LANSING, Mich. — The last few months have been unprecedented in the performing arts and entertainment industry. While COVID-19 has changed the world, Wharton Center Executive Director Mike Brand says, "Wharton Center is ready to move forward and do what we do best: present the finest of the performing arts. We are as excited as ever to announce a new Wharton season. The 2020-2021 season offers opportunities for our patrons to relax, have fun, and enjoy experiences that we are confident will make lifelong memories."
Wharton Center’s 2020-2021 season includes FIVE Broadway hits: Mean Girls; Jesus Christ Superstar; Pretty Woman: The Musical; CATS; and Disney's Frozen.
Direct from Broadway, Mean Girls (December 8–13, 2020) is the hilarious hit musical from an award-winning creative team, including book writer Tina Fey (30 Rock), composer Jeff Richmond (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), lyricist Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde) and director Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon). The Chicago Tribune calls Mean Girls, "By far the funniest musical of the year!"
The Broadway phenomenon Jesus Christ Superstar is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a mesmerizing production coming to Wharton Center January 26–31, 2021. This new production by the acclaimed director Timothy Sheader (Crazy for You, Into the Woods) and award-winning choreographer Drew McOnie (King Kong, Strictly Ballroom) won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, garnering unprecedented reviews and accolades. Featuring award-winning music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final week in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas.
After an incredible record-breaking run on Broadway, Audience Choice Award-winner Pretty Woman: The Musical (February 16–21, 2021) promises to "lift your spirits and lighten your heart.” BuzzFeed News says, "If you love the movie, you will love the musical." Pretty Woman: The Musical is brought to life by a powerhouse creative team representing the best of music, Hollywood, and Broadway. Featuring direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray, Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde), an original score by Grammy® winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance (“Summer of ’69,” “Heaven”), a book by the movie’s legendary director, Garry Marshall, and screenwriter J.F. Lawton.
CATS is the record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber, brought back to complement Wharton’s season (May 11–16, 2021). Audiences and critics alike are rediscovering this beloved musical with breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater: ”Memory.” Winner of 7 Tony Awards® including Best Musical, Cats tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. The original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber (The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock, Sunset Boulevard ), original scenic and costume design by John Napier (Les Misérables), all-new lighting design by Natasha Katz (Aladdin), all-new sound design by Mick Potter, new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton) based on the original choreography by Gillian Lynne (Phantom) and direction by Trevor Nunn (Les Misérables) make this production a new Cats for a new generation!
Disney's Frozen (July 7–18, 2021) is the Tony® nominated Best Musical that the LA Daily News calls "simply magical." From the producers of The Lion King and Aladdin, Frozen is an unforgettable theatrical experience filled with sensational special effects, stunning sets and costumes, and powerhouse performances. It is everything you want in a musical: It's moving. It's spectacular. And above all, it's pure Broadway joy.
Wharton Center’s extraordinary lineup of performances continues with the Performing Arts Series hosting the world’s greatest performing artists including: world-renowned brass quartet Canadian Brass, celebrating their 50th anniversary this year; multi-platinum recording ensemble, Celtic Woman, who fuse traditional Irish music with contemporary songcraft, bringing a stellar holiday spectacular; EVIDENCE, a dance ensemble led by legendary choreographer Ronald K. Brown, which integrates African dance with contemporary choreography and spoken word. An Evening with Itzhak Perlman featuring the reigning virtuoso of the violin performing beloved musical selections and telling his remarkable story; and performing the music of Gershwin in a big, bold way will be conductor Teddy Abrams and vocal wonder Morgan James. Beloved ballet ensemble, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has established itself as one of the country’s premier ballet companies since its founding in 1969; they perform Beauty and the Beast in our 20-21 season. Finally, following her Tony Award® winning run as Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton, Michigan native Renée Elise Goldsberry arrives to perform a mix of soulful standards and Broadway classics.
For a complete look at all the 2020-2021 season events, log onto the Wharton Center website at www.whartoncenter.com, or you can request a brochure by calling 1-800-WHARTON. An interactive brochure is online at whartoncenter.com.
Wharton Center's 2020-2021 season also includes Sensory-Friendly Performances (SFPs). These events provide supportive and welcoming environments for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other sensory sensitivities and their families. Wharton audiences will also be able to engage in popular engagement activities such as Insight Previews and After Chats for many of this year's performances. A complete list of all SFP events and engagement activities is available online at www.whartoncenter.com or by phoning the Auto-Owner Insurance Ticket Office at Wharton Center.
The best way for a patron to experience the events in this amazing season is by becoming a Wharton Center season subscriber. Subscribers receive benefits that include significant discounts and access to the best seats before they go on sale to the general public. Subscribers can save up to 20% off public ticket prices. In addition, they receive special offers throughout the season. They can take advantage of incentives that include a Subscriber Discount Program offering great discounts at local retailers and restaurants, and more.
A copy of the season brochure and subscriber order form can be downloaded from the Wharton Center media site (www.whartoncenter.com). Subscribers can submit their order via the U.S. Postal Service. The Wharton Center Call Center is open from 10:00am to 3:00pm Monday through Friday at 517-432-2000 for questions. Email questions can be directed to email@example.com.
Below is a complete list of the 2020-2021 season lineup.
BROADWAY AT WHARTON CENTER
MEAN GIRLS December 8-13, 2020
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR January 26-31, 2021
PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL February 16-21, 2021
CATS May 11-16, 2021
Disney’s FROZEN July 7-18, 2021
WHARTON CENTER PERFORMING ARTS
Canadian Brass 50th Anniversary January 12, 2021
Academy of St Martin in the Fields March 21, 2021
Trondheim Soloists April 15, 2021
Alisa Weilerstein, cello
An Evening with Itzhak Perlman May 4, 2021
Rohan de Silva, piano
Celtic Woman: The Best of Christmas December 15, 2020
Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn January 14, 2021
Renée Elisa Goldsberry January 16, 2021
Gina Chavez January 27, 2021
SŌ Percussion February 28, 2021
Kristin Chenoweth In Concert- For the Girls April 3, 2021
‘S Wonderful: The Music of George Gershwin April 7, 2021
With Teddy Abrams, Morgan James, and orchestra
The Moth Mainstage June 10, 2021
Blue Man Group June 22-23, 2021
Southern Journey: An Afro-American Celebration! January 23, 2021
Featuring Ranky Tanky and special guest Dom Flemons
Alicia Olatuja February 11, 2021
Intuition: Songs From The Minds Of Women
An Evening with Branford Marsalis April 14, 2021
The Child Dreams February 4 & 7, 2021
A staged reading of a play by Hanoch Levin
Directed by Moshe Perlstein
Meow Meow April 27, 2021
Second City Hits Home May 18-20, 2021
Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE February 3, 2021
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre: March 16 & 17*, 2021
Beauty and the Beast
* Sensory-Friendly Performance
ACT ONE FAMILY:
The Little Mermaid February 6, 2021
Into the West March 27 & 28, 2021
A Wharton Center Theatre Production
Written by Greg Banks
Directed by Bert Goldstein
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