On Theater: Center lifts curtain on 2011-12 season

March 10, 2011|By Tom Titus
  • Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo.
Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. (Marie-Laure Briane )

Oldies, newcomers and the 25th anniversary revival of arguably the greatest musical of all time dot the calendar of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts for its upcoming 2011-12 season — which, coincidentally, also is the center's 25th season.

The anniversary production is "Les Miserables," ticketed for June 12-24, 2012, and, according to those who've witnessed it, it's not just another revival. The New York Times described it as "an unquestionably spectacular production from start to finish."

Television viewers were given a taste of the new production in a concert version on PBS Sunday evening, and if those performers' spectacular voices are present when the national tour pulls into Costa Mesa, theatergoers are in for a rare treat.

Starting things off, however, will be a show aimed somewhat lower on the viewing age scale. It's "Shrek the Musical," opening Oct. 4 for a two-week engagement. The swamp-dwelling ogre out to reclaim the deed to his land is joined by a wisecracking donkey and a feisty princess.


Things get a little blue from Nov. 8 to 20, but not in the way you may be thinking. The Blue Man Group takes the Center stage for an evening of comedic pantomime that eschews spoken language for what E! Entertainment News called "what every live performance aspires to be."

Remember "White Christmas," when Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye warmed hearts at a snowless Vermont inn on movie screens back in 1954? Well, it's back as "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," playing the Center appropriately from Dec. 13 to Jan. 1 and featuring a score full of Berlin melodies.

What would happen if you brought Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins together for a one-night stand? You can find out from April 24 to May 6 , 2012, when "Million Dollar Quartet" makes its Center premiere. The '50s will live again, along with some of the more notable songs from that period.

"Les Miserables" arrives June 12, 2012, in a revival that one New York TV station declared "actually exceeds the original." The new production will feature scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, who wrote the original classic novel. You'll look long and hard to find a better musical score.

Another oldie, "La Cage Aux Folles," will close out the Broadway season from July 24 to Aug. 5 of next year. This comedic bonbon stretches family loyalties when the straight and gay worlds collide (as in its movie offspring, "The Birdcage").

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