The Lexington Opera House's 2013-14 Broadway Live season will open with one of the series' greatest successes and will close with a show that is up for the Tony Award for best musical.
OK, Bring it On: The Musical isn't going to win the Tony. But its inclusion marks a milestone for the series, which has edged closer to current Broadway programming each year.
Opera House general manager Luanne Franklin says the stronger lineups of shows are a direct result of the series' programming strategy in recent years.
"Because we program on weekends with five shows each, we're in a stronger position to book the best shows available to us," Franklin says.
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The season will include the 2010 Tony Award winner for best musical, Memphis, one half of a double shot of Tennessee's Mississippi River town. Before Memphis rolls in Feb. 14 to 16, the Opera House will present Million Dollar Quartet, a show about a jam session at Sun Studios with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, on Jan. 10 to 12.
This season will return to offering a play, sans musical numbers, with The Miracle Worker, March 14 to 16. The season will open Nov. 8 to 10 with the Equity tour of Chicago. All actors in the show are members of Actors Equity, the stage actors union. That tour last stopped at the Opera House in 2005 and is remembered as one of the best productions on the series.
Equity tours are a feather in the cap of the series, but Franklin says she sees plenty of strong talent in non-Equity tours that she considers when selecting Broadway seasons.
"Non-Equity shows play primary markets now," Franklin says, meaning larger cities including Cincinnati and Louisville.
Another trend Franklin has particularly liked the past few years is more shows that are attracting younger patrons, including The Addams Family this season and Spamalot a few years ago.
She expects Bring It On, based on the 2000 Kirsten Dunst cheerleading movie, to have similar appeal.
The Tony Award nomination shocked even the show's producers. The Broadway production closed at the end of last year, and nominees are usually running during the springtime Tony nomination season. Kinky Boots, the stage version of the 2005 film about an Irish shoe company that avoids bankruptcy by making flashy, trashy boots for drag queens, is widely expected to get the Tony this year.
Franklin says she suspects that the Bring It On tour came together so quickly because competitive cheerleaders make up a lot of the cast.
Season tickets are on sale now, and Franklin says that they generally offer a savings of at least 20 percent over single tickets. Season packages start at $168. Single tickets for Broadway Live presentations have frequently topped $100 in recent seasons.
The Opera House also is touting a Broadway Live subscription as a chance to be among the first to buy tickets to a few attractive shows outside the Broadway series next season, including a Nov. 22 appearance by Mannheim Steamroller with Chip Davis at the Opera House, and the Lexington Center Museum's presentation of Titanic, the Artifact Exhibit, opening Oct. 5.
IF YOU GO
Broadway Live 2013-14
What: The Lexington Opera House's annual series of touring versions of hit Broadway shows.
■ Chicago, Nov. 8-10
■ Million Dollar Quartet, Jan. 10-12
■ Memphis, Feb. 14-16
■ The Miracle Worker, March 14-16
■ Bring It On: The Musical, April 11-13
Show times are 8 p.m. Fri., 2 and 8 p.m. Sat., 1 and 6 p.m. Sun.
Where: Lexington Opera House, 401 W. Short St.
Tickets: Season tickets are $168-$324. Call (859) 233-3535 or go to the Lexington Center Ticket Office. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 29.