Hamilton, Frozen and Pretty Woman Head to the Aronoff Center for Broadway in Cincinnati's 2020-2021 Season

With a total of eight productions, the 2020-2021 season brings more musicals, as usual, but also a hit play; some classics; and several productions will appeal to families.

click to enlarge Shoba Narayan, Ta'Rea Campbell and Nyla Sostre in the national touring production of "Hamilton" - Photo: Joan Marcus
Photo: Joan Marcus
Shoba Narayan, Ta'Rea Campbell and Nyla Sostre in the national touring production of "Hamilton"

Our local Broadway in Cincinnati series just announced its 2020-2021 season — one of the best in recent memory — featuring touring productions from New York City. Big news: Hamilton is coming back, this time for four weeks in 2021, one week longer than its 2019 engagement. Also, there's no requirement to subscribe to get tickets. (You can purchase additional tickets.) The demand for the show’s stop here a year ago was so great — every performance was virtually sold out — that single tickets and extras for subscribers were all but unavailable.

But according to publicist Elizabeth Truitt Armstrong, that’s not all that’s appealing. The 2020-2021 season brings more musicals, as usual, but also a hit play; some classics; and several productions that will appeal to families. With a total of eight announced productions, several recent hits should be well received, especially Frozen (based on Disney’s animated film), the much-praised revival of My Fair Lady, and Ain’t Too Proud, the high-energy, fleet-footed portrait of Motown’s Temptations.

Here’s the complete run-down:

Pretty Woman: The Musical (Nov/. 10-22, 2020)

If you loved the 1990 romantic comedy, a kind of Cinderella story, you’re likely to love this musical adaptation from 2018 that just recently launched its national tour. It’s the story of a star-crossed meeting between a sex worker and a disillusioned businessman.

My Fair Lady (Dec. 1-13, 2020)

Perhaps the greatest show from Broadway’s Golden Age, this 1956 classic was revived at Lincoln Center Theater in 2018 and nominated for 10 Tony Awards. The sumptuous sets and costumes for the Broadway production have been recreated down to the last details of 1913 London, where Henry Higgins, a pompous linguistics professor, sets out to remake a Cockney flower seller, Eliza Doolittle, as a “proper lady.” Great tunes like “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” are from this show.

Frozen (Jan. 6-24, 2021)

Disney has turned another animated blockbuster (not to mention an Academy Award winner) into another family-friendly Broadway hit (think The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin). Frozen is about a pair of sisters who are princesses. It draws on geography, mythology and cultural traditions from Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The stage version features the film’s familiar songs plus a dozen new musical numbers. It’s my bet that tickets for this production will be stuffed into a lot of holiday stockings.

The Band's Visit (Feb. 9-14, 2021)

It was a major feat for a small-budget musical to win 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. That’s precisely what The Band’s Visit did in 2018. A band of Arab musicians gets lost in the desert and ends up needing to spend the night in a remote Israeli settlement. Conflict seems imminent, but heart-warming stories and engaging melodies induce laughter, tears and human understanding. Subscribers get to choose between this production and Hairspray; hands down, this one is my choice. Note: It's just a one-week run.

Hamilton (March 2-28, 2021)

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s revolutionary retelling of American history uses Hip Hop, Jazz, R&B and Broadway melodies to tell the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton. The show has impacted culture, politics and education. Cincinnati native (and St. Xavier High School grad) Andy Blankenbuehler provided Tony Award-winning choreography. Based on Ron Chernow’s acclaimed biography, Hamilton won Tony, Grammy and Olivier Awards, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. As noted, it will be here for four weeks, almost the entire month of March. Don’t throw away your shot.

To Kill a Mockingbird (April 6-18, 2021)

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about race relations from 1960 was adapted by Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin into a 2018 stage production that 60 Minutes called “the most successful American play in Broadway history.” (It’s still selling out performances in New York City). TV star Jeff Daniels brought Atticus Finch to life on Broadway, and another renowned actor has been cast in the touring production: Richard Thomas

Hairspray (May 4-9, 2021)

A new revival of this Tony Award winner from 2002 brings back the story of 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad, a girl with big dreams (and bigger hair) in 1960s Baltimore, hot in pursuit of dancing on TV’s most popular show. As noted, this production is an either/or choice for subscribers with The Band’s Visit. One week only.

Ain't Too Proud (May 25-June 6, 2021)

The show’s subtitle says it all: “The Life and Times of The Temptations.” It opened just a year ago on Broadway, portraying the iconic Motown ensemble as its members evolved from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With award-winning choreography, this new tour is a joyous (and occasionally heartbreaking) tale of brotherhood, family, loyalty and betrayal from the 1960s to the present.

For more info/tickets: cincinnati.broadway.com or call 513-621-2787. 

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