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Monday, April 15,2013

‘Mormon’ stormin’ Wharton

Wharton’s 2013-’14 Broadway season a mix of hits and classics

by Allan I. Ross
\"Book of Mormon\" comes to the Wharton Center in June 2014 on the first leg of its national tour. Courtesy photo.

Monday, April 15 — The Wharton Center’s 2013-‘14 Broadway season was also announced on Monday. The lineup includes an irreverent hit musical that Wharton is getting on the first leg of its touring production, three movie-to-stage adaptations (including a smash Disney favorite) and a grown-up — but not “adult” — take on the Peter Pan story. Oh yeah, and a show commonly called the Great American Opera as well as the jukebox musical that launched the whole singing-along-with-radio-songs fad 14 years ago. Talk about diversity.

The big coup is Wharton’s ability to snag “The Book of Mormon,” which won nine Tonys in 2011 including Best Musical. From the controversy-courting team behind “South Park” and “Avenue Q,” this is the first national tour for the religious spoof. It arrives June 10, 2014 for an eight-performance run.

This fall sees the arrival of both “Flashdance: the Musical” (Oct. 8-13) and “Ghost: the Musical” (Dec. 10-15) The former, which includes several songs from the movie, seems to lend itself naturally to the stage musical adaptation; the latter is a curious choice — but with Eurythmics musician Dave Stewart and songwriter Glen Ballard, who co-wrote some of Michael Jackson’s and Alanis Morissette’s biggest hits, the pieces are in place for a solid show. Wedged in between for a three-night show is Mamma Mia! (Nov. 18-17).

From Jan. 22-26, “Peter and the Star Catcher” soars across the Wharton stage. The musical play is an adaptation of humorist Dave Barry’s children’s book, which is a pseudo-prequel to “Peter Pan.” And with a built-in, international, all-ages audience, “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” based on the 1991 animated feature, is sure to be a weeklong sell-out.

Finally, “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” last year’s Tony winner for Best Revival of a Musical, arrives March 18-23. The opera, with music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, features the memorable songs “Summertime” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”

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