The Lexington Opera House's 2018-19 Broadway Live series will bring three new shows to Lexington, as well as another big event on its Variety Live series.
In addition, the five show line-up announced Tuesday night will include one time-honored classic and a recent favorite for a return visit.
"This past season was record breaking for us," Opera House general manager Luanne Franklin said. "Everything sold out or nearly sold out, particularly 'Dirty Dancing,' 'Motown,' and 'Jersey Boys.'
"I always have to play this game of, 'Can you top yourself?' and I think we have."
The lineup includes the national tours of the 2013 Tony Award winner for best musical, "Kinky Boots," and the 2015 Tony winner for best revival of a musical, "The King and I."
"Kinky Boots" took home six Tonys in all, including best original score for composer Cyndi Lauper — yes, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" Cyndi Lauper. The musical is based on the 2005 non-musical movie about a struggling British shoe factory that is revived by the partnership of its straight-laced owner and a drag queen who helps him develop high-heeled boots that can support the weight of men.
"It has such a message of acceptance, in an uplifting, positive way," Franklin said of the show.
Also coming from the screen to stage is "Finding Neverland," based on the 2004 Johnny Depp-Kate Winslet movie about author J.M. Barrie finding the inspiration for "Peter Pan" in a widow and her children.
The other new show on the schedule is an entirely original musical, "Something Rotten," about a struggling writer working in the shadow of superstar William Shakespeare in Elizabethan England. An interesting Kentucky footnote to this madcap comedy: the role of Shakespeare was developed by Frankfort native Will Chase. But Chase had to leave the production for TV obligations, and Christian Borle, who took over the role, won the Tony for best performance by a featured actor in a musical for his performance. Chase returned to the production late in its run.
Franklin acknowledges the show may be the toughest sell of the season, as it is not a familiar title. But she says she thinks audiences will be won over by the hilarious story that includes the writer trying to copy "Hamlet" as a musical, but he mistakenly thinks it's called "Omelet."
Rounding out the Broadway Live schedule is a beloved 21st century title, "Elf The Musical," based on the hit 2003 Will Ferrell movie that has become a holiday favorite.
Season tickets are on sale now for $210 to $350. Single tickets will go on sale Aug. 27. The Opera House promotes season ticket sales saying they lock in cheaper tickets prices as prices for single tickets often rise as they become scarce due to a Ticketmaster system called dynamic pricing.
As in recent years, there will be five performances of each show, one on Friday evening and a matinee and evening performance Saturday and Sunday.
Season ticket buyers also get the first shot at two to of the Opera House's Variety Live titles, including one that is a pretty big deal for the venue.
The Opera House will be the technical preparation site for the first national tour of "The Play That Goes Wrong," a British comedy about an ill-fated attempt to stage a murder mystery. The company of the production will be in town for three to four weeks of rehearsals and then present the first two performances of the show in Lexington on Sept. 14 and 15 before hitting the road to major markets across the nation.
"We are very excited to launch a national Equity tour from here," Franklin said, referring to Actors Equity, the stage actors' union.
Also on the Variety schedule is "American Girl Live!" a new musical based on the historical doll and book series. Rounding out the Variety Live Series are this summer's productions by the Lexington Theatre Company, "The Music Man" and "A Chorus Line" (tickets for those shows are on sale now) and the company's January "Concert with the Stars," featuring performances by established Broadway stars and aspiring college performers as well as the announcement of the company's summer productions.
The Broadway Live series was announced at Tuesday night performance at the Opera House featuring members of the Lexington Theatre Company's promotional cast presenting scenes and songs from each show.
Broadway Live 2018-19
What: A series of national touring productions of Broadway shows
Where: Lexington Opera House, 401 W. Short St.
Tickets: Season tickets on sale now $210-$350. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 27
"Elf The Musical" 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 1 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 18
"Kinky Boots" 8 p.m. Jan. 18, 2 and 8 p.m. Jan. 19, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Jan. 20
"Finding Neverland" 8 p.m. Feb. 15, 2 and 8 p.m. Feb. 16, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17
"Something Rotten!" 8 p.m. March 22, 2 and 8 p.m. March 23, 1 and 6:30 p.m. March 24
"The King and I" 8 p.m. April 26, 2 and 8 p.m. April 27, 1 and 6:30 p.m. April 28
"The Music Man" by the Lexington Theatre Company. July 15-12
"A Chorus Line" by the Lexington Theatre Company. Aug. 2-5
"The Play That Goes Wrong" Sept. 14, 15
"Concert with the Stars" by the Lexington Theatre Company, Jan. 12
"American Girl Live" Jan. 25, 26
Tickets to "Music Man" and "Chorus Line" on sale now. Other shows available now to Broadway Live subscribers; single tickets will go on sale Aug. 3.