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Center stage
The Great Wide Way comes to Boston, and more

Advance booking

Amid a lavish video presentation, projectile confetti, and an appearance by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who enjoined a large assemblage to " stay focused on enjoying ourselves, " Broadway in Boston/Clear Channel Entertainment unveiled its 2003-2004 season last week. It fell to the mayor to tell us what was already common knowledge: the long-neglected Opera House, which is currently being returned to splendor by Clear Channel, will reopen in July 2004 with an open-ended engagement of Julie Taymor’s lavish, African-influenced Broadway production of Disney’s The Lion King. Otherwise, the floor belonged to Broadway in Boston president Tony McLean, who announced a season that brings no new plays but an impressive roster of Broadway hits.

Following a Wang Theatre engagement of the kids’ show Blues Clues Live! Blue’s Birthday Party beginning September 30, things get underway at the Colonial Theatre on October 7 when the hit Broadway musical based on the John Waters film Hairspray comes to town. Set in Baltimore in 1962, the upbeat show features, as the pencil-moustached Waters put it in the video preview, " a white girl who likes black boys, a mother played by a man, and a fat girl that gets the boy. Not the norm. " No word on who will play Divine’s part, that of Tracy Turnblad’s depressed mom, which is being undertaken on Broadway by growly Harvey Fierstein.

Beginning October 28, Emerson College opens its refurbished, newly named Cutler Majestic Theatre with a one-week stop by the international tour of the monumental " folk opera " by George and Ira Gershwin, Porgy and Bess, in an engagement sponsored by Broadway in Boston. That’s followed November 5 at the Colonial by yet another coming of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Les Misérables, which is billed as " the world’s most popular musical. "

We can also expect, beginning November 11 at the Wilbur Theatre in a co-presentation by Broadway in Boston and the Huntington Theatre Company, the Bard’s philosophical comedy As You Like It, with its cross-dressed romance in the Forest of Arden and the famous pronouncement that " All the world’s a stage. " This particular piece of the global stage will be trod by Theatre Royal Bath’s Sir Peter Hall Company; Hall, the former head of Britain’s Royal National Theatre, directs his daughter, Rebecca Hall, as Rosalind. A different sort of poetry follows, beginning December 9 at the Colonial Theatre, with the surprise Broadway hit Def Poetry Jam. Advertised as " where Walt Whitman meets Michael Jackson, " Russell Simmons’s kinetic jam features nine young hip-hop poets giving rhythmic voice to everything from " love to sex, politics to Krispy Kreme donuts. "

The New Year kicks off with Urinetown, " The Musical. " Winner of 2002 Tonys for book, music and lyrics, and direction (though not for Best Musical, which it lost to the more sanitized Thoroughly Modern Millie), this ironic fable of " greed, corruption, love, and revolution " in a town whose toilets are controlled by ruthless corporate powers comes to the Colonial Theatre January 6. Beginning January 20, Broadway in Boston teams with the FleetBoston Celebrity Series to present Cirque Éloise, a " carnival filled with song, dance, music, juggling, and acrobatic feats, " at the Wilbur Theatre. There’s also a return of the stage version of The Graduate to the Colonial beginning January 27. And at the Wang, Broadway in Boston presents, for the kiddies, Dora the Explorer Live.

Spring brings Movin’ Out, the Twyla Tharp dance spectacular that weaves a plot from 26 songs by Billy Joel, to the Colonial Theatre beginning March 2. A new production of that Rodgers & Hammerstein icon Oklahoma!, " adapted " from the Cameron Mackintosh presentation of the Royal National Theatre revival that played Broadway, pulls into the Colonial in May, 60 years after it tried out there (under the title Away We Go). And Broadway in Boston is " in negotiation " (which we certainly hope bears fruit) to bring the Abbey Theatre of Ireland production of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, which looks at the 1916 Easter Rising through the dirty windows of a Dublin tenement, to the Wilbur in the spring of 2004.

