How do you follow a hit like Hamilton?
Amid the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts’ most successful Broadway season ever, it has announced its 2019-2020 slate of shows, a lineup that brings Tony Award-winning musicals, revivals and the knowledge that this year may not bring the success of last year.
Straz Center CEO and president Judy Lisi said they expect there could be a 10 to 15 percent drop in season ticket subscribers, similar to the drops they experienced after The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera came to Tampa for the first time. And, like those shows, Hamilton will be back one day, she said.
Driven by the touring production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical, the Straz Center’s 2018-2019 season tickets sold out for the first time ever. But the cost also went up significantly, ranging from $301 to $889 last season. For the 2019-2020 season, prices will go back down a bit, to $243.50 to $898.
Lisi is confident about the new season. And she has a feeling about which show will be this year’s big hit.
“Disney’s Aladdin, which opens over the holidays, will be the biggest smash for us,” she said.
There are nine shows in the Broadway series, plus special engagement performances of Jesus Christ Superstar and The SpongeBob Musical. There are four revivals, and newer shows like Mean Girls, the movie-turned-musical penned by comedian Tina Fey that debuted on Broadway just a year ago.
The lineup starts in September, when international comedy and theater troupe Spymonkey brings Hysteria (Sept. 17-Nov. 3) to the intimate Jaeb Theater. Described as Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca meets the Pink Panther, expect absurdity and physical comedy from this farce.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Oct. 8-13) brings Roald Dahl’s beloved book to the stage, with songs from the 1971 movie including Pure Imagination and The Candy Man. There is also a new score from the songwriters of Hairspray.
Ten-time Tony Award-winning musical Fiddler on the Roof (Nov. 5-10) is the first of the season’s four musical revivals. The classic gets a fresh update from Bartlett Sher, who won a Tony for best director for South Pacific. While the production may be new, favorite songs like If I Were a Rich Man, Sunrise, Sunset and Tradition remain.
Following that is Once on This Island (Nov. 19-24), winner of the 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. The New York Times raved about the show that follows Ti Moune, a peasant girl who is guided by the gods of the Antilles islands on a sojourn to reunite with her true love.
Then comes Aladdin, running Dec. 19-Jan. 5. Based on the hit Disney film, the musical has the potential to be just as visually spectacular as The Lion King, with all the favorite songs from the movie (A Whole New World) as well as new music written by powerhouses Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.
A team of funny people are behind the Broadway hit Mean Girls (Feb. 18-23, 2020): Tina Fey, who wrote the movie script; composer Jeff Richmond (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt); lyricist Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde); and director Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon). The tale of teenage angst, cliques and bullies is nothing new, but here it’s handled with wicked humor.
The New Yorker called Miss Saigon (March 24-29, 2020) a “dynamite Broadway revival.” It’s the love story of a Vietnamese woman named Kim and an American G.I. named Chris, who are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. Kim goes on a three-year journey to find Chris, who has no idea that he has fathered a son.
The Straz goes disco with Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (May 5-10, 2020), which traces Summer’s path to stardom from her beginnings in a gospel choir to disco diva. The score features more than 20 of her classic hits, including Hot Stuff and the steamy Love to Love You Baby.
Lisi said the new production of My Fair Lady (June 2-7, 2020) gets an unusual twist on the story of transformation but keeps the classic songs I Could Have Danced All Night, The Rain in Spain and Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?
Not part of the season ticket package are Jesus Christ Superstar (May 26-31, 2020), Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s iconic rock opera that is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and The SpongeBob Musical (July 21-26, 2020), in which the animated Nickelodeon series is reimagined through a colorful and acclaimed production.
IF YOU GO
Individual show tickets will go on sale at a later date, to be announced.
Current Straz Center season ticket subscribers will receive renewal invoices the week of March 25 and must renew by April 19 to guarantee their seats. New season ticket orders will be limited and will be handled in the order in which they are received.
For more information, call or visit the ticket office: (813) 229-7827; 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. Find more Broadway season details at strazcenter.org.
Contact Maggie Duffy at [email protected] Follow @maggiedalexis.