🎭 Thoughts on a Theatre Season – Ahmanson Theatre 2020-2021

CTG/Ahmanson 2020-2021 SeasonWell, the Ahmanson has announced their 2020-2021 season and… well, it’s better than their 2019-2020 season. That season had a lot of problems, with two one-person shows and a number of shows I had no interest in seeing. For the upcoming season, at least there aren’t any one-person shows. But there are so many encores that I’m still not sure it is worth subscribing, especially with the quality of the Mezzanine seats and the availability of the AmEx Presale (as well as how poorly the Ahmanson treated their subscribers vs. the Pantages/Broadway in Hollywood)*. Here’s the season and my thoughts (🎶 indicates musical; 🎭 indicates a play; and 🔁 indicates “encore performance”):

  • Open Slot. To Be Announced. According to the formal announcement it will be announced this Spring.
  • 🎭 The Lehman Trilogy, Oct. 20–Nov. 28, 2020. Written by Stefano Massini, adapted by Ben Power, directed by Sam Mendes.
  • 🔁 🎶 Dear Evan Hansen. Dec. 1, 2020–Jan. 23, 2021.  Book by Steven Levenson, score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, directed by Michael Greif
  • (🔁) 🎶 Les Misérables. Jan. 26–Feb. 28, 2021. Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell. Note: Les Miz was at the Pantages in May 2019.
  • 🎶 Hadestown. March 2–April 4, 2021. Book, music and lyrics by Anaïs Mitchell, directed by Rachel Chavkin
  • 🎭 Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”. April 29–June 6, 2021. Written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Bartlett Sher
  • 🔁 🎶 Come From Away. June 9–July 4, 2021. Book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, directed by Christopher Ashley
  • 🎶 The Prom. July 6–Aug. 8, 2021. Book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw
  • 🔁 🎶 Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of The Temptations. Aug. 11–Sept. 5, 2021. Book by Dominique Morisseau, music and lyrics from the Motown catalog, choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, directed by Des McAnuff

Of these, the ones that I want to see are HadestownMockingbird, and The Prom. Although we saw it the last time we were at the Ahmanson, we’ll want to see Come From Away again, simply because my wife likes that musical so much. But as for the others: We weren’t that impressed with Dear Evan Hansen, despite all the buzz. We saw Les Miz when it was at the Pantages in May. Lastly, we saw Ain’t Too Proud when it had its pre-Broadway run at the Ahmanson, and I don’t have the strong urge (based on that) to see the post-Broadway changes in a jukebox musical.

That leaves The Lehman Trilogy, which is a maybe and depends on scheduling. I’ll note that it is during a period when both the Ahmanson and Dolby are dark.

*: The last time we subscribed to the Ahmanson, for the lowest priced tier, they shuffled us off to a Friday night claiming no subscriptions were available for Saturday nights. Friday nights were a pain to get to. I seem to recall they didn’t have the clearest system for changing seats. For 2020-2021, we’re interested in 4-5 of the 8 announced shows. If they have good prices and dates for the season, and we can get a decent side mezzanine price, subscription is a possibility, although they seem to save those seats for open sales. At that point, we might just as well wait for the Amex Pre-Sale and get the seats when they first go on sale. Their subscription plan, according to their site, is for the six season shows (Lehman, TBA, Les Miz, Hadestown, Mockingbird, and Prom) plus one encore show. That’s a possibility, although I have no desire to see Les Miz again.

ETA: Subscribing is a clear example of how the Pantages knows how to treat subscribers, and the Ahmanson does not. When you subscribe at the Pantages/Broadway in Hollywood, you can pick which week of the run you want and which night, pick your seats, and set it up with a 10 payment plan all from the web. With the Ahmanson, you can only pick the day of the week — no choice on which week of the run. You can’t pick your seat — only the seating area, and there is no seat map made available. And if you want to do something other than pay it all in one lump sum, you have to call Customer Service. Which I will do tomorrow.


