Friday, April 20, 2018
Stage

'Pippin,' 'Book of Mormon,' 'Dirty Dancing' on Straz's 2014-15 Broadway series

Come next spring, we could be in for lots of come-hither advertising to the tune of "Join us, leave your fields to flower, join us, leave your cheese to sour …"

But with hope, you will not be wasting an hour or two, as goes the next line in Magic to Do, when the Broadway revival of Pippin comes to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. It's one in a lineup of crowd-pleasers on the Straz's 2014-15 Broadway series schedule, released today.

Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson's 1972 musical is a hot one to note April 14-19, 2015, as the revival recently splashed back to Broadway after 40 years. The Leading Player made famous by Ben Vereen was reimagined by the effervescent Patina Miller in 2013, winning her a Tony.

In the musical, a young prince sets off on an epic journey, choosing between a life of simplicity or a chance at pow-wow-glory, stuff we've all worked through in therapy. Pippin is stylish and substantial, set to pop tunes, Bob Fosse-style choreography and circus acrobatics.

Much of the Straz's new Broadway schedule screams "date night." Exhibit A: Dirty Dancing comes Dec. 2-7. Yes, that Dirty Dancing, complete with Eric Carmen's '80s-tastic Hungry Eyes and the cruise-ship staple (I've Had) The Time of My Life. In case you never had VH1 during a breakup, Dirty Dancing tells the story of Frances "Baby" Houseman, bored to death on a Catskills resort trip with her parents before meeting dance instructor Johnny Castle. Swooning ensues. Fans of the film are bound to turn out for the guilty pleasure on stage, first realized in Australia in 2004.

Berry Gordy's journey from boxer to music legend unfolds in Motown the Musical, March 17-22, 2015, with classic jams My Girl and Ain't No Mountain High Enough. It joins staple musicals Annie (Feb. 17-22, 2015), Phantom of the Opera (Dec. 17-Jan. 4, 2015), Beauty and the Beast (May 5-10, 2015) and Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella (Oct. 21-26).

Magic will get a moment with The Illusionists (May 26-31, 2015), a traveling magic show with seven of the top illusionists in the world. Dan Sperry is described as a hybrid of Marilyn Manson and David Copperfield. And escape artist Andrew Basso likes to wriggle out of situations involving explosives, water, handcuffs and chains.

And in case you missed it in 2013, The Book of Mormon will return to the Straz for an encore Jan. 20 through Feb. 1, 2015. The language and themes in the show by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone should balance any toothy sweetness from Cinderella and Annie. A little something for everyone.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8716. Follow her on Twitter at @stephhayes.

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