Blumenthal’s 2011-12 Duke Energy Broadway Lights Series

The new season of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center’s “Broadway Lights Series” (sponsored by Duke Energy) has been officially announced! Like last season, there’s a good mix of new shows and classic favorites.

I’m not hopping up and down like I was when I found out Next to Normal and In the Heights were coming, but there are a few shows that I have been meaning to see that are coming to Broadway next season.

From the announcement article in the Charlotte Observer:

“The Addams Family,”* Ovens Auditorium, Oct. 11-16: Charles Addams’ morbidly funny cartoons come to life, as the son of a straight-arrow family falls in love with somber Wednesday.

“West Side Story,”* Belk Theater, Nov. 1-6: The Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim masterpiece about gangs now has some Spanish-language lyrics for the Puerto Rican Sharks.

“Million Dollar Quartet,”* Knight Theater, Nov. 22-Dec. 11: The greatest rockabilly lineup ever met in Memphis 55 years ago; two were destined for Olympus and two for briefer success.

“Rock of Ages,” Belk, Dec. 26-31: A would-be actress, aspiring rocker and urban planners cross paths in this L.A.-set musical, which uses pop songs from the 1980s as its score.

“Memphis,”* Ovens, Jan. 3-8: This musical is set in the 1950s, when rhythm ‘n’ blues crossed over from black to white fans. It’s loosely based on the life of disc jockey Dewey Phillips.

“Spamalot,” Knight, Feb. 17-19: King Arthur and his knights search for the Holy Grail (and maybe a nice piece of shrubbery) in this very silly adaptation of a very silly film.

“Jersey Boys”* (add-on), Belk, Feb. 22-March 11: This is the unstoppable musical about the trials and tribulations of the Four Seasons. Do Charlotteans love vocalist Frankie Valli? The PAC had to add a second date to his sold-out gig last month.

“Stomp,” Belk, April 3-8: Percussionists knock out beats on items small and large, from cigarette lighters to garbage can lids to their own sweaty bodies.

“Bring It On,”* Belk, April 10-15: Not just a compilation of the five films about competing black and white cheerleading squads, but a new story about a white captain who transforms the team at an urban school after suddenly being transferred.

“Come Fly Away,”* Belk, May 1-6: Twyla Tharp choreographed a tale of love around 19 songs performed by Frank Sinatra. A live band will accompany vocals lifted off classic recordings.

“La Cage Aux Folles,”* Belk, May 29-June 3: A gay nightclub owner conceals his partnership with its leading man when his son wants to marry the daughter of a homophobic politician.

“Beauty and the Beast,” Belk, June 26-July 1: The grand Disney musical about Belle, her daffy dad and her two beastly suitors – one a prince and one a preening bully – hasn’t passed through Charlotte since 2002.

The normal “seven-show subscription” includes two I’m looking forward to seeing for the first time: The Addams Family and Bring It On. I wouldn’t mind seeing the tour of West Side Story, having seen the Davidson Community Players perform it several times a couple of years ago. I’m curious about Memphis, so that’s cool. And I really enjoyed La Cage Aux Folles on Broadway last year, so I’ll happily see that again.

Jersey Boys I saw, and though I enjoyed it, I probably wouldn’t pay to see it again. I’m not particularly interested in either Million Dollar Quartet or Come Fly Away. Fortunately, as a season subscriber I can trade tickets for one of those shows in to see something else instead — perhaps one of the “Broadway Extras” shows like Stomp or Spamalot, both of which I enjoyed. And hopefully I can sell the others to someone who’ll be delighted to take advantage of my seat assignments 🙂

I’d described my reaction as “measured satisfaction” here. Not as thrilled as last season, but it’s still a pretty good line-up. What about you, readers? Any of these shows really blow your skirt up?

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