🎭 Thoughts on a Theatre Season: Broadway in Hollywood 2020-2021

Broadway in Hollywood 2020-2021 SeasonThis morning, the Hollywood Pantages (FB), also known as Broadway in Hollywood (FB), announced their 2020-2021 season.  It consists of seven shows, although I’m sure more will be added:

  • Nov 3 – Nov 22, 2020 @ the Dolby: Daniel Fish’s Oklahoma revival.
  • Mar 23 – Apr 11, 2021 @ the Dolby: The Cher Show
  • Apr 13 – May 2, 2021 @ the Dolby: Tootsie
  • May 13 – Jun 5, 2021 @ the Dolby: Aida
  • Jun 8 – Jun 27, 2021 @ the Dolby: Pretty Woman: The Musical
  • Jun 25 – Sep 5, 2021 @ the Pantages: The Lion King
  • Oct 13, 2021 – Jan 2, 2022 @ the Pantages: Moulin Rouge! The Musical

So, here are my thoughts:

First, that’s an awfully long stretch for the Pantages and Dolby to be dark. Hamilton is scheduled to run at the Pantages from March through September November 22. But from September November 22 2020 through June 2021, there’s nothing seemingly planned for the Pantages. Either a refurbishment is in order for The Lion King, or there is more to be announced.

Similarly, the Dolby is quiet from July 26 (end of The Bands Visit) to November 3. Where are the shows that typically come in during September and October 2020. Oddly quiet. There must be more shows in the works. There are also no shows at either theatre for the lucrative Christmas 2020 season. Oklahoma closes, and the Dolby is dark until March, and the Pantages is dark through June. Really odd.

Also notable are the shows that are missing. Hadestown, of course, is going to the Ahmanson Theatre. But there are other significant shows that have announced tours: The Prom; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; The Lightning ThiefAin’t Too Proud (which started at the Ahmanson, so it is likely to return to the Pantages Going to the Ahmanson); An Officer and a Gentleman (ETA: Going to Broadway in Thousand Oaks). Then there are the musicals that are expected to tour — in particular Beetlejuice. I really expected The Prom (Ahmanson: 20-21), Ain’t Too Proud(Ahmanson: 20-21), and Beetlejuice at the Pantages. Two other tours — although more likely at the Ahmanson — are the Harry Potter play currently at the Curran, and To Kill a Mockingbird (update: Mockingbird has been announced for the Ahmanson). But Broadway in LA doesn’t do plays, although it might make an exception for Harry Potter.

As for what they do have on the season: All are good shows, with only two real retreads. The Lion King hasn’t been around for a while, and it will be nice to see it on stage again. Aida is an interesting choice. Hasn’t been in LA since it was first done at the Ahmanson; we saw it a few years ago in Portland. Hadn’t heard it was being revived and going on tour. The other shows are good, although none bring the big sparks.


🎭 HFF19 Scheduling

userpic=fringeThis is my Fringe scheduling post. It will be updated as my Fringe schedule changes, unlike the schedule at the bottom of my theatre writeups, which are a snapshot at the time they were written.

The following are the Fringe shows that I currently have scheduled and ticketed. Note that due to my work schedule and where we live, we can only see shows on the weekend, and cannot do the shows that end super late (i.e., we can’t make start times after 10pm, in general). I also need to allow for meals, and time to get between theatres. Typically, my wife also has to be willing to see the show, and she’s not into things that are too dark, or might touch on triggery areas. Oh why, oh why, can’t someone do a good Fringe scheduler as a Science Fair project:

Key: : Non-Fringe Show/Event; °: Producer/Publicist Arranged Comp or Discount

The following are the shows that we were interested in, and had blocked out on the schedule, but ended up making everything too expensive and so were later cut. We may ticket these later, especially if comps or discounts come our way.  (OBAS) indicates they were on our schedule, but now have been Overtaken By Another Show, meaning a producer or publicist convinced me to see a show, which has stomped over the time slot I had originally planned. I’m still interested in those shows, if I could figure somewhere else to shoe-horn them in.

