Playhouse Square announces 2022-23 Broadway season
Cleveland’s Playhouse Square announced Tuesday its 2022-23 Broadway season. The seven-show lineup includes a mixture of current New York favorites, like “Six” and “Hadestown,” plus a serving of tried and true musical warhorses, like “Les Miserables” and “Cats.” Playhouse Square President and CEO Gina Vernaci is framing the latter two as a tribute to famed British producer Cameron Mackintosh.
“He really changed the scope of touring in the entire world when he rolled out the tour of “Cats,” because he decided at that point in time that he was going to deliver on tour the same production values as what was happening on Broadway or in London's West End,” Vernaci said. “And that absolutely changed the dynamic of what happens.”
The new season will also feature a couple of stage musicals based on popular movies. Next January, the theatrical adaptation of Tim Burton’s 1988 comedic horror film "Beetlejuice" is one of several COVID-delayed productions having their Cleveland debuts. Baz Luhrmann’s highly theatrical 2001 fantasy film “Moulin Rouge!” is set in the famous Parisian cabaret and gets its stage treatment starting in June 2023.
The 2019 Broadway smash “Hadestown” was all set to hit the road when the pandemic thwarted theatrical traveling plans. The mythological Greek tale of Orpheus and Eurydice is the source material for this love story. Vernaci sees it as an entertaining stage show with some contemporary resonances.
“It’s interesting to see it in terms of our lives today, where we are really looking at the forces of good and evil that are happening in our world,” she said.
A staple of Playhouse Square’s annual Broadway series is the so-called “jukebox musical,” generally the biographical story of a singer or musical group, filled with their famous tunes. In 2018 Carol King got the tribute treatment. This season, it will be the Temptations. Next April, one of the latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees gets her musical profile in “Tina – the Tina Turner Musical.”
The 2022-23 season closes out with a British-born musical comedy that’s one of Broadway’s latest hits “Six” – a production that focuses on the wives of Henry VIII. This new show was originally scheduled to open in New York three years ago.
“Their opening night was the night that Broadway closed, so they shut down on their opening night of the pandemic,” Vernaci said. “They've recently reopened, so they are a new musical for this current season.”
Battling back from the pandemic seems to be a theme for the new season, both here and around the world.
“We have worked our way through that and have figured out what are the protocols. We figured out how to just operate the theaters. That was one extraordinary challenge,” Vernaci said. “The other huge challenge was: How do you take all of these shows and a small pool of people, directors, designers and performers and spread them out across the globe?”
One of Playhouse Square’s attempts at a comeback faced major hurdles as recently as last December, when cast members of “Wicked” contracted COVID-19, and actors from other companies were recruited to finish the run.
Losing performers can be a challenge, but losing audiences is just as bad. Over the course of the pandemic, Playhouse Square lost 8,000 season ticket holders.
“In 2020, when we were announcing our season, we had 48,629 season ticket holders. Ten days later, we were out of business,” she said. “So, we need to build back toward that 48,000. We feel like this is absolutely the season that's going to get us there.”
Apart from the upcoming Broadway season, "Hamilton" is also returning to Playhouse Square later this year for six weeks beginning Dec. 6.
Playhouse Square’s 2022-2023 KeyBank Broadway Series
October 7- 29, 2022
November 2- 20, 2022
January 10- 29, 2023
January 31- February 19, 2023
TINA - THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL
April 25- May14, 2023
MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL
June 7- July 2, 2023
SIX THE MUSICAL
August 8- September 10, 2023