The Victoria Theatre Association combines recognizable titles with fresher fare for a 2014-2015 season absolutely bound to please unlike any other lineup from the organization in recent memory.
The Premier Health Broadway Series, Projects Unlimited Variety Series, Star Attractions and PNC Family Series were announced Thursday, Feb. 13 in the Wintergarden of the Schuster Center. Emceed by Larry Hansgen of WHIO AM/FM, the event incorporated business and community leaders, media personalities and Victoria subscribers in addition to Victoria donors and friends. Attractive promotional banners and an assortment of entertaining production snippets also accented the breezy ceremony.
Curiously, the Star Attractions can be considered the true headliners, especially 2011’s “The Book of Mormon,” the irreverent, naughty, nine-time Tony-winning joy ride from the creators of “South Park” and “Avenue Q.” The musical, which will only run one week and is sure to quickly sell out, should have jumpstarted the organization’s 2015-2016 lineup (it arrives in August 2015 after all), but kudos to the Victoria for securing such a hot commodity and being willing to push the envelope as never before. Also, Stephen Schwartz’s popular “Wicked” will return to the Schuster Center for the third time and for three weeks. Even so, I’m particularly thrilled for the overdue local premiere of 2010’s “Billy Elliot,” the remarkable 10-time Tony-winning Best Musical based on the outstanding 2000 film of the same name about a young boy’s passion for ballet.
The Broadway Series, always the main attraction, supplies a very promising six-show slate. Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” is an odd inclusion (a tour has launched in celebration of the show’s 135th anniversary), but be thankful for 2012’s five-time Tony-winning play “Peter and the Starcatcher” (a “Peter Pan” prequel full of brilliant storytelling and stagecraft), 2012’s charming Gershwin outing “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” the tuneful return of 1995’s “Smokey Joe’s Café” (which played the Victoria Theatre during its last engagement well over a decade ago) featuring legendary troupe the Coasters, a new, vocally enticing production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” starring “American Idol” alums/husband and wife Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo, and the Human Race Theatre Company’s local premiere of Christopher Durang’s dysfunctional family comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” the 2013 Tony winner for Best Play.
The Variety Series supplies evenings with Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee/singer-songwriter J.D. Souther (ABC’s “Nashville”), mind reader/comedian Eric Dittelman, and the Nobodies of Comedy Tour featuring up-and-coming comedians who have appeared on Comedy Central, “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” The Family Series features Zoot Theatre Company’s production of “The Velveteen Rabbit” in addition to tours of “Pinkalicious: The Musical” and “Robin Hood.”
“Every show and every Season is a leap of faith,” said Victoria and Arts Center Foundation CEO and President Ken Neufeld in a press statement. “Certain shows touch us and inspire us to share the story, the songs and the message with our audience. 2014-2015 will be a season audiences will reconnect with some familiar titles that may surprise them as well as connect with some of the very best work from the contemporary stage for both the Premier Health Broadway Series and Star Attractions.”
Season tickets for the 2014-2015 Broadway Series and Variety Series are on sale now by calling Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visiting online at www.ticketcenterstage.com. Single tickets will go on sale this summer. Single tickets for “The Book of Mormon” and “Wicked” will specifically go on sale in 2015. Additional Star Attractions and Family Series selections as well as the lineups for the Cool Films Series and National Geographic Live! Series will be revealed at a later date.
2014-2015 Premier Health Broadway Series
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Oct. 21-26, 2014 – Schuster Center)
Smokey Joe’s Café (Nov. 11-23, 2014 – Victoria Theatre)
The Pirates of Penzance (Jan. 20-25, 2015 – Schuster Center)
Nice Work If You Can Get It (Feb. 10-15, 2015 – Schuster Center)
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (March 10-22, 2015 – Victoria Theatre)
Peter and the Starcatcher (June 9-14, 2015 – Schuster Center)
2014-2015 Star Attractions
Billy Elliot: The Musical (Nov. 28-30, 2014 – Schuster Center)
Wicked (Apr. 29-May 17, 2015 – Schuster Center)
The Book of Mormon (Aug. 18-23, 2015 – Schuster Center)
2014-2015 Projects Unlimited Variety Series
Singer/songwriter J.D. Souther (Oct. 10, 2014 – Victoria Theatre)
Mind reader/comedian Eric Dittelman (Feb. 6, 2015 – Victoria Theatre)
The Nobodies of Comedy Tour (Apr. 10, 2015 – Victoria Theatre)
2014-2015 PNC Family Series
The Velveteen Rabbit (Dec. 6, 2014 – Victoria Theatre)
Pinkalicious (Feb. 2, 2015 – Victoria Theatre)
Robin Hood (May 2, 2015 – Victoria Theatre)