The recession doesn't seem to have caught up with the Broadway touring market. Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's 2009-10 Broadway season, announced today, includes a strong complement of high-profile, Tony Award-winning shows, including In the Heights, a revival of South Pacific, Wicked and Mary Poppins.
And perhaps the biggest show is one that hasn't been seen before: Wonderland: Alice's New Musical Adventure, which is being produced by TBPAC and will be premiered here, with high hopes that it will go on to Broadway. Here's the lineup:
In the Heights
Finally, salsa made it to Broadway, and made it big in Lin-Manuel Miranda's winner of the 2008 Tony for best musical. Set in the Manhattan barrio, it features a heady mix of Latin rhythms.
Wonderland: Alice's New Musical Adventure
Composer Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel) tries his hand at putting Alice in Wonderland to music. It will be staged in 1,100-seat Ferguson Hall, close in size to the Broadway theaters where TBPAC is hoping the show will end up.
Could be the most problematic of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classics to revive because its themes of racism (You've Got To Be Carefully Taught) and World War II patriotism can get heavy-handed. But the score is magnificent.
The back story of The Wizard of Oz turned into a fable of girl power makes its third visit to the center.
Stephen Schwartz, composer of Wicked, had his first hit with this tuneful version of the Gospel according to Matthew. Has there ever been a sweeter song than Day by Day? TBPAC will produce in its 260-seat Jaeb Theater.
Little House on the Prairie
A new musical based on the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura on the popular TV series, stars as Ma.
Cirque Dreams Illumination
Family-friendly circus-theater by the Florida-based producer responsible for Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, which played St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater this season.
What exactly is the relationship between the "practically perfect'' nanny Mary Poppins and Bert the chimney sweep? Nobody really knows. The musical from the 1964 Disney movie started its tour this month, with Floridian Ashley Brown reprising her Broadway role of Mary.