“How do you top a year that includes Hamilton? Well, we did!” gushed Seth Rudetsky as he revealed The Smith Center’s upcoming Broadway season. The actor, writer and host of Sirius XM’s On Broadway gave an enthusiastic rundown of the 2018–2019 Broadway Las Vegas Series. This season will feature the national companies of 10 shows that have won a collective 38 Tony Awards between them, from durable classics to viral sensations, Cuban salsa to Jewish folk, post-millennial teenage boys to turn-of-the-century matrons.
Rudetsky told stories, cracked jokes and invited us to “take a gander” at clips from the shows. There were also visits from a few producers and songs from The Lion King and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as a deeply odd and amusing moment when Rudetsky lip-synced the Osmonds doing a Mormon disco Fiddler on the Roof medley (no, really, it happened). Here’s the lineup for the next season.
School of Rock, August 7–12
This adaptation of the 2003 comedy is one of five (!) shows based on movies this season. However, unlike when Jack Black led his band of preteens, they will not be playing classic FM radio tunes but rather songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who reached back into his Jesus Christ Superstar rock-musical past to create the score.
On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan, September 4–9
Part biography, part jukebox musical, On Your Feet! is the story of the Estefans and their rise from struggling young Cuban-American musicians to the top of the pop charts as the Miami Sound Machine. Expect tunes like “Conga,” “Rhythm Is Gonna Get Ya” and “Anything for You,” as well as a lot of fast-moving dance numbers and sequined costumes.
Waitress, October 4–9
Pop hit maker Sara Bareilles wrote the songs for this musical about a sweet-natured waitress in search of true love and the perfect pie. The touring company will star Charity Angel Dawson, whose big voice played backup in the original Broadway production.
The Lion King, November 7–25
The juggernaut of Elton John’s catchy score and Julie Taymor’s innovative theatrics had a two-year run at the Mandalay Bay a few years back. The full herd of lions, tigers and antelope will return to The Smith Center to kick off the holidays.
Dear Evan Hansen, January 15–20, 2019
The 2017 Tony winner for Best Musical launched a thousand YouTube videos with its uplifting tunes—fitting for a show about hashtags, social media and our inability to connect with each other. The tale of a lonely teenage boy and a lie that gets out of control, the score comes from the La La Land team of Benji Pasek and Justin Paul.
Come From Away, February 19–24, 2019
When September 11 struck, planes were grounded around the globe, including 7,000 people who were forced to land in a tiny town in Newfoundland, which is the story of the musical. “It’s what we call a 9/12 musical because it’s about what happened after 9/11,” says producer Randy Adams, adding, “everything in the show actually happened.”
Hello, Dolly!, March 19–24, 2019
It ain’t Bette, but it’s Betty: Broadway legend Betty Buckley will star as the eponymous matchmaker in this lavish revival that was a sold-out smash with Bette Midler. In the national company, the pipes that introduced Cats’ “Memory” will hit those Jerry Herman/Michael Stewart songs in this colorful, cheerful production.
The Play That Goes Wrong, April 18–24, 2019
The season’s only non-musical, this outrageous farce about a disastrous small-town theater production won Olivier awards on its original run in London. The New York Times called it “as close to a demolition derby as we are likely to see on Broadway.”
Fiddler on the Roof, June 4–9, 2019
“One of the best Broadway shows ever written!” exulted Rudetsky, who played snatches of the score on a piano. The new revival has gotten strong reviews, and its stories of families struggling to stay together and people forced to flee their homes are even more relevant today.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, June 18–30, 2019
The novel/movie gets a fanciful stage rendering with extravagant sets, cartoonish costumes and Oompa-Loompas. Star Jared Bradshaw appeared in full purple velvet tailcoat mufti to sing “Pure Imagination,” having just flown in from New York that morning. Wonder if a golden ticket gets you into first class?