Monday evening, in an event full of potatoes (more on that in a moment), the Smith Center announced its 2015-2016 Broadway Series to a boisterous room.
Highlights of the season include the first national tours of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Award Winner for Best Musical), The Bridges of Madison County (Tony Award Winner for Best Score and Best Orchestrations) and the return of popular favorites The Book of Mormon and Beauty and the Beast.
But the biggest news of the evening was the announcement for the next original Smith Center production, Idaho: The Comedy Musical, a new musical being prepped for Broadway and written by Buddy Sheffield (head writer from In Living Color) and Keith Thompson (musical director for Jersey Boys). The show will be presented in 2016, from May 27 to June 2, in concert format, with some staging and choreography, but not in a full production.
“Idaho is like one of the great American musicals—like Oklahoma meets The Book of Mormon,” Myron Martin, the Smith Center’s CEO and president, said. “We’re going to stage Idaho on the Smith Center stage, and our friends from Broadway and independent producers from around the country will all be traveling to Las Vegas to see this production right here. We really believe if you all like it as much as we do, its next stop will be Broadway.”
Later in the evening, Keith Thompson, Idaho’s composer, joined Seth Rudetsky of the Sirius/XM Radio show Seth’s Big Fat Broadway onstage to discuss the production, which he described as, “a tribute to the old great musicals of the golden era of musicals. It is to Oklahoma what Blazing Saddles was to the spaghetti western. It is very outrageous, very raucous and a little bit naughty.”
Thompson then accompanied singers for two numbers from the show: “I do Ida,” sung by the amorously enthusiastic character “Ida Dunham” and featuring such lines as “I know a gal’s supposed to be a virgin/But I can’t resist the slightest bit of urgin’.” The song was met with lots of laughs, and was followed by the first-act closer, a rousing number about following your dreams by planting potatoes.
The full list of shows in the Broadway Series is: Dirty Dancing (July 14-July 19); Ragtime (October 27-November 1); The Book of Mormon (September 22-October 18); Elf the Musical (November 24-29); Riverdance–The 20th Anniversary Tour (January 26-31); The Bridges of Madison County (February 23-28); A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (March 8-13); Beauty and the Beast (April 8-17) Idaho: The Comedy Musical (May 27-June 2); and Cabaret (June 14-19).
Current subscribers can begin to renew their tickets now, with seats opening to new subscribers on April 27.