Broadway in Boston has. moreover, teamed with the Phoenix to sponsor two new programs for students. The Phoenix Student Series is a three-play subscription that includes Def Poetry Jam, Urinetown, and Movin’ Out; tickets will be located in the rear balcony at a cost of $94 for the trio. Interested students should call the Broadway in Boston Subscription Department at (617) 880-2458. The Phoenix/Broadway in Boston Student Rush program will allow full-time students with ID to purchase one ticket per ID, one hour prior to performance, for $25 at the theater box office, unless specified otherwise. For further information about this program, call Broadway in Boston at (617) 451-2345. To buy subscriptions to the 2003-2004 Broadway in Boston season, call (617) 880-2400; individual tickets will go on sale at a later date.

THE WANG CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS earlier announced its 2003-2004 schedule for the Wang and the Shubert Theatres. The season kicks off at the Shubert September 9 through 21 with a revival of Mary Chase’s 1944 comic classic Harvey, which was made famous by the 1950 film that starred Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd, a sweet, sozzled soul whose best friend is a six-foot-tall invisible rabbit. The new production is directed by Charles Nelson Reilly and stars Dick Cavett and Charles Durning. That’s followed by Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, which streams " Edelweiss " and a gaggle of Trapp children into the Wang Theatre September 16 through 21. Alain Boublil & Claude-Michel Schönberg’s 1989 Vietnam-era rewrite of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Miss Saigon, appears in a " newly conceived touring production " by Big League Theatricals, at the Wang September 23 through 28.

The Boston premiere of the 2002 Tony-winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, which is based on the 1967 Oscar-winning film about a Jazz Age flapper in New York, will come to the Wang October 7 through 12. And Chicago — the stage show, not the movie — returns to the theater, with its dueling murderesses and flamboyant Bob Fosse choreography, November 4 through 9.

Across the street at the Shubert, the Age of Aquarius redawns with a 35th-anniversary production of Hair, " the original American Tribal-Love Rock musical, " January 20 through February 1. The Nunsense 20th Anniversary All-Star Tour comes to the Shubert February 10 through 15, featuring among its singing, dancing Little Sisters of Hoboken comedienne Kaye Ballard, Georgia Engel of Mary Tyler Moore fame, Broadway’s Mimi Hines, recording artist Darlene Love, and former Miss America Lee Meriwether. The show is directed by the Nunsense franchise’s creator, Dan Goggin.

Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Lionel Bart’s Oliver is set for the Wang Theatre March 2 through 7, with its promise of " Food, Glorious Food " and Fagin-esque villainy. Then come the roller skates, when Andrew Lloyd Webber’s thunderous train musical Starlight Express chugs into the Wang April 27 through May 2.

Tickets for The Sound of Music, Miss Saigon, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Chicago, Oliver, and Starlight Express are on sale at the Wang Theatre box office, 270 Tremont Street in the Theater District; tickets for Harvey, Hair, and Nunsense are on sale at the Shubert Theatre box office, 265 Tremont Street. You can also visit www.wangcenter.org, or call Telecharge at (800) 447-7400.

BSO 2003-2004

Next season’s Boston Symphony Orchestra line-up has been announced, and while we’re waiting for James Levine to take over as the orchestra’s music director, this interim period has given us a rare opportunity to sample guest conductors and soloists. Among the BSO highlights: the peerless Dubravka Tomsĭc on opening weekend; December performances of Wynton Marsalis’s All Rise; appearances by Levine and Christoph von Dohnányi in January; and, in March, Paavo Berglund doing Sibelius. Here’s the complete line-up:

October 2, 3, 4

Bernard Haitink, Dubravka Tomsĭc, Tanglewood Festival Chorus

Beethoven: Choral Fantasy

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5

October 9, 10, 11, 17

Bernard Haitink, Emanuel Ax

Wagner: Prelude to Parsifal

Debussy: Excerpts from Le martyre de St. Sébastien

Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde

Franck: Symphonic Variations

Debussy: La mer

October 16, 18

Bernard Haitink, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Simon Keenlyside, Nathalie Stutzmann, Gerald Finley, John Tomlinson, Alfred Walker, Tanglewood Festival Chorus

Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande

October 28, 30, November 1

Charles Mackerras, Steven Ansell

Berlioz: Harold in Italy

Berlioz: La symphonie fantastique

November 4, 6, 7, 8

Hans Graf, Claudio Bohórquez

Tchaikovsky: The Tempest

Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2

November 20, 21, 22

Colin Davis

Haydn: Symphony No. 72

Elgar: Symphony No. 2

November 28, 29, December 2

Kurt Masur, Yefim Bronfman

Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1

December 3, 4, 6

Kurt Masur, Wynton Marsalis, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Tanglewood Festival Chorus

Marsalis: All Rise

January 8, 9, 10

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Keith Lewis, Susanne Mentzer, Gilles Cachemailles, Laurent Naouri, Robert Lloyd, William Hite, Alain Coulombe, Tanglewood Festival Chorus

Berlioz: L’enfance du Christ

January 15, 16, 17

James Levine

Mozart: Symphony No. 31

Carter: Micomicón

Carter: Partita

Dvorák: Symphony No. 8

January 22, 23, 24

Antonio Pappano, Gil Shaham

Debussy: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune

Berg: Violin Concerto

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10

January 29, 30, 31

Christoph von Dohnányi, Radu Lupu

Kurtág: Stele

Schumann: Piano Concerto

Brahms: Symphony No. 4

February 5, 6, 7, 10

Ton Koopman, Pieter Wispelwey

J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 1

C.P.E. Bach: Cello Concerto in A

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 5

February 12, 13, 14

Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Alexander Rozhdestvensky, Viktoria Postnikova

Suk: A Summer’s Tale

Martinu: Concerto da camera

Dvŏrák: Selected Symphonic Dances

February 19, 20, 21, 24

Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Steven Isserlis

Glazunov: Overture on Greek Themes No. 2

Prokofiev: Cello Concerto in E minor

Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings

Johann Strauss Jr.: Hommage au public russe

February 26, 27, 28, March 2

Herbert Blomstedt, Peter Serkin

Mendelssohn: Overture to Die schöne Melusine

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 17

Nielsen: Symphony No. 4

March 4, 5, 6, 9

Robert Spano, Garrick Ohlsson

Golijov: Last Round

Knussen: Symphony No. 4

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 3

March 11, 12, 13, 16

Edo de Waart, Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Dvŏrák: Piano Concerto

Ives: Thanksgiving &/or Forefathers’ Day

Janácek: Sinfonietta

March 18, 19, 20

Edo de Waart, Waltraud Meier

Wagner: Act One Prelude to Lohengrin

Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder

Wagner (arr. de Vlieger): The Ring

March 25, 26, 27, 30

Paavo Berglund, Frank Peter Zimmermann

Mahler (arr. Britten): What the Wild Flowers Tell Me

Britten: Violin Concerto

Sibelius: Symphony No. 6

Sibelius: Symphony No. 7

April 1, 2, 3, 6

Grant Llewellyn, John Relyea, Tanglewood Festival Chorus

Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis

Musgrave: Turbulent Landscapes

Walton: Belshazzar’s Feast

April 8, 9, 10

James Conlon, Andreas Haefliger

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1

Zemlinsky: Die Seejungfrau

April 22, 23, 24, 27

Mario Vanzago, Gidon Kremer, Ula Ulijona

Britten: Double Concerto

Nyman: Violin Concerto

Beethoven: Violin Concerto

April 29, 30, May 1

Daniele Gatti, Gianluca Cascioli

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 23

Mahler: Symphony No. 1

May 4, 6, 7, 8

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Nadja Michael, Tanglewood Festival Chorus

Berlioz: La mort de Cléopâtre

Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé


Issue Date: April 17 - 24, 2003

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