Peace Center Broadway Series 2019-2020 Announcement
The Peace Center brought out a Genie and Donna Summer to help announce its 2019-2020 Broadway series Monday night in front of a packed house of subscribers and other friends of the Greenville, South Carolina, theater.
Korie Lee Blossey, part of the Broadway company for Disney’s Aladdin, sang the Genie’s best-known song, “Friend Like Me,” immediately after the completion of the announcement of all 11 shows that will be part of the series, which begins in August. In addition to Aladdin, recent and current New York stage hits coming to the Peace Center include the revivals of My Fair Lady, Cats and Once on This Island.
Cats’ 18-month second life on Broadway ended in December 2017, while Island closed in January after winning the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. Aladdin, in which Blossey is the standby for Genie and the Sultan, and My Fair Lady are still open in New York.
In addition to Cats, returning favorites on the Peace Center schedule include Les Miserables and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, a show that this writer found utterly captivating at the Peace Center just two years ago.
Peace Center CEO Megan Riegel, who hosted Monday’s event, introduced Broadway performers to represent two of the new musicals on the schedule: Storm Lever, one of the three original Donnas from Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, and a quintet of instrumentalists from The Band’s Visit, which won 10 Tony Awards in 2018, including Best Musical. (Its Broadway run ends April 7 after 18 months.)
Lever sang Summer’s “Last Dance,” while the uniformed band — representing the Egyptian ensemble that gets lost in Israel in the stage musical and in the movie on which it’s based — performed captivating instrumental excerpts and encouraged the audience to clap along.
Notably, several of the shows coming to Greenville were not enduring successes in New York. Summer lasted just 9 months in 2018, while Escape to Margaritaville, with new and classic songs by Jimmy Buffett, closed after less than 6 months. The new stage show based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with a few songs from the movie and many new numbers by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (the duo behind Hairspray), was a hit in London but didn’t win over New York audiences or critics.
That said, all three are high-profile shows stuffed with familiar, audience-pleasing music and, in the case of Charlie, a beloved story, so Carolina audiences are likely to be undaunted by the disinterest of Yankee theatergoers and New York tourists. All three are feel-good musicals with many fans, as any Twitter search will quickly demonstrate.
The final show of the busy 2019-2020 season will be a 50th anniversary tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, arriving in Greenville in August 2020, based on a recent award-winning London revival. (2020 marks a half century since the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice show first appeared as a concept album.)
Also announced Monday were two shows that will be returning for the 2020-2021 season: Wicked and Hamilton, with exact dates yet to be announced. Tickets to those fast-selling favorites will be made available first to season subscribers to the 2019-2020 season.
The full Peace Center Broadway lineup for 2019-2020 is as follows:
• The Band’s Visit, Aug. 27-Sept. 1.
• Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Oct. 1-6.
• Once on This Island, Nov. 5-10.
• Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Dec. 31-Jan. 5.
• My Fair Lady, Jan. 28-Feb. 2.
• Disney’s Aladdin, Feb. 12-23 (the only two-week run).
• Les Miserables, March 3-8.
• Escape to Margaritaville, April 7-12, 2020.
• Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, May 19-24, 2020.
• Cats, June 23-28, 2020.
• Jesus Christ Superstar, Aug. 4-9, 2020.
For information on season tickets and other details, visit peacecenter.org.
(Photo: The Band’s Visit by Matthew Murphy, courtesy of the Peace Center)