The following are the shows that we thought about scheduling, but just couldn’t fit in, given our constraints. Typically that means there were no weekend slots, they were too close to the end or beginning of another show, or there wasn’t adequate transportation time between the theatres:

To give you an idea of most Fringe locations, here’s a handy-dandy map:

HFF19 Theatre Map



🎭 Thoughts on a Theatre Season – Pantages 2019-2020 Season / Ahmanson Prognostications

No, I haven’t forgotten my Hello Dolly writeup. It should be up in the next day or three — but it is a great show and you should go see it. But first … this morning the Hollywood Pantages (FB) announced their 2019-2020 season, and I thought I should share some thoughts. Here’s the graphic and some thoughts:

  • The Nederlander Organization is expanding to programming two theatres this year: the Hollywood Pantages (FB) and the Dolby Theatre (FB) at Hollywood and Highland. It will be interesting to see how our seats translate to the Dolby; I’ve never been in that facility. They also seem to be returning to the “Broadway in Hollywood” moniker. People forget the history, but the original Pantages programming going back to the days of Joseph and the … back in 1982 merged with what was left of the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera (which used to program musicals at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion — in fact, it was one of the original tenants) to create an organization called “Broadway LA“. That name (and the website) was dropped around ten years in favor of only the Pantages name, but it appears to be resurrected in a slightly different form. Here’s the press release.
  • The shows announced are as follows:
  • The split between the theatres is interesting. What this seems to be permitting — at least this year — is a long sit-down engagement for Hamilton starting in March while they can still satisfy the subscription base they have built with new shows at the Dolby. This may work — I’m sure the Dolby will have significantly better acoustics than the Pantages; I don’t know about sight lines from the side. But once the juggernauts are gone, what will happen then? The major long sit-down shows will be things like WickedHamiltonDear Evan Hansen, and such. What others will sustain a long run in this city?
  • This season, I’ve heard the music from all of the shows. Most of the shows in the season I’m excited to see: in particular, The Band’s VisitSpongebob, and Anastasia. I’ve heard Frozen has some good effects, but at least based on the cast album, the first act is a bit slow. It will be interesting to see on stage. I like the music to Mean Girls, but it comes across as a Heathers-ish show. I’ve heard really good things about the My Fair Lady revival, and supposedly they’ve addressed the tonal problems in the original, but I’m curious to see how. The music in Escape to Margaritaville is good, but it’s a jukebox musical with little substance (much like Buffett’s music). The least interesting of the bunch is Summer — another jukebox, but with disco. Yes, disco, the music of my college years.
  • This year, I’ll likely get the add on: Hamilton is one musical I won’t mind seeing a second time.

So what does this leave for the  Ahmanson Theatre (FB)? We know their first show in the 2019-2020 season will be Once on this Island, as that has been announced. What will join it? Perhaps the Bat Out of Hell tour will finally make it back on the road (supposedly it will in 2019), but I’m not holding my breath. Piecing together the announcements that I’ve seen, plus how the Ahmanson is programmed, here’s my best guess. Note that the Ahmanson differs from the Pantages in that is isn’t exclusively tours: they do produce new musicals, they present plays, and they do dance shows like the upcoming Cinderella. They don’t do many repeat or second-tier revivals, so tours like HairJC SuperstarCluePercy Jackson, and such are extremely unlikely to go to the Music Center. Here’s what I think will join Once on this Island:

I haven’t heard rumors of Angels in America going on tour, but I could see the Ahmanson adapting that and bringing it in as a one-off. They may also bring in some dance show; I think Harry Potter would suffice for the play. There could be a new musical in the mix; they tend to do that.

There are some other shows that I could see coming in, but they are too new to be highly likely: Pretty Woman, The Prom, or Be More Chill.

Look for my Hello Dolly review by the end of the week. This weekend: Theatrical whiplash, in the form of 1776 and Anna Karenina, both on the same day.


Seeing Your Show at the Hollywood Fringe Festival

userpic=fringeThis time of year, I get many request from producers and friends in the theatre industry to see their Fringe shows. I joke that these folks seem to think I’m a critic, when I’m really just a cybersecurity expert and roadgeek who is a professional audience, and who writes up every live performance I go to for my friends. But publicity is publicity, and if they think I’m a critic, oh well….

However, if I’m a critic, I’m not a paid critic. I write up the shows that I choose to see. For Fringe, that means that starting in April or May I start reviewing the shows registered at Fringe, and start building my schedule. About mid-May, I purchase my tickets, always cursing the fact that I can’t afford to see the shows I want to see, and that I can’t fit all the shows I want to see into my schedule. Oh, and about that schedule: I work full time, living in Northridge, commuting to El Segundo. This means that I cannot see shows in Hollywood on weeknights or during the week, and making a Friday evening show is very difficult. I get up for work at 440am, so that also means that I can’t see a show late on Sunday night. Further, I tend to go to shows with my wife, meaning that not only must I find the show and subject matter of interest, but she must as well. As a result, we tend not to see what I would deem “dark” shows — intense subject matter, often triggery. There are occasional times where I might be able to work such shows into my schedule, but it is rare.

So will I see your show, and would I like free tickets to it? Seeing the show depends on whether there is an available slot in my weekend schedule, and whether my wife is interested in seeing it if she is with me. As for free tickets, my real world job imposes ethics rules that limit the ability to provide gifts as they may create the appearance of conflict of interest. So, whereas I might like free tickets, my ethics typically preclude me from accepting them. I will accept what I would pay on Goldstar, that is, half-price or discounted tickets.

So what is my schedule for Fringe. It will be posted and updated in each writeup I do after this one (as I ticketed this week), but for reference:

There were a few shows I thought about working in, but couldn’t due to price, time, or other constraints:

Other shows I thought about seeing, but couldn’t work in due to schedule included: Fort Huachuca at Complex/OMR; Earworm at McCadden Theatre; #METOO at Studio C; A Very Die Hard Christmas at Studio/Stage; Fat Chance at the Hudson; and Rayn: An Electronic Burlesque Experience at Thymele Arts. I was also interested in Doctor Nympho and the Sex Zombies at the Three Clubs because an actress I like is in the cast, but no times worked out (the available weekend times were too late; weeknights didn’t work; and other weekend times had conflicts).


Thoughts on a Theatre Season – Ahmanson 2018-2019

As I noted a few days ago, the Ahmanson Theatre (FB was on the verge of announcing the rest of their season. Today they did it, and my guess was mostly correct. If you recall, I said: “As for the Ahmanson Theatre (FB), which has two slots to announce, I predict that one will be a show in development, and the other will either be Natasha, Pierre, … , or some form of dance or ballet, like the Matthew Bourne stuff that they’ve done recently.”. Well, I got the Matthew Bourne right, but their other show came out of left field — and I couldn’t be happier, given my daughter is a Yiddish scholar.

So what is the final Ahmanson season, and my thoughts on it? Here goes:

  • “Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations”. August 21 through September 30, 2018. This is the usual musical-in-development that the Ahmanson does (and that the Pantages will never do, unless it is already on tour. Should be good.
  • “Dear Evan Hansen” . October 17 – November 25, 2018. The big Tony winner last year. Pasek and Paul. ’nuff said.
  • “Come From Away” . November 28, 2018 – January 6, 2019. I’ve heard the music from this, and it should be spectacular.
  • Matthew Bourne’s “Cinderella”. February 5 – March 10, 2019. The Ahmanson likes the dance stuff from Bourne. I haven’t seen it; it will be an interesting change of pace.
  • “Falsettos”. April 16 – May 19, 2019. The only show I’ve seen before, but that production was in an intimate theatre. Should be good.
  • “Indecent”. June 4 – July 7, 2019. The story of a Yiddish play that had the first lesbian relationship. Wow. I’m surprised by this, and looking forward to it. You normally don’t get two plays out of the Ahmanson.
  • “The Play That Goes Wrong”. July 9 – August 11, 2019. Great comedy. Should be a lot of fun. 

This is one of the best seasons the Ahmanson has had in a while. Suffice it to say that I’m calling tomorrow (so I can split things over 4 payments) to subscribe. Now to figure out how to work things into my calendar….


Thoughts on a Theatre Season – 5-Star Theatricals, Theatreworks, and a little bit more

It’s season announcement time, and I’ve gotten a few more in the mail. What am I interested in and what will I attend? What should you consider? Read on, McDuff!

