Theater Preview: Pantages 2012-2013 Season
"Book of Mormon"
September 5-November 25
By far the most buzzed-about show of the Pantages' season, the perennially sold-out satirical musical by the creators of "South Park" and "Avenue Q" officially opened its national tour in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Gavin Creel, star of the recent "Hair" revival on Broadway, is leading the show as Elder Price, and his delicious riffs on the score should be a wonderful addition to the gut-bustingly funny show.
Cathy Rigby, a champion gymnast in the 1970s, reprises her Tony-nominated role as the titular boy who won't grow up in the classic musical. Rigby has been touring with this production of the show for a while, but the tour seems to have drummed up enough interest to warrant a stop at the Pantages this winter.
January 29-February 3
Once upon a time in Southern California (alright, in the 1970s), a tribute band to the Beatles named "Reign" was formed. Fast forward about 40 years, and the band has turned into a Broadway show about the Beatles, which vows to perform live songs that the Beatles themselves never performed live, note-for-note as they appear on Beatles records. Los Angeles will certainly experience Beatle-mania this winter, between "Rain" and "Backbeat" at the Ahmanson.
"Jekyll & Hyde"
February 12-March 3
Constantine Maroulis (yes, that Constantine Maroulis, from "American Idol" and "Rock of Ages") and Grammy nominee Deborah Cox are leading the pre-Broadway national tour of Frank Wildhorn's "Jekyll & Hyde," based on the Robert Louis Stevenson short story. Wildhorn, who is one of the Great White Way's most perplexingly-produced composers (works include "Bonnie & Clyde," "Wonderland," and "The Scarlet Pimpernel), has yet to open a Broadway show that has not closed at a loss to investors, but it looks like he means to bounce back from his last two poorly-received offerings with a revival of his most successful show (it "only" lost investors $1.5 million when it closed after three years in 2000). Look out for the show's most notable number, "This Is the Moment," the song Jekyll sings before he fatefully injects himself with the drug that will develop his dual personality, Mr. Hyde.
"Catch Me If You Can"
The middling follow-up to "Hairspray" by composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (whose work has also been heard on the TV show "Smash" last season) is bringing its national tour to Los Angeles this spring. So much of what made the Broadway production bearable were its stars, Aaron Tveit and Norbert Leo Butz (who won a Tony for his work in the show), so it will be interesting to see if two fresh faces in the musical theater community can help the show (based on the 2002 Spielberg film) about a young con-man "Fly, Fly Away."
"Beauty and the Beast"
March 26-April 7
The classic musical, based on the classic Disney film, will make another stop in Los Angeles.
"West Side Story"
Also making a re-appearance ("West Side Story," like "Beauty and the Beast" and "Rain," was in the Pantages' 2010-2011 season) is the tour of the revival production of Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents' musical theater masterpiece, a re-telling of "Romeo & Juliet."
"Priscilla, Queen of the Desert"
May 28-June 16
Aussies and drag queens and a transsexual, oh my! The musical adaptation of a 1994 film, "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," which premiered on Broadway last season, is coming to the Pantages this summer with a bevy of 80s tunes in tow, including "It's Raining Men" and "I Will Survive."
Alan Menken's new musical based on a 1992 film that isn't "Newsies" will also be making an appearance in Los Angeles this summer. The show, which is about an aspiring diva who is forced to hide in a convent for her own protection, premiered on Broadway last year.