Overture Center unveils 2020-21 Broadway shows

‘Dear Evan Hansen’ among the musicals coming to town
Mean Girls Pic
Expect "Mean Girls" next October at Overture Center. (Photo courtesy of Overture Center)

There’s no way to know whether the Overture Center for the Arts’ just announced lineup of Broadway shows will be disrupted by fallout from the coronavirus as befell the current season. “Wicked” cancelled most of its run in March and “My Fair Lady” and “The Show That Goes Wrong” were scrapped altogether.

So for the moment, let’s just look forward optimistically.

Tim Sauer, Overture’s vice president of programming, unveiled the lineup in a Facebook stream this evening . You can watch live and/or re-watch it here. As usual, there’s a mix of the familiar, the nostalgic and the new.

The docket kicks off in early October with the Madison premiere of “Mean Girls,” the 2017 musical based on the 2004 teen comedy written by Tina Fey. Fey also wrote the book for the musical. (Oct. 6-11)

Next up in November, we clearly had it comin’: It’s “Chicago,” the multiple Tony Award-winning, currently the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. Get those jazz hands ready. (Nov. 17-22)

After a holiday break, 2021 starts with a modern reinterpretation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “Oklahoma!” (Feb. 16-21). Director Daniel Fish’s revival is both more stripped down and far darker and nuanced than the dopey/happy song and dance we’re typically used to with this show. Overture’s the only place in Wisconsin audiences will be able to see it.

Lion King Pic

“Disney’s The Lion King” returns next spring. (Photo courtesy of Overture Center)

After a four-year hiatus, “Disney’s The Lion King” makes its way back to the Overture Center in March for a three-week run, and with all the tribal pomp that’s typically associated with it. (March 18-April 11)

In May, it’s another Madison premiere, with Matthew Sklaw and Chad Beguelin’s “The Prom,” a tale about four aging Broadway actors who travel to a conservative burg to help a lesbian student bring her date to the big dance. The show debuted on Broadway in 2018, and Madison will be part of its first national tour.  (May 11-16)

The season’s crown jewel hits in June — the Wisconsin premiere of “Dear Evan Hansen,” the show that swept the Tonys in 2017, including Best Musical, with Ben Platt in the lead role. With its social-media-aware vibe and wrenching tale of a well-intentioned loser who lies his way into popularity and a new family, this is the season’s most likely sellout. (June 15-20)

Things wrap up in July with the Madison premiere of the 2018 jukebox musical “Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations,” a multiple Tony-nominated work that traces the legendary Detroit band’s rise to prominence.  (July 13-July 18)

Current Overture subscribers have until May 18 to renew their orders and guarantee tickets.

Aaron R. Conklin covers the Madison-area theater scene for madisonmagazine.com.

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