Awaiting Shakespeare and ‘Hamilton’

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company recently announced its 24th season — the first at its new home at Elm and 12th streets — while Broadway in Cincinnati is ballyhooing Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Hamilton' for the 2018-19 season.

Feb 15, 2017 at 12:07 pm

click to enlarge Hamilton will be a 2018-19 Broadway in Cincinnati offering. - Photo: Joan Marcus
Photo: Joan Marcus
Hamilton will be a 2018-19 Broadway in Cincinnati offering.
This is the time of year that theater companies reveal their upcoming seasons. Subscription sales are their goal as they offer packages for 2017-18. Of considerable interest right now is Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s recently announced 24th season, when it relocates to its new theater at Elm and 12th streets in Over-the-Rhine. The opening production at its Otto M. Budig Theater will be A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Sept. 8-30), Shakespeare’s ever-popular romantic comedy. 

There will be several American classics: a family-friendly adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Nov. 17-Dec. 9), an adaptation of the 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Jan. 26-Feb. 17, 2018) and Tennessee Williams’ steamy drama, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (April 6-28, 2018). 

More Shakespeare comes along with the tragedy of Othello (March 2-24, 2018) and the season concludes with Michael Frayn’s backstage sex farce, Noises Off (May 18-June 9, 2018). Cincy Shakes also is producing two holiday-themed shows not included in subscriptions: Dracula (Oct. 13-Nov. 4) and Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!) (Dec. 21-31).

Broadway in Cincinnati, meanwhile, has announced its upcoming season of big-name shows. It will start with five weeks of Wicked (Sept. 13-Oct. 15). It’s the Wizard of Oz spinoff’s fifth Cincinnati landing, but it’s clear expectations are high for ticket sales, even though this is a “special engagement,” not included in subscriptions. The season officially begins with Finding Neverland (Nov. 7-19), about Peter Pan author J. M. Barrie, and continues with A Christmas Story (Dec. 5-10), about Ralphie’s memorable quest for an air rifle. The six-show subscription is filled out with a choice between that and another one-week engagement of Kander and Ebb’s venerable vaudeville musicalChicago (March 20-25, 2018).

The recent Broadway production Waitress (Jan. 9-21, 2018) is based on a 2007 movie about a woman whose pie-baking skill might enable her to escape her unhappy marriage. It features music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles. Then it’s School of Rock (Feb. 21-March 4, 2018), inspired by Jack Black’s 2003 Rock & Roll film; a highly praised revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I (April 10-22, 2018); and Aladdin (May 29-June 10, 2018), based on the 1992 Disney animated film. The Book of Mormon (July 31-Aug. 5, 2018) bookends the season with another special engagement here, the show’s third. 

The biggest news from Broadway in Cincinnati is the show that’s not part of the 2017-18 season: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster Hip Hop musical Hamilton is being ballyhooed as a production for the 2018-19 season. Since opening on Broadway in 2015, it’s been well nigh impossible to get tickets for that production, or to afford them, with sky-high prices of nearly $1,000. A second production opened in Chicago in October and it’s selling just as well.

The touring production that will eventually reach Cincinnati takes off in San Francisco this March, where it runs for five months, moves to Los Angeles for another five months, then on to Seattle, Houston and Washington, D.C. The national tour’s website lists the following cities (alphabetically, not chronologically) for 2017-18: Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Cleveland; Costa Mesa, Calif.; Denver; Des Moines, Iowa; Las Vegas; Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; San Diego; Saint Louis; and Tempe, Ariz. Cincinnati is in a pack of nine cities for 2018-19: Dallas; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Kansas City, Mo.; Minneapolis; New Orleans; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Orlando, Fla.; and Tulsa, Okla. are the others. Bottom line: It’s likely at least two years before it lands at the Aronoff.

Broadway in Cincinnati is using Hamilton as bait for 2017-18 subscribers. “(Those) who renew for the 18/19 season will be able to guarantee their tickets for the premiere Cincinnati engagement of Hamilton before tickets become available to the general public,” its news release announces. 

Only Broadway in Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Arts Association (Aronoff Center ticketing) are authorized sellers of Broadway in Cincinnati tickets, so be wary of independent ticketing agencies already promising Hamilton tickets.

CONTACT RICK PENDER: [email protected]