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Broadway on Hennepin's next season: 10 shows, 23 Tonys

Photo by Deen van Meer
Arabian Nights Men. Disney’s “Aladdin” Original Broadway Company, (C) Disney.

Hennepin Theatre Trust on Monday announced its 2017-18 Broadway on Hennepin season. This is the one without “Hamilton,” which comes to Minneapolis in 2018-19. But it’s full of winners, including Minnesota premieres and returning favorites. The 10 shows add up to 15 weeks of Broadway at the Orpheum, starting in September and ending next July, with crowds, lights, buzz and stars.

Introducing his final season as the Trust’s president and CEO, Tom Hoch said in a statement, “We are excited to bring this incredible lineup of dynamic and captivating productions to Hennepin Avenue. … Audiences have come to expect the finest in touring Broadway and next year will be no exception.” Hoch’s last day is Feb. 3, earlier than originally planned. Incoming board chair Ann Simonds will serve as interim president until a replacement is named.

Here’s  the 2017-18 line-up:

Sept. 15-Oct. 8: “Aladdin.” The hit Broadway musical based on the Disney movie will launch its first tour in Chicago, then head north to kick off the Trust’s new season, with Adam Jacobs in the title role he originated on Broadway. The New York Times called Jacobs “gleaming, hunky and lovable.”

Oct. 31-Nov. 5: “Finding Neverland.” Based on the Oscar-winning film, the story behind the creation of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan” has been a huge audience favorite, though it was snubbed by the Tonys. NPR called it “the best musical of the year,” and it won Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award for Best Musical.

Nov. 21-26: “Waitress.” A musical version of Adrienne Shelly’s empowering film, with creatively named pies and an all-women creative team that includes six-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”), screenwriter Jessie Nelson (“I Am Sam”), and Tony winning director Diane Paulus (“Pippin,” “Finding Neverland”).

Dec. 13-31: “The Phantom of the Opera.” One of the world’s most popular musicals, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s warhorse has been re-imagined by Cameron Mackintosh and Matthew Bourne. It’s out on a new North American tour with an orchestra of 52 musicians and special effects including the chandelier.

Feb. 13-18, 2018: “The Humans.” Last year, the Trust threw a play into its line-up, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.” This year it’s Stephen Karam’s “The Humans,” about a family Thanksgiving dinner and things that go bump in the night. Both are Best Play Tony winners, “Curious Incident” for 2015 and “Humans” for 2016. We understand that Broadway on Hennepin will probably always be mostly musicals, but we appreciate the occasional play.

March 6-11: “School of Rock.” With all of the songs from the hit movie, 14 new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and musical theater’s first-ever kids rock band, playing their instruments live on stage.

April 3-8: “Something Rotten.” In this Best Musical nominee, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw (“Aladdin,” “The Book of Mormon”), the Bottom brothers, Nick and Nigel, compete with a guy named Shakespeare for success in the theater world.

April 24-28: “Jersey Boys.” The Tony, Grammy and Olivier-winning Best Musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is back and still thrilling. The songs are just so good.

June 5-10: “Chicago.” Now the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, with music by Kander and Ebb and book by Ebb and Fosse, this tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz is full of show-stopping songs.

June 26-July 1: “Love Never Dies.” So what happens after the Phantom of the Opera vanishes, leaving only his mask? Ten years have passed. The Phantom is living in New York, and Christine and Raoul’s marriage is rocky. Will they all meet again on Coney Island? It’s fun that we can see the original and Lloyd Webber’s sequel in the same season.

In sum: 10 shows, 23 Tonys, seven Minnesota premieres, three returnees, six musicals (including three Lloyd Webbers), one play. Season tickets are on sale now. Not to pound this in, but subscribers to the 2017-18 season will have first access to “Hamilton” when they renew their subscription for the 2018-19 season. Seven- and eight-show packages are available. FMI.