🎭 5 Star Theatricals (FB) 🎭

This is the company that was formerly known as Cabrillo Music Theatre. They operate out of a large regional theatre in Thousand Oaks, doing locally-cast musicals with a mix of Equity performers, non-Equity professionals, and up and coming artists. They have announced three shows for the 2018-2019 season (currently remaining in the 2017-0218 season are The Hunchback of Notre Dame (April 20-29) and Beauty and the Beast (July 20-29)):

  • Shrek. 👍 Oct. 19-28, 2018. This is the first time 5-Star/Cabrillo is doing Shrek (Music by Jeanine Tesori and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire), although it has been done regionally before (notably at Simi ARTS back in 2014). We last saw this back in 2009 at the Pantages; it should be nice to see a good regional production of the show.
  • Matilda the Musical 👍 March 22-31, 2019. Book by Dennis Kelly and Music and Lyrics by Tim Minchin (FB) based on the novel by Roald Dahl (FB). This is the regional theatre premier for the region. We last saw this back in 2015 at the Ahmanson.  5-Star should do a good job with this.
  • West Side Story. 👍 July 26-Aug. 4, 2018. A classic show, with score by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Very appropriate in this year celebrating Leonard Bernstein. We last saw it at Cabrillo back in 2004.

We should be renewing our subscription when the packet arrives.

 🎭 Silicon Valley Theatreworks (FB) 🎭

I recently received the announcement of Theatreworks next season. Theatreworks is in the San Jose/Palo Alto area, about 300 miles away, but for the right show I might drive up, plus I have friends who live in that area. Here is their next season:

  • HOLD THESE TRUTHS. By Jeanne Sakata. REGIONAL PREMIERE. Palo Alto: July 11–Aug 5, 2018. An unsung American hero, Gordon Hirabayashi, fought passionately for the Constitution against an unexpected adversary: his own country. During World War II, he refused to report to a relocation camp with thousands of families of Japanese descent, launching a 50-year journey from college to courtroom, and eventually to a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • NATIVE GARDENS. By Karen Zacarias. REGIONAL PREMIERE.  Mountain View: Aug 22–Sept 16, 2018. In this cutting edge suburban comedy from America’s hottest new playwright, gardens and cultures clash, turning well-intentioned neighbors into ecological adversaries. When an up-and-coming Latino couple purchases a home beside the prize-winning garden of a prominent Washington D.C. family, conflicts over fences and flora spiral into an uproarious clash of cultures, exposing both couples’ notions of race, taste, class, and privilege.
  • FUN HOME. Music by Jeanine Tesori. Book & Lyrics by Lisa Kron.  Mountain View: Oct 3–28, 2018. [They don’t say it, but I think this is a premiere at the regional level.]  Welcome to Fun Home, the blazingly honest memoir of Alison, a graphic novelist exploring her youth in a loving, dysfunctional family whose secrets of sexual identity echo her own. Winner of every Best Musical award of 2015, this tragicomic tale is told with enormous emotion and sensitivity, its haunting yet amusing score illuminating one of the most extraordinary and original musicals of our times.
  • TUCK EVERLASTING. Book by Claudia Shear & Tim Federle. Music by Chris Miller. Lyrics by Nathan Tysen. REGIONAL PREMIERE. Palo Alto: Nov 28–Dec 23, 2018. An enchanting bestseller springs to life in this 1890s tale of Winnie Foster, a free-spirited girl whose search for adventure leads to the Tucks, a close-knit family that has discovered the secret to everlasting life. With a rousing score and a wealth of warm-hearted humor, this whimsical Broadway musical offers Winnie the choice of a lifetime: return to everyday life, or join the Tucks on their infinite, irreversible voyage through time.
  • FROST/NIXON. By Peter Morgan. Mountain View: Jan 16–Feb 10, 2019. Richard Nixon has resigned. David Frost has been canceled. With America caught in the riptides of Watergate and Vietnam, the former leader of the free world and the lightweight British talk-show host clash in a legendary series of TV interviews that will determine the President’s legacy forever. In a riveting political prizefight unseen again until today, the cameras roll, the truth spins, and it becomes clear that he who controls the medium controls the message.
  • MARIE AND ROSETTA. By George Brant. WEST COAST PREMIERE. Palo Alto: March 6–31, 2019. Stirring churches in the morning and the Cotton Club at night, Sister Rosetta Tharpe became a musical legend. With competition growing on the 1940s Gospel Circuit, she auditions a new partner, a beauty with a voice made in heaven. Will they blend, break, or find harmony at last? Don’t miss this roof-raising musical hit from our New Works Festival, the saga of the woman who inspired Elvis, Ray Charles, and more on her way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Hershey Felder: A PARIS LOVE STORY. Featuring the music of Claude Debussy. Written and Performed by Hershey Felder. WORLD PREMIERE. Mountain View: April 3–28, 2019. Virtuoso Hershey Felder takes us on his own personal journey as he explores the life and music of Impressionist composer Claude Debussy. For decades Felder’s “Great Composer Series” has celebrated the brilliance of Beethoven, Berlin, Tchaikovsky, and more. In this glorious series finale, he brings to life a visionary who proclaimed nature his religion and romance his milieu, creating music of ravishing beauty, color, and compassion. From the sweeping La mer and evocative L’après-midi d’un faune to the mystical Clair de lune, this soaring tribute will never be forgotten.
  • ARCHDUKE. By Rajiv Joseph. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA PREMIERE. Mountain View: June 5–30, 2019. Can one man, one moment, derail a century? Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph explores the present by focusing on the past: the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, 1914—the flash that ignited World War I. On a darkly comic quest for immortality, three hapless insurgents prove that little has changed from then to now. This New Works Festival sensation is from the author of Broadway’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

