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The Really Big Show


by Jerome Weeks 26 Sep 2008

Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz The Dallas Summer Musicals has announced a full slate for its 69th season: fifteen, count ’em 15, touring shows. Everything from old warhorses given some new life (The Pajama Game, A Chorus Line) to the now-standard movie adaptations (Legally Blonde, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) […]

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Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz

The Dallas Summer Musicals has announced a full slate for its 69th season: fifteen, count ’em 15, touring shows. Everything from old warhorses given some new life (The Pajama Game, A Chorus Line) to the now-standard movie adaptations (Legally Blonde, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and even an actually interesting face-off drama, Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon .

Actually, one could easily believe that stage life had somehow stopped and been cyrogenically frozen 40 years ago — given the preponderance of such shows as The Pajama Game (original musical: 1954), Mary Poppins (based on the 1964 film), Happy Days (inspired by the ’50s nostalgia sitcom), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (based on the 1968 children’s film) and The Rat Pack – Live at the Sands, which replicates the early ’60s Las Vegas appearance of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in the middle of Sammy Davis Jr.’s stage performance.

In such company, a recent Broadway show, Legally Blonde, as well as Disney’s Tarzan, a new co-production from the Summer Musicals, as well as the fact that The Wizard of Oz coming next June is based on the Royal Shakespeare Company staging — these three seem almost alive, despite their second-hand creation, having all been adapted from hit films. Speaking of which: Too bad about the timing of Frost/Nixon, though — it’ll get here after the film adaptation with Frank Langella opens in December.

Because of the public falling out between the Summer Musicals and the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts over the question of booking musicals into the Winspear Opera House, one might almost think that Summer Musicals impresario Michael Jenkins has launched a preemptive strike — before the Winspear gears up in late 2009. He’s kind of vacuumed up a lot of the available material, especially of the “family friendly” sort. That was Jenkins’ warning, after all: There isn’t enough material on the road to support two separate, competing venues. That is, unless you want to bring back shows that came through so recently they’ve barely left town (Hairspray, High School Musical, Spamalot) or have simply wandered over to Fort Worth.

It’ll be interesting to see what Bill Lively comes up with for the challenge of DCPA’s opening season — and its higher ticket prices. But for now, it’s the Dallas Summer Musicals’ offerings that are up for sale.

  • The Music Hall Series:

Disney’s Tarzan, with music by Phil Collins, March 17-29

Happy Days: A New Musical, May 26-June 7

The Wizard of Oz, based on the Royal Shakespeare staging of the classic MGM movie, June 9-21

A Chorus Line, July 7-19

Legally Blonde: The Musical, July 21-August 2

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh present Mary Poppins, September 24-October 18: The State Fair Musical

  • plus the Subscriber Specials:

3 Redneck Tenors Christmas Spec-tac-yule-ar, November 28-30 at the Majestic Theatre

Bob the Builder, February 21-22, at the Majestic Theatre

Rent, May 5-10 , Music Hall

Fiddler on the Roof, starring Topol, May 19-24 at the Music Hall

  • The Majestic Series:
    The Second City on Tour, November 11-16

    The Rat Pack-Live at the Sands, March 3-8The Pajama Game, March 10-15

    Frost/Nixon, April 28-May 3

    Disney and Cameron Mackintosh present Mary Poppins, September 24-October 18: The State Fair Musical. Yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. The flying nanny is on both series.

    Season tickets go on sale Monday, September 29 at the Box Office, 542 Preston Royal Shopping Center, priced from $67-$377 for the Majestic Series and $88 to $532 for the Music Hall series. Renewals and orders may be faxed to 214-691-7386 for credit charges; telephone orders, call 214-217-1536.

    Photo from The Wizard of Oz from thewizardofoz.warnerbrothers.com; photo of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from chittyontour.com

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