In Los Angeles, the Pantages Theatre is the hot-spot for Broadway tours and their 2018-2019 lineup promises to be an exciting one. The theatre on Hollywood Boulevard is currently the home of the national tour of Aladdin, but the next-year will be full of excitement, including three L.A. premieres and four long-awaited L.A. Returns.
From November 6 to November 25, 2018 the national tour of A Bronx Tale, directed by Oscar-winner Robert De Niro and Tony-winner Jerry Zaks, kicks things off. Featuring a score by Alan Menken (Newsies, Little Shop of Horrors) and Glenn Slater (Sister Act, Leap of Faith), A Bronx Tale is based on Chazz Palminteri one-man play and the subsequent film. Set in the 1960s (in the Bronx), a mobster takes a shine to a teenager and draws him into his world.
Next-up is Hello, Dolly!, directed by Jerry Zaks and featuring a Tony-winning score by Jerry Herman. Running from January 29 to February 17, 2019, the musical about the determined matchmaker who sets out to find love for everyone she encounters while lining up a second marriage for herself, continues to be one of Broadway’s hottest tickets. Among the classic songs are “Before the Parade Passes By,” “It Only Takes a Moment,” “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” and, of course, the title number, “Hello, Dolly!”
February 26 to March 24 (2019) finds Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats pawing its way to the Pantages. Based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Cats will feature choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (based on the original choreography by Gillian Lynne), and direction by Trevor Nunn. Several colorful felines congregate in a junkyard, each making their case for which one of them should be chosen to return to “The Heavyside Layer” to be reborn into their new Jellicle life. One of Broadway’s longest-running musicals, Cats includes one of Webber’s most-recorded songs “Memory”.
The master chocolatier, Willy Wonka, takes-up shop next with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory making its L.A. premiere from March 27 to April 14, 2019. David Greig adapts the story from the Roald Dahl novel about a little boy who wins a golden ticket admitting him into a magical candy factory run by the mysterious Willy Wonka. With a score by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman (Hairspray) and songs carrying over from the 1971 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is fun for the whole family.
The Bartlett Sher-directed revival of Fiddler on the Roof will inhabit the Pantages from April 16 through May 5, 2019. “Fiddler on the Roof is the heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and life, love and laughter.” Among the Broadway standards to come from the Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick score are. “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Sunrise Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “Tradition.” The production is choreographed by the acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter; inspired by the original choreography of Jerome Robbins.
Les Miserables makes it triumphant return to Los Angeles, with the celebrated new staging and reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. The epic tale of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict who reinvents himself to become an honest and good man, even as he is doggedly tracked by the relentless Inspector Javert, will play May 7 -June 2, 2019. Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s deeply-moving score includes such hits as “On My Own”, “Bring Him Home”, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Stars” and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.”
The season wraps-up with Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon. A smash hit in London and most recently on Broadway, the reimagined Miss Saigon will make its L.A. premiere July 16 – August 11, 2019. Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and its subsequent aftermath, the story tells of an American soldier and Vietnamese woman whose lives are forever changed after spending one night together on the eve of the fall of Saigon. Miss Saigon features song hits including hits including “Last Night of the World,” “The Movie in My Mind,” and “The Heat is On in Saigon.”
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com