An excellent season. If I lived in Northern California, I’d subscribe both to TheatreWorks and to Tabard, whose season I already mentioned in my review of A Walk in the Woods:

  • The Tabard Theatre Company (FB) in San Jose has an interesting season coming up: Another Roll of the Dice / Sep 14 – Oct 7, 2018; The Explorer’s Club / Oct 26 – Nov 18, 2018; Uptown Holiday Swing / Nov 30 – Dec 16, 2018; Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook (featuring songs from the Stephen Schwartz catalog)/ Jan 11 – Feb 3, 2019; Beau Jest / Feb 15 – Mar 10, 2019; and Queen of the Mist / Apr 5-28, 2019.  If they weren’t 300 miles away, we’d consider subscribing; still, we may drive up for Queen of the Mist. If you’re in the southern Bay Area, you should consider subscribing in our stead.

Looking at the TheatreWorks season, I’m really interested in Tuck Everlasting. This failed on Broadway, so it is unlikely that Los Angeles will see a tour. This means I’m dependent on a theatre company down here to do it, which isn’t that likely given our companies (I could see Chance giving it a try, or MTW. But anyone else? It might be a while). Yet I loved the music and the premise of the show. That might make it worth the drive for either Thanksgiving weekend or after the ACSAC conference.

 🎭  Chromolume Theatre (FB) 🎭

Chromolume just announced their Hollywood Fringe Festival production, and I’m excited. Here’s what they wrote:

We are happy to announce that our 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival production will be the one-act musical, The Story of My Life! We are also excited to announce we will be performing at the The Hobgoblin Playhouse. We are excited to bring this story to you…coming in June! Click on the link below to find out more!


And for those of you who don’t know, if you purchase your season subscription before our current production ends, you will get free tickets to see this production!

We last saw Story of My Life back in 2009, right after the death of our dear friend Lauren. The story touched me in special ways; it is just a beautiful and meaningful show. Here’s one verse from a song in the show:

“You’re a butterfly my friend,
Powerful and strong
And I’m grateful for the way
You’ve always hurried me along.
When you flap your wings to stretch yourself
It might seem small to you
But you change the world
With everything you do.”

I’m really, really, excited for this show. We’re season subscribers. You should subscribe as well: $60 for Dessa RoseJane Eyre The Musical, and Sondheim’s Passion, as well as the Fringe show. Support a wonderful small theatre.

 🎭  Ahmanson Theatre (FB 🎭

Lastly, an update on the Ahmanson. They’ve been announcing their season in pieces, with the first chunk here, with an additional show I discussed with the Pantages season. There are two shows left to announce, and when I asked, CTG replied:

So, in two weeks, I hopefully should be able to make the final subscription (and see if I got my predictions right).


Thoughts on a Theatre Season: Pantages 2018-2019

This morning, the  Hollywood Pantages (FB) announced their 2018/2019 season. My predictions were pretty damn close. Here’s what I was predicting, from my last review post:

Speaking of show mixes: The Ahmanson has added Ain’t Too Proud, a musical on the Temptations, to their 2018/2019 season, and they still have two shows to announce (see the end of the paragraph). It is looking even more likely that we’ll add that subscription, if we can get the cheap seats. As for the Pantages, they announce on Tuesday. As I wrote in my Aladdin writeup: We already know that Dear Even HansenCome From AwayFalsettos, and The Play That Goes Wrong will be going to the Ahmanson Theatre (FB). What does that leave for the Pantages, as they don’t produce their own. Here are my guesses: BandstandAnastasia, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are highly likely; so is the Miss Saigon revival. So would Groundhog Day, except they just cancelled their tour. If A Bronx Tale had announced a tour, it would also be likely. Ditto for Hello Dolly. Lesser possibilities are Amazing Grace, or A Night with Janis Joplin. In terms of potential retreads, I could see them bringing in the current Les Miz tour, and possibly the Fiddler on the Roof,  Lion King or Wicked tours, if they are still on the road. Also known to be going on tour/on tour, and thus possibilities for retreads, are Cats and Phantom, as they will draw in crowds and haven’t been in LA recently. Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 has announced a tour, but I think the Pantages is too large for them. I could see them doing the Ahmanson. As for the Ahmanson Theatre (FB), which has two slots to announce, I predict that one will be a show in development, and the other will either be Natasha, Pierre, … , or some form of dance or ballet, like the Matthew Bourne stuff that they’ve done recently.

2018-2019 Pantages Season AnnouncementSo, what did the Pantages announce? You can see their graphic to the right. Here are my thoughts on the shows:

  • 👍 Hello Dolly. I hadn’t heard this was going on tour, but I thought that if it did, it would end up here. I haven’t seen this on the big stage; I think I saw a regional production in Atascadero once. So I’m looking forward to this. It will be interesting to see who they get to headline the tour, as this tends to be a star vehicle.
  • 👍 A Bronx Tale. Again, I hadn’t seen a tour announcement, but if it did, the Pantages was a likely home. I’ve heard the music from this and it is quite good.
  • 👍 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I predicted this one. Looking forward to seeing it, even though it got weak reviews in New York.
  • 👍 Miss Saigon. Again, I predicted this one. Surprisingly, I haven’t seen this on the stage, so I’m looking forward to this.
  • 👍 Fiddler on the Roof. I predicted this was a possibility, so again, I got it right. On the original Broadway production, my daughter actually toured Eastern Europe on Yiddishkeyt with the actor performing Mottel. I haven’t seen Fiddler on the stage in ages, so I’m looking forward to this.
  • 😐 Cats. Again, I indicated this was on tour and a possibility for a retread. I saw it when it was at the Shubert in Century City ages ago, as well as a good regional mounting at 5 Star Theatricals (FB) (nee Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB) quite a few years ago. I don’t mind seeing this again — it’s a great dance show.
  • 😐 Les Miserables. Another show that I indicated was a possibility. I saw this quite a few years ago when a tour hit the Ahmanson Theatre (FB); I wouldn’t mind seeing it again, but I’m somewhat lukewarm.

What I found interesting was that neither Anastasia or Bandstand ended up at the Pantages; I really thought Anastasia would be a Pantages show. Either of these could end up in one of the unannounced slots at the Ahmanson; it is less likely that both would (but one never knows). Additionally, reflecting on things, I think that if Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 does go on tour, it would end up either at the Mark Taper Forum or another theatre that would be willing to adapt to their immersive staging (perhaps the Pasadena Playhouse, or a theatre on Broadway). For the following season, there are a number of shows from the current Broadway season that are likely to show up: Escape to MargaritavilleThe Band’s VisitSpongebob Squarepants, and many others.