July 25, 2012

Music Theatre announces 2013 season, includes ‘Les Miz’ and ‘Spamalot’

The British are coming to Music Theatre of Wichita next summer.

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about how to purchase new season ticket subscriptions.

The British are coming to Music Theatre of Wichita next summer.

Producing artistic director Wayne Bryan announced the five musicals that will make up next year’s season today, and they’re a collection of shows with British origins and British themes.

The lineup includes an encore of the famous musical “Les Miserables,” which Music Theatre most recently produced in 2008. The company doesn’t normally reprise a show so quickly, Bryan said, but the planned December release of the movie “Les Miserables,” starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, likely will spark interest in the musical.

Also on the bill: “Spamalot,” an irreverent Monty Python comedy; “The King and I,” which Music Theatre last performed in 2002; “Betty Blue Eyes,” a British comedy that Music Theatre is the only American theater house licensed to produce; and Disney’s “Mary Poppins,” which the company will produce for an extra weekend.

Traditionally, Bryan announces the next season’s lineup during the final production of the season, which this year will be “Legally Blonde,” running Aug. 8-12. But next year’s season came together so quickly, he was able to plan on surprising Wednesday’s “Singin’ in the Rain” audience with an early announcement.

Season tickets are on sale now. Current season ticketholders have until Oct. 31 to renew their tickets at this year’s prices. They have until Dec. 31 to renew their tickets at next year’s prices, which are expected to increase slightly. New season ticket subscribers can purchase tickets now but won't know their seats assignments until later this fall. Single-ticket sales should begin sometime in May 2013.

Following is a look at the shows in the 2013 lineup:

•  “Spamalot,” June 12-16: The Monty Python musical is a Tony Award-winning comedy that recounts the legend of King Arthur. Though Theater League brought the show to Wichita for three performances last year, this will be a Music Theatre premiere. It’s rated PG-13.

•  “Les Miserables,” June 26-30: The Cameron Mackintosh musical is based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo. Buzz from the movie, set to be released later this year, should make “Les Miz” a hot ticket, Bryan said.

“When a good film version of a musical comes out and that musical is scheduled in our season, we have good luck. It worked for us with ‘Chicago’ and ‘Hairspray,’” he said. It’s rated PG.

•  “The King and I,” July 10-14: The Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical about an English schoolteacher and a Siamese monarch includes famous songs such as “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance?” It’s rated G.

•  “Betty Blue Eyes,” July 24-28, 2013: This British musical from the creators of “Honk!” is based on the film “A Private Function” and involves a royal wedding and a prize pig named Betty.

“They were looking for a place in America where it might be seen without a great risk of the New York critics, just to see if American audiences would like it,” Bryan said. “I think it’s a really funny show.” It’s rated PG.

•  “Mary Poppins,” Aug. 9-11, 2013 and Aug. 14-18, 2013: The Disney Company, partnering with Mackintosh, is allowing Music Theater to be among the first theaters in the country to produce its own version of the classic musical that includes hits such as “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Chim Chim Cheree.” It’s rated G.

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