-21 Broadway season will spotlight three returning blockbusters and seven newer productions, many on their first national tour.
The three shows circling back – “Hamilton,” “Wicked” and “Dear Evan Hansen” – packed the Peace Center on previous visits.
Other musicals – “Hadestown,” “Mean Girls,” “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Pretty Woman” and “Tootsie” – recently completed successful runs on Broadway or are still running, though suspended temporarily due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Here’s the complete Peace Center Broadway season lineup:
- “1776,” Sept. 1-6
- “Wicked,” Oct. 28-Nov. 15
- “Hadestown,” Nov. 24-29
- “Oklahoma!” Jan. 12-17, 2021
- “Hamilton,” Feb. 23-March 14, 2021
- “Pretty Woman: The Musical,” March 23-28, 2021
- “Mean Girls,” April 27-May 2, 2021
- “Tootsie,” June 1-6, 2021
- “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations,” June 29-July 4, 2021
- “Dear Evan Hansen,” Aug. 17-22, 2021
“I love this season, and we’re very excited about it,” said Megan Riegel, the Peace Center’s president and CEO.
“Hamilton” and “Wicked” will run for three weeks each in Greenville, helping to ensure that fans who were unable to get tickets in the past will have a better chance this time. The seven other productions will each play one week.
Next season’s Broadway series will set a record, with more than three months of musical-theater performances at Greenville’s cornerstone performing arts venue.
“It’s 14 weeks of Broadway total, so it’s the most number of weeks we’ve had in a given year,” Riegel said.
The COVID-19 epidemic preempted the annual public announcement of the Broadway series from the Peace Center stage. That much-anticipated event usually features live and taped excerpts from the upcoming shows.
Most of the Peace Center staff, meanwhile, is currently working from home.
“We’re definitely practicing social distancing,” Riegel said, speaking by phone.
Accent on the new
The accent next season is on the new. Even the two classic musicals – “1776” and “Oklahoma!” – will be presented in new productions.
Several shows are enjoying their first national tours. Those tours put the Peace Center on par with performing arts venues in the nation’s largest cities.
In the past, the big shows sometimes took years to arrive at the Peace Center. That’s no longer the case.
The season opens in September with “1776” in a unique pre-Broadway run. The 1969 musical, about John Adams’ efforts to persuade the Continental Congress to vote for American independence, is being presented in a new staging by visionary director Diane Paulus.
Paulus is known for such shows as “Jagged Little Pill,” “Waitress” and the well-received circus-style “Pippin” that played at the Peace Center several years ago. The Peace Center will likely be the second stop on the “1776” tour after the show opens in Los Angeles.
“Wicked,” Stephen Schwartz’s powerful and poignant prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” was last seen in a three-week, sold-out run at the Peace Center in January 2015. It returns for another three weeks, Oct. 28-Nov. 15.
“Hadestown,” a mythic love story with music by singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell, won eight Tony Awards in 2019 and the 2020 Grammy Award for best musical theater album.
The critically acclaimed musical intertwines two tales — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife, Persephone — on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. Mitchell’s melodies and the staging by innovative director Rachel Chavkin pit industry against nature, doubt against faith, and fear against love.
“‘Hadestown’ is spectacular,” Riegel said.
“Oklahoma!” comes to the Peace Center in the dynamic Daniel Fish staging that won the Tony Award for best revival of a musical. Reimagined for the 21st century, this production tells the story of a community circling its wagons against an outsider. Sexy and dark, the staging won critical acclaim on Broadway.
“It’s not your grandmother’s ‘Oklahoma!,’” Riegel said. “It’s a very fresh interpretation of the show and very artistic. It’s different from any revival I’ve ever seen. People will feel like they’re seeing it for the first time.”
“Hamilton” garnered sold-out houses for every performance during its two-week run at the Peace Center in December 2018. It will play three weeks when it returns, Feb. 23-March 14. 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.
From movies to musicals
The next three musicals in the season – “Pretty Woman,” “Mean Girls” and Tootsie” – are based on popular movies.
“One thing that audiences like is familiarity,” Riegel said. “And these shows are incredibly well done.”
“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 in a vicious battle for school popularity, is the hit musical comedy by the award-winning creative team of Tina Fey (“30 Rock”), composer Jeff Richmond (“Unbreakable Jimmy Schmidt”), lyricist Nell Benjamin (“Legally Blonde”) and director Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon”).
“A whole younger generation grew up on that movie,” said Riegel, referring to the 2004 film version of “Mean Girls.”
“It’s spectacular,” Riegel said. “I found myself laughing, I found myself crying. It is such a great adaptation of a movie, and what a fun story. I think audiences are going to find it charming.”
“Ain’t Too Proud” tells the story of the Temptations, who applied their silky-smooth harmonies and signature dance moves to 42 Top 10 hits, including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.”
“This is going to be a real crowd-pleaser,” Riegel said.
“Dear Evan Hansen,” about an anxious teen learning to fit in, is yet another show that earned a sold-out run when it first came to the Peace Center in July 2019.
“That was such an incredibly positive show,” Riegel said. “People absolutely loved it.”
The musical won six 2017 Tony Awards, including best musical, and the 2018 Grammy Award for best musical theater album.
A big audience
Though Greenville is a modestly sized city, the Peace Center draws Broadway fans from across the state as well as from western North Carolina and northern Georgia, bringing a considerable economic boost to Greenville.
“Our numbers in a relatively small market are extraordinary,” Riegel said. “Every agent and producer comments on that. We have a beautiful advantage in our location. It’s exciting to see what Broadway has done for our community and our economy. We remain committed to bringing the best Broadway season every year.”
Broadway season tickets
Ten-show season ticket packages are $426.50 – $1,051.50 and are available now for renewing and new subscribers. 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. Payment plans are available. A per-package handling fee applies.
Season ticket holders may opt out of “Wicked,” “Hamilton” and “Dear Evan Hansen” by calling the box office to complete their order.
Group and individual show tickets will go on sale at later dates to be announced.
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.