Broadway Across American announced its Cincinnati presentations of six touring broadway shows for 2009-2010 today. Irving Berlin's White Christmas will open the season (Nov. 10-22, 2009). It's followed by Spring Awakening (Jan. 12-24, 2010), the teen angst musical that won the 2007 Tony Award, and it will be followed by Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps (March 2-14, 2010), likely to remind many local theatergoers of the Playhouse's inventive staging of Around the World in 80 Days.
The Hitchcock onstage reproduction was a 2008 nominee for the Tony Award for best play. The season will round out with three more popular musicals: the extremely popular Mary Poppins in a three-week run (April 8-25,-2010), Legally Blonde: The Musical (May 11-23, 2010) and a revival of Dreamgirls (June 8-20, 2010), which became an Academy Award-winning film in 2006. It's a pretty good season for the Aronoff, it seems to me.
White Christmas was well received in New York last year, and while November is a tad early for holiday theatergoing, it's likely to be popular with local audiences who remember the film that inspired it, featuring Rosemary Clooney. I was surprised that we didn't have Spring Awakening this season, but it will still be a hot ticket with younger audiences. 39 Steps was a sleeper hit on Broadway; it's not a musical, but it's highly entertaining. Mary Poppins, while it didn't win the 2008 Tony, is a blockbuster show with family appeal that's still on Broadway; the touring production has a long run in Chicago and then in Los Angeles before it begins to move around. (Don't expect CCM grad Ashley Brown to still be in the show when it comes to Cincinnati, although she played the part in the original Broadway production and is repeating that performance in Chicago.)
I suspect Legally Blonde and Dreamgirls will sell well with Broadway Series audiences simply because they're based on popular recent films. Broadway Across America also announced three "season specials," shorter runs of popular shows that are still touring: The Color Purple (Sept. 29-Oct. 4, 2009), Rent (Oct. 28-Nov. 1, 2009) and Chicago (Dec. 1-6, 2009). The Rent tour is bringing back Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, who originated the roles of Roger and Mark in the original 1996 production.