For its 39th year, Lexington Opera House general manager Luanne Franklin thought it was time for a greatest-hits season of Broadway Live..
At a gala event Wednesday night at the Opera House, Franklin unveiled a list of five proven crowd-pleasers for theater fans of all ages, and one new title with a huge Kentucky tie.
"We thought with our 40th year coming up, it was a good time bring back some favorites," Franklin said before the gala. "Also, this happens to be a year when a lot of the bigger recent shows have not turned to touring tertiary markets yet."
When Broadway shows go on tour, they generally start with major markets for multiple-week or extended engagements, and then subsequent tours come to smaller markets.
One show making that turn is Once, the 2012 Tony Award winner for best musical, based on the hit 2007 movie of the same name. The Broadway production featured Ashland native and Morehead State University graduate Steve Kazee in the lead role of Guy, and he won the Tony Award for best actor in a musical.
Kazee will not be in the touring production, which arrives in Lexington on April 22 to 24, but it will be a chance to see the show that boosted Kazee's career. As in the Broadway and touring productions, the set will be a bar where audiences can come up and order beer and wine before the show and during intermission.
Other favorite titles for the adult crowd will be a new production of the Mel Brooks Broadway smash The Producers, Nov. 13 to 15, and the ABBA show Mamma Mia, Feb. 4 to 7.
All shows will run for one performance Friday evening, and matinee and evening performances Saturday and Sunday, with one exception: Mamma Mia. It will be presented Thursday to Sunday with no Sunday evening performance because of the Super Bowl.
"I'm not competing with the Super Bowl," Franklin said. "The Thursday night performance will replace the Sunday night performance."
Showtimes Friday and Saturday nights will be 8 p.m. for the performances already mentioned, but there will be a "family friendly" 7:30 p.m. starting time for the performances of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Sept. 25 to 27, and Annie, Jan. 8 to 10.
"This is the final year for the Beauty and the Beast tour," Franklin said. "Then they say they are going to put it in 'the vault," referring to Disney's practice of taking films out of circulation from time to time.
Along with the Broadway titles, the Opera House announced three Variety Live titles, including The Lexington Theatre Company's summer production of 42nd Street, July 23 to 26; Stomp, Feb. 17 and 18; and Flashdance — The Musical, March 8. Broadway Live subscribers will be able to reserve tickets to those shows first, and at a discount.
Opera House spokeswoman Sheila Kenny said subscribers save as much as 55 percent off single-ticket prices, which fluctuate based on demand, once they go on sale. Other benefits of subscribing include priority seating, exchange privileges for various performances, and food and drink specials at the Opera House and Saul Good restaurant.
Note: This story was updated from an earlier version to correct the date of the Flashdance performance.