“Hamilton” will be back, but first there’s the Peace Center’s 2019-20 Broadway season, a lineup that is packed with award winners, fresh revivals, and fan favorites.
It’s Greenville’s biggest Broadway season yet with a record 11 shows, including a two-week run of Disney’s “Aladdin,” and the 2018 Tony Award winners for best musical, “The Band’s Visit,” and best revival of a musical, “Once on This Island.”
Throw in the return of “Les Miserables” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” family favorite “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” classics “My Fair Lady” and “Cats,” and shows that feature the music of Jimmy Buffett, Donna Summer, and Carole King, and you have a season that Peace Center President Megan Riegel calls a crowd-pleaser.
“This season is comfortable,” she said. “People love the familiar, and this season has that.”
Season ticket packages, ranging from nine to all 11 shows, are available now. Payment plans are available. Group and individual show tickets will go on sale at later dates.
The Band’s Visit, Aug. 27-Sept. 1
“The Band’s Visit” won 10 Tony Awards, making it one of the most Tony-winning musicals in history, but is likely the show in the 2019-20 lineup that is most unfamiliar to many in the Upstate. The show, which ends its Broadway run on April 7, tells the story of a band of musicians who arrive lost in an off-the-beaten-path town. Over the course of a night, the band brings the town to life in unexpected ways. “It’s a really beautiful show with interesting, fresh music,” Riegel said.
Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Oct. 1-6
Dahl’s 1964 children’s book has been made into movies starring Gene Wilder in 1971 and Johnny Depp in 2005. The musical premiered in London in 2013 and was reworked for Broadway. In the familiar story, Willy Wonka opens his chocolate factory to a lucky few, including Charlie Bucket, whose bland life is about to burst with color and confection beyond his wildest dreams. The musical features songs from the original film, including “Pure Imagination,” “The Candy Man,” and “I’ve Got the Golden Ticket.” This and “Aladdin” make the season family friendly, Riegel said.
Once on This Island, Nov. 5-10
This Caribbean tale originally ran on Broadway from 1990 to 1991. It was radically restaged for Broadway and was the surprise winner of the 2018 Tony Award for best revival of a musical. The musical, with book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty, is set in the French Antilles and tells the story of Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl who is ready to risk it all for love. Riegel describes “Once on This Island” as a “wild show with music that is different.”
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Dec. 31, 2019 -Jan. 5, 2020
“Beautiful” tells the story of Carole King’s rise to musical stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband, Gerry Goffin, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music. The musical features an array of King’s songs, including “I Feel the Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Riegel said the show sold well when it was in Greenville in 2017. “Her music is so accessible,” she said.
My Fair Lady, Jan. 28-Feb. 2, 2020
Bartlett Sher likes to reimagine classic musicals. Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” is the latest. “My Fair Lady” tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.” It features classic songs such as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” and “On the Street Where You Live.” “It’s a classic,” Riegel said. “You can’t go wrong.”
Aladdin, Feb. 12-23, 2020
“Aladdin” got its start as a Disney animated film in 1992. It took more than two decades before it was made into a stage musical. But it was worth the wait. The Tony Award-winning show has run on Broadway for more than 2,000 performances. The Broadway hit features all the songs from the film as well as new music written by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin. “It’s Disney,” Riegel said. In the meantime, a live-action version of the movie starring Will Smith is due in theaters in May.
Les Miserables, March 3-8, 2020
Fan favorite “Les Miserables” is back. Last seen in Greenville in 2017, “Les Miserables” tells the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean as he’s trailed by police inspector Javert. The story, set against the backdrop of the Paris uprising of 1832, is one of redemption and social justice. It features beloved songs “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” and “One Day More.” “Les Miserables is a show people want to see over and over again,” Riegel said. “I’ve enjoyed it more as time has gone on.”
Escape to Margaritaville, April 7-12, 2020
It’s margarita time, Greenville. Parrotheads will love “Escape to Margaritaville,” a musical comedy featuring both original songs and Jimmy Buffett classics such as “Fins,” “Volcano,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” and more. “It’s just pure Jimmy Buffett songs,” Riegel said. The romantic comedy ran on Broadway in 2018.
Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, May 19-24, 2020
If Jimmy Buffett music is not your style, how about some disco? “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” tells the story of the rise of LaDonna Gaines, a girl from Boston with a heavenly voice who went from singing in a gospel choir to topping the charts as Donna Summer, known as the Queen of Disco. The score features more than 20 of Summer’s hits, including “Love to Love You Baby,” “Bad Girls,” and “Hot Stuff.”
Cats, June 23-28, 2020
This Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, based on a collection of poems by T.S. Eliot, tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make the “Jellicle choice” and decide which cat will be reborn. The musical has been updated since it originally opened in the West End in 1981 and on Broadway in 1982. This new production features new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (“Hamilton”) based on the original choreography by Gillian Lynne. “People are loving it,” Riegel said.
Jesus Christ Superstar, Aug. 4-9, 2020
It’s been 50 years since “Jesus Christ Superstar” told the story of the final days in the life of Jesus Christ through the eyes of Judas and set to rock music. This new production won the 2017 Olivier Award for best musical revival. It features a legendary score that includes “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” “Gethsemane,” and “Superstar.” “The music is so glorious. Everybody had the album,” Riegel said.