Last night, the Florida Theatrical Association announced the touring shows that will be part of the 2016-2017 Fairwinds Broadway Across America series at Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
, and the upcoming lineup looks shockingly strong. In recent years, it’s been de rigueur
for the six-show season to feature a couple of big hits, a couple of mediocre productions and a couple of obvious stinkers. But this time, FTA is bringing some of the hottest shows on the road to town, and even the lesser selections are solid choices.
Here’s the full breakdown of Orlando’s 2016-2017 Fairwinds Broadway Across America series:
Oct. 4–9, 2016
After a brief stint on Broadway, this magic show is back on tour with Vegas-style illusions, “death-defying” stunts and Houdini-inspired escapes by professional magicians that you’ve probably never heard of. It ain’t David Copperfield, but I’ll take it over Criss Angel any day.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Nov. 1–6, 2016
Simon Stephens’ Tony-winning play is a bold choice for the Broadway series, which hasn’t presented a straight drama in several seasons. A canine murder mystery whose teen protagonist is on the autism spectrum, 2015’s Best Play proved to be both critically acclaimed and somewhat controversial in New York, so I can’t wait to see what Orlando audiences make of it.
An American in Paris
Dec. 13–18, 2016
The Golden Age movie musical comes to town direct from its currently ongoing Broadway run, without Gene Kelly but with George and Ira Gershwin’s classic tunes. Director-choreographer Christopher Wheeldon won the 2015 Tony for his balletic dances, as did designers Bob Crowley and Natasha Katz for sets and lighting, so if nothing else it should provide sumptuous eye candy.
Jan. 11–29, 2017
There’s nothing new to say about this often-seen megahit, except that seats will be an optional add-on to the standard season subscription.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Feb. 7–12, 2017
2014’s Best Musical winner just wrapped up its New York run in January before I got a chance to see it, so I’m stoked that this dark farce is visiting Orlando on its national tour. Here’s hoping they can find an actor to play the multiple mortal members of the D'Ysquith dynasty whose comic quick-change abilities equal award-winning originator Jefferson Mays.
The Little Mermaid
March 7–12, 2017
It seems we can’t have as season in Dr. Phillips’ Walt Disney Theater without a staged fairy tale … or in this case, tail. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s score is still a classic, and while the 2008 Broadway production was a bust, this tour is at least based on director Glenn Casale’s better-received 2012 revival.
May 9–14, 2017
may have lost the 2013 Best Musical Tony to Kinky Boots
, but this British import captured the Best Book award along with plenty of hearts. It may be a bit more “sweet” and “zany” than Roald Dahl’s grotesque novel, but it’s still guaranteed to give sensitive kids a nightmare or two, making it one of my most anticipated appointments.
June 6–11, 2017
Based on the Johnny Depp film about Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie, this Diane Paulus-directed musical hit Broadway last spring with a splat, receiving zero Tony nominations. This hasty tour isn’t a good sign for the New York run’s longevity, but at least I’ll get to see Mia “So You Think You Can Dance” Michaels’ always-interesting choreography without flying to Neverland (aka Newark Airport).
Fairwinds Broadway Across America season tickets start at $270 for the cheap seats and go up from there. Current subscribers can renew their seats now through April 4 for the upcoming season. New subscription packages are also available. To renew or purchase a subscription, visit OrlandoBroadway.com, or call the season subscriber hotline at 800-448-6322 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday).