American Stage has announced its 2009-2010 season the first in its new home and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center has named the shows in its 2009-10 Broadway Series. The verdict? A mixed bag.
There's lots to be excited about. At TBPAC, I'm happy to see they've taken another Spring Awakening-type risk: scheduling a show that got great acclaim on Broadway but might just be too obscure a title to ring a bell for the Tampa audience. This year, Luis-Manuel Miranda's Tony-winning musical In the Heights takes up that slot and while there has been some grumbling among Broadway curmudgeons that the show is just the same-old, same-old dressed up in a Latino package, I'm looking forward to the fresh energy it represents. On the other end of the spectrum is the 100 percent sure bet (and you'd better get your tickets now): the adoringly reviewed revival of South Pacific, another big Tony winner in 2008. The rest of the season is mostly full-on family fare: Godspell, Little House on the Prairie, Mary Poppins (seen it meh), Cirque Dreams Illumination and the wild card: Frank Wildhorn's musical adaptation (with contemporary touches) of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. If it works, the show could move from the Broadway series to Broadway itself.
At American Stage, I'm happy to see the continuation of the August Wilson cycle with perhaps his most famous play, the Pulitzer and Tony-winning Fences (in which James Earl Jones gave a volcanic performance on Broadway). And it's fun to see Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit on the schedule,