The season will begin with West Side Story in November.
Inspired by Romeo & Juliet, the story follows ill-fated lovers Tony and Maria as their ethnic backgrounds keep them apart. The play has won three Tony Awards and a Grammy. In addition, the 1961 film version collected 10 Academy Awards. It runs at Miller Nov.13 and 14.
The 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables will run from Jan. 23 to Feb. 3. The revamp features new staging and scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo.
Hair, the 2009 Tony winner for Best Musical Revival, will show Feb. 26 and 27. The rock musical follows a group of young Americans involved in the hippie movement, searching for harmony in the turbulent 1960s.
Closing the series for Miller Auditorium will be Wicked, back by popular demand April 24 through May 5. The play has won three Tony Awards, a Grammy and sold out in record time its last run at Miller in 2010.
As part of the PNC Broadway in West Michigan Series, the theater -- which is in its 44th year -- is able to bring hit performances to a West Michigan audience straight from Broadway.
Tickets and prices for shows will be announced in April.
The company performs in the 400-seat Saugatuck Center for the Arts (400 Culver St.) and combines talent from Broadway, Chicago, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
The season opens with Avenue Q, the musical comedy that won three 2004 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book. Avenue Q uses a mix people and puppets to confront and satirize the realities of entering adulthood. It runs June 22 through July 15.
The "Bonus Track" runs July 16 through 21 and showcases musicians and entertainers, including Grammy-winning BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet.
MSW then presents Our Sinatra from July 27 through Aug. 12. MSW's original cast returns for this production, the most successful show of its inaugural season.
Boeing Boeing finishes the 2012 season, showing from Aug. 17 to Sept. 2. Adapted from the original 1960s French farce, Boeing Boeing features American playboy Bernard and his three fiancées. When a freak snowstorm ruins Bernard's careful planning and traps the four in his apartment, comedic and romantic escapades ensue.
Tickets range from $26 to $40.
Pictured: The cast of Our Sinatra
Earning the status gives the professional theatre more standing room in the union, which represents live theatrical performers and gives them more opportunities to expand their talent within West Michigan.
"It's a big honor," Executive Director Adam Weiner said. "It gives us more of a reach to the members of the association."
It also gives actors the choice to earn points toward their Equity card and to enter into the Equity Membership Candidate Program that leads to more work and recognition within the business.
Achieving Equity status has been a goal since the theatre's opening in the fall of 2008, which it reached much sooner than planned because of its success.
The Equity union is helping them slowly transition into the full process of operating as a SPT.
"We're able to slowly get our feet wet, without just jumping right into the deep end of the pool," Weiner said.
Weiner said the location in downtown Kalamazoo sets them apart from other theatres because of the "wonderful arts scene."
He said the theatre acts as a companion to young actors and students from the Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University theatre programs.
Although they have more access to professional union actors, Weiner said they will most likely continue to operate at about the same union-actor level as in previous productions, providing a professional place for new talent to perform.
The theatre recently leased the former Brown & Brown Recording Studio located across the street on Farmers Alley for storage. The large space doubles as a rehearsal studio, which reduces wear on the main stage and provides freedom for the creative set builders to work.
The small theatre only has one stage and 100 seats, allowing them to present each show in a more intimate way. Weiner said they are expecting to grow as a business from the SPT status, but there are no plans for seating expansion, just that "we are growing and we are excited for the future."
Photo from left to right: Founders Jeremy Koch, Denene Mulay Koch, Adam Weiner, Robert Weiner
It's not exactly a time machine, but writers Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott's Million Dollar Quartet is certainly the next best thing, providing a glimpse of that famous real life recording session. The production opened Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, at Devos Performance Hall and will play through Sunday, Jan. 22.
Million Dollar Quartet begins inside the recording studio with Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Phillips' most recent addition to Sun Records, banging away on the piano. From minute one actor Martin Kaye brings Lewis's eccentric personality to life and sustains it all the way through.
Carl Perkins, who is set on recording his next big hit, soon joins Phillips and Lewis. The animosity is high between newcomer Lewis and a somewhat disgruntled Perkins. The pair bicker their way through a couple of songs before being joined by a more amicable Johnny Cash.
|Million Dollar Quartet
DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids
Jan. 17-22, show times at 1, 2, 6:30, 7:30 and 8 p.m.
broadwaygrandrapids.com, (616) 235-6285
Cash has been steering clear of Sun Records because he recently signed an option with Columbia Records and isn't sure how to tell Phillips.
Elvis Presley arrives with his girlfriend Dyanne and quickly enters into a jovial reunion with Cash and Perkins.
The songs continue as the tension rises. Perkins can't hold back the grudge he feels at Presley performing "Blue Suede Shoes" on the "Ed Sullivan Show," making the song famous and Perkins long forgotten as the song's original writer and performer. Cash finds out that Phillips is planning to ask him to renew his contract that night, and is still trying to figure out how to break his news about Columbia Records. Presley is starting to feel the pressure of stardom, and his girlfriend pressures Phillips to take RCA, Presley's current label, up on their offer to join them.
When it seems like the show is over, it isn't. The audience is transported successfully from the recording studio to the stage, and suddenly it is like being at the concert that never was as Presley, Cash, Perkins and Lewis perform in sequins jackets in front of flickering stage lights. There was definitely "a whole lot of shaking going on" at Devos Performance Hall.