Kelly Barnhill has won the Newbery Medal

Minneapolis author Kelly Barnhill has won the 2017 Newbery Medal, the highest honor in children’s literature. Her winning YA novel, “The Girl Who Drank the Moon,” is a fantasy about an abandoned baby born with a crescent moon birthmark on her forehead. It’s her fourth novel, after “The Witch’s Boy,” “Iron Hearted Violet” and “The Mostly True Story of Jack.”

Minnesota can now claim four Newbery Medal winners. Kate DiCamillo won in 2004 and again in 2014. Neil Gaiman, who lives “near Minneapolis,” won in 2009. And Carol Ryrie Brink, who lived in St. Paul for more than 40 years, was the 1936 medal winner for “Caddie Woodlawn.” Dec. 28 would have been her 121st birthday.

In Monday’s announcement from the American Library Association, Minneapolis author Caren Stelson won a Robert Sibert honor for her book “Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story,” published by Carolrhoda Books, a Minneapolis-based publisher.

The Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children went to “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. Rep. John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and civil rights leader who boycotted President Donald Trump’s inauguration last Friday, won four prizes for his graphic memoir “March: Book Three,” including the Coretta Scott King Award for best children’s book by an African American and the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in children’s literature. 

Here’s the complete list of honorees.

The picks

We hope you don’t have plans yet for tonight, because Tuesday sneaked up on us and now there’s a pile-up of picks.

Tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 24) at the Amsterdam: Launch party for Jim Walsh’s “Gold Experience: Following Prince in the ’90s” and reading from his “Bar Yarns and Manic-Depressive Mixtapes.” During the 1990s, when Prince feuded with his record label, Walsh covered him for the Pioneer Press. “Gold Experience” collects rare interviews, live reviews, little-known stories and close encounters from that crazy, brilliant time. Published late last year, “Bar Yarns” distills 30 years of writing about music. MPR’s Andrea Swensson will lead a Q&A with Walsh, and there will be music. Doors at 6:30 p.m., program at 7. Free and open to the public, but please RSVP.

Tonight at the Minnesota History Center: Brian McMahon discusses and signs his new book “The Ford Century in Minnesota.” The Ford Motor Company was a huge part of Minnesota history. Model T motor cars were made in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Millions of cars, trucks, tractors and military vehicles were manufactured at the Twin Cities Assembly Plant before its closure in 2011. McMahon tells the story in words and pictures, including first-person accounts from more than 40 retired auto workers. 7 p.m. in the History Lounge. Free.

Tonight at Intermedia Arts: Queer Voices: An LGBTQIA+ Reading Series. Curated for over 10 years by Andrea Jenkins and John Medeiros, “Queer Voices” is the longest-running literary reading series of its kind in the country, having featured more than 300 readers to date. Tonight’s readers are fiction writer/poet/essayist Anya Johanna DeNiro, poet and U of M MFA candidate Roy G. Guzmán, multidisciplinary performing artist Dua Saleh and Nghiem Tran, a Vassar grad and Kundiman Fellow. 7:30 p.m. Suggested donation at the door ($5-25).

Tonight at Northrop: Batsheva Dance Company. Before Lady Gaga, there was Gaga, a movement vocabulary developed by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin and spoken by the bodies of his dancers at Batsheva Dance Company. Co-presented by Northrop and the Walker, this remarkable evening, titled “Decadance 2017,” will feature excerpts from 10 works spanning Naharin’s 27 years as the company’s artistic director, remixed into a single performance. Batsheva was last here in 2009, another excellent reason not to miss this. FMI and tickets ($42-62). Arrive early for a free preview at 6:15 in the Best Buy Theater.

Tonight at the Ordway Concert Hall: Accordo with Stephen Prutsman. Last year around this time, pianist/composer Prutsman joined the chamber group Accordo for an evening of music and movies: Prutsman’s original music, written to accompany silent films that flickered on a screen behind them. Tonight is a sort of reprise of that very successful performance, with different music (by Prutsman and Maria Newman), different films including “One AM” starring Charlie Chaplin, and guest clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein. We thoroughly enjoyed last year’s concert and wouldn’t mind this becoming an annual event. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($30, student rush $12). Post-concert reception at Vieux Carré; show your ticket stub for entry.

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