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Bravo for Shea’s upcoming season

Photo by Jim Bush, via Shea's official website.

blog by The Canisius Griffin  • 

Buffalo is buzzing about Shea’s Performing Arts Center and its upcoming 25th year of Broadway musicals. A gold mine of stops for touring shows like The Addams Family this past October, which set a record in ticket sales for the production, and Les Misérables in February, selling out four weeks in advance, Shea’s is the place to be for big-time Broadway musicals – and that’s exactly what is coming next season.

Calls and inquiries have already begun pouring in about the headlining musical, The Book of Mormon, Broadway’s newest smash hit. From the creators of the television series South Park and the musical Avenue Q, the show is a religious satire about two Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda to spread the mission of the Church of Latter Day Saints. The topic may seem controversial and unconventional, but the style is that of a classic, timeless musical.

The Book of Mormon has received endless amounts of praise since its debut in March 2011, including nine Tony Awards. Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, told the creators that they “have somehow managed to satirize religion while simultaneously almost celebrating it.” CBS’s “60 Minutes” said that it “ridicules the silliness of religious dogma while still being uplifting and pro-faith.” People interested in seeing the show on Broadway are encouraged to purchase tickets as much as a year in advance due to such high demand. At the Shea’s season announcement March 15, Artvoice critic and guest announcer Anthony Chase turned to Shea’s CEO and president Anthony Conte, exclaiming, “How did you get this?” before revealing the title to the eagerly awaiting audience.

As The Book of Mormon prepares to launch its first tour, Shea’s was able to secure one of only two one-week engagements. Coming to Shea’s more than a year from now, in June of 2013, patrons are already eager to purchase tickets. An on-sale date has yet to be determined.

While fans wait for the Mormons to knock on Buffalo’s door, Shea’s will have plenty to keep everyone entertained. The season opens September 25 with Tony Award winning Billy Elliot, the inspiring story of the young boxer who discovers a passion for ballet, with a score by Elton John. In October, a new production of Jekyll & Hyde, starring American Idol’s Constantine Maroulis, will hit the stage.

Just in time for the holidays, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas will make an appearance in December. Based on the 1954 film that starred Bing Crosby, it is about two Army veterans who bring a big Broadway show to a small New England town and features classic Christmas tunes.

In February, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert will strut into Buffalo, highlighting well-known pop songs such as “I Will Survive” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” The musical is about two drag queens and a transsexual travelling across the Australian desert and all of the adventures and hilarity that ensue.

Rounding out the six shows in the Broadway series will be Sister Act in March. Based on the film of the same name starring Whoopie Goldberg, the musical follows a lounge singer forced into hiding in a convent where she improves the gospel choir and learns about herself in the process.

The upcoming season looks promising, as long as you can secure a ticket. With over 13,000 season subscribers during the 2011-12 season, the upcoming line-up is sure to raise that number, making getting a single ticket more difficult than ever. Season subscriptions are currently on sale and range from $199 to $435 per ticket.

In addition to the Broadway series, Shea’s announced a few of its planned special engagements. Returning to Buffalo for three weeks in May 2013 is the musical based on Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons, Jersey Boys. Also announced were performances of The Nutcracker, and Blue Man Group.

While the theatre is eagerly promoting next year already, you don’t have to wait until then to visit the historic theater. Still left this year is Monty Python’s Spamalot, March 30 and 31, Stomp, April 13-15, South Pacific, May 1-6, and Memphis, June 5-10, as well a variety of concerts and other special events. For a full calendar of events and more information visit www.sheas.org or stop in at the box office located next to Shea’s on Main Street.

By Hannah Alt

TAGGED: downtown buffalo, live shows, musicals, sheas, theater

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