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New Straz season brings 'Wicked,' 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,' 'Into the Woods' and more

The king of Siam rides through town, witches fly, and a mermaid falls in love with a man. The 2016-2017 Broadway season for the Straz Center for the Performing Arts announced on Monday includes 11 plays and musicals likely to find audiences of all ages for some of Broadway's most popular hits.

The season starts with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Nov. 8-13), a Tony-winning play adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon's novel. Christopher, a brilliant 15-year-old, excels in abstract thinking but not so much in everyday life. That all changes after he is accused of killing the neighbor's dog. Christopher turns his laser focus to the small details around him to find out who did the deed.

Next, travel Into the Woods (Nov. 29-Dec. 4) with Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella and Rapunzel, whose roles interweave in an enchanting mash-up. With music by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, Into the Woods wraps these timeless stories around the quest by a baker and his wife to start a family.

The spotlight turns next to the streets of Paris, in a romance between an American soldier and a French woman looking to rebuild their lives after World War II. Aided by a score from George and Ira Gershwin, this version of An American in Paris (Dec. 20-25) scooped up more awards than any other musical in the 2014-2015 season.

The schedule mixes things up a bit with Forbidden Broadway (Jan. 10-March 12, 2017), a cabaret review that spoofs dozens of musicals, actors and composers. No one is safe. Noteworthy targets include Julie Andrews, Carol Channing, Whoopi Goldberg, Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand and the most popular musicals in recent history. Two men and two women play all of the characters in the Jaeb Theater, with piano accompaniment.

The lineup continues with Cabaret (Jan. 24-29, 2017), part of Roundabout Theatre Company's 50th anniversary season, in which the only things to cut the tension in pre-war Germany are unforgettable songs and acid humor. Then comes Something Rotten! (March 7-12, 2017), another example of Broadway making fun of itself. Set in 1595, the story centers on two brothers who set out to write the worlds' first musical, a newfangled concept of singing, dancing and acting at the same time.

The King and I (May 2-7, 2017), an extension of the celebrated recent Broadway remake, brings back some Rodgers & Hammerstein favorites (Getting to Know You, Shall We Dance?). Another charming tale follows with Finding Neverland (May 30-June 4, 2017), a prequel to the Peter Pan story. Central questions about what we lose when we grow up have captured fans as one of Broadway's bigger hits in recent years.

The same might be said for old favorite Wicked (Feb. 1-26, 2017), a different take on the The Wizard of Oz. The show was immortalized on Broadway with performances by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. Disney's The Little Mermaid (July 11-16, 2017) follows in that same vein with a wrenching love story. With music by eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken, the story also weaves in other stories by Hans Christian Andersen.

The season ends on a powerful note with the return of Motown the Musical (Aug. 8-13, 2017), the story of promoter Berry Gordy, who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and more.

For information, call (813) 229-7827 or visit strazcenter.org.

Contact Andrew Meacham at ameacham@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2248. Follow @torch437.

New Straz season brings 'Wicked,' 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,' 'Into the Woods' and more 02/22/16 [Last modified: Monday, February 22, 2016 5:38pm]
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