The local premiere of the incredibly imaginative, superbly staged and wonderfully heartwarming World War 1 drama “War Horse,” winner of five 2011 Tony Awards including Best Play, opens and headlines the Victoria Theatre Association’s 2013-14 Premier Health Broadway Series, announced Feb. 7 at a grand unveiling ceremony in the Wintergarden of the Schuster Center.
Slated for Oct. 22-27, the marvelous London import, an epic play-with-music based on the children’s novel by Michael Morpurgo adapted in 2011 into an Academy Award-nominated film by Steven Spielberg, marks the rare inclusion of a touring play on the Broadway Series lineup. The emotional story concerns the tender bond between young Albert Narracott and Joey, his beloved horse. “War Horse” also features awesome life-sized puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company. As an added bonus at the announcement ceremony, Joey made a surprise appearance, galloping and neighing among the mesmerized audience by way of three gifted puppeteers who briefly showcased their impressively synchronized skills following the performance. Having seen “War Horse” on Broadway at Lincoln Center during previews before it became the hottest ticket in town, I can assure you it is an extremely special experience not to be missed.
The Broadway Series also includes “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” (presented by the Human Race Theatre Company at the Victoria Theatre); the 2011 Tony-nominated musical “Sister Act” based on the 1992 film of the same name; the race relations-themed 2010 Tony-winning Best Musical “Memphis” featuring music by David Bryan of Bon Jovi; the area return of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” and the 2010 Tony-nominated musical “Million Dollar Quartet” chronicling the legendary Sun Records recording session between Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
The Projects Unlimited Variety Series and PNC Family Series will particularly offer a diverse concert from the very promising Black Violin, a hip-hop-meets-classical troupe meshing Bach, Beyonce and more. Comedian Tom Cotter, a finalist on last season’s “America’s Got Talent,” and the marriage comedy “You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up” round out the Variety Series. The reliably entertaining, puppet-driven Zoot Theatre Company will notably adapt “Alice in Wonderland” for the Family Series.
Additionally, the ABBA-friendly 2002 Tony-nominated musical “Mamma Mia!” returns to the Schuster Center over Thanksgiving weekend as one of the first Star Attractions announced for next season. More Star Attractions will be announced at a later date. The Cool Film Series and Fifth Third Bank National Geographic Live Series will also be revealed in the coming months.
Broadway Series subscriptions are priced at $260-$507. Projects Unlimited Variety Series subscriptions are priced at $74-$125. PNC Family Series subscriptions are $40 per person. Single tickets will go on sale at a later date. For additional information, call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com or www.victoriatheatre.com
“War Horse” (Oct. 22-27, 2013)
“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” (Dec. 3-15, 2013)
“Sister Act” (Jan. 28-Feb. 2, 2014)
“Memphis” (April 8-13, 2014)
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” (May 27-June 2, 2014)
“Million Dollar Quartet” (June 17-22, 2014)
“Mamma Mia!” (Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2013)
PROJECTS UNLIMITED VARIETY SERIES
Tom Cotter (Oct. 18, 2013)
“You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up” (March 14, 2014)
Black Violin (May 2, 2014)
The Squirm Burpee Circus (Nov. 2, 2013)
Zoot Theatre Company’s “Alice in Wonderland” (Feb. 1, 2014)
“The Ugly Duckling & The Tortoise and the Hare” (March 8, 2014)
Black Violin (May 3, 2014)