Kimmel Center Announces Magical Return of the Philadelphia Broadway Shows

Area theater lovers have a great deal to celebrate this fall with the return of the Philadelphia Broadway Series of Shows, coming more than a year of pandemic isolation.

 The Kimmel Cultural Campus has announced the return of live Broadway programming to Philadelphia in the fall of 2021, with 13 memorable shows that will bring audiences together again for “unparalleled live theater experiences.”

In anticipation of reopening its doors safely and resuming main-stage performances, the campus management will continue to work in consultation with health and safety experts in accordance with city and commonwealth guidelines in the development of its reopening plans. This is being done in partnership with The Shubert Organization.

Additionally, the Kimmel Cultural Campus is working collaboratively with its esteemed Resident Companies to support their season plans which will be announced in the coming months.

“Our donors and patrons have given us strength during our year-long closure for which we are exceedingly grateful,” explains Anne Ewers, President & CEO of the Kimmel Center.

“They have enabled us to continue to respond to the needs of the community: transforming our education programs to the online space, partnering with local charities for food and blood drives,” she said, “serving as a polling place, and even opening our doors as a peaceful resting place for protesters and police last summer.”

Fran Egler, Kimmel Center’s senior director of programming and presentation, is over the moon to describe the 2021/22 Broadway Philadelphia season which premieres with the return of Hamilton and continues with an astounding lineup of Tony Award®-winning productions including fan favorites, an innovative reimagining, and beloved classics.

The upcoming season boasts 42 Tony Awards and 37 Drama Desk Awards™, as well as several Philadelphia premieres.

 “What has struck us most, during this time, is the community’s need to be together. So now we eagerly prepare for a safe reopening, allowing us to gather around the healing power of the arts at last,” Egler says.

“We feel this is a season to bring back Broadway in the strongest way possible,” explains the curator of the 2021-22 season. “This is the perfect opportunity for us to re-ignite the passion people have for Broadway and that connection with the arts.”

[A scene From To Kill A Mockingbird]

First of all, this is an awesome lineup that everyone is thrilled about. What does it mean to be planning a fall 2021 return after being dark so long?

Fran Egler: The last performance was March 12, 2020, and we had to cancel 100s of performances in our 2020-21 season after lots of postponements and rescheduling, so I wanted to help them put together a really strong season, including three shows that won Tony Awards for best musical. This new season is a major treat for all of us!

I know we can’t wait for your first show, Hamilton from October 20-November 28, at the Academy of Music, as well as some returning favorites and shows that are new to the area.

Fran Egler:  Yes, we are excited about the return of audience favorites, Hamilton, Beautiful and Waitress, Hairspray, Anastasia, and Rent, and new shows, Hadestown, Oklahoma, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Dear Evan Hansen, with its local ties because Benj Pasek is from Philadelphia, and more. We are able to offer Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill a Mocking Bird.

A lot of people are concerned about feeling safe in the theater, so how do you respond to them?

Fran Egler: Our consultants are working with consultants and state regulators to make sure everyone is as safe as possible for audiences, as well as the touring companies. One of our challenges is being as close to 100 percent capacity because of the economics involved. Hopefully, our first show in October will allow us to do that. Our ventilation system has been a huge concern and we will be meeting all of those guidelines.

What about requiring mask-wearing at the shows?

Fran Egler: We have not determined if we will be requiring masks. I urge those who are interested to sign up at kimmelcenter.org, and we will communicate with everyone who is interested in attending, so they feel comfortable and safe.

How has your Kimmel Center staff being doing during the pandemic?

Fran Egler: We have done a lot of scheduling and re-scheduling and stayed connected with the staff, which was on partial furlough. As a Tony voter I usually see 30-40 shows and live performances, and poof that was gone.

We kept connected and as our lives open up I look forward to seeing family and friends again. We were lucky enough to offer our educational offerings online, which is great, but there is something special in that live connection that audiences experience from the theater even if you have seen the show once or 10 times. For example, Rent is on its 25th Anniversary Tour, which means a new generation will be enjoying it!

What are you hearing from subscribers?

Fran Egler: They want to know how we are going to make sure it’s safe for them to come back, and they are excited about the new season. They have been waiting for years to see Dear Evan Hansen, and are eager to see the other shows. It’s our responsibility that people feel as excited and safe as possible. It’s entirely up to them. They make the final decision. I am happy to say that everything has been really positive so far!

What do you want my readers to know?

Fran Egler:  Theater is a communal artistic experience and our goal is to welcome them back and help them back to help recreate that magic that we all have been missing for more than a year. We will take every step to ensure a healthy and safe experience so they get back to enjoying the live performances and the magic that is on stage.

For Tickets and Information, please go to: https://www.kimmelcenter.org/

HERE IS THE SCHEDULE FOR THE 2021/22 PHILADELPHIA BROADWAY SERIES:

[Hamilton]

 HAMILTON

October 20 – November 28, 2021, • Academy of Music

HAMILTON is the story of America then, told by America now. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and Broadway, HAMILTON has taken the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theatre—a musical that has had a profound impact on culture, politics, and education. With book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, HAMILTON is based on Ron Chernow’s acclaimed biography. It has won Tony®, Grammy®, and Olivier Awards, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and an unprecedented special citation from the Kennedy Center Honors.

[Rain]

RAIN – A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES

October 29 – 31, 2021 • Merriam Theater

In celebration of the anniversary of Abbey Road, RAIN – A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES will bring the greatest hits of this epic recording to life, in addition to other early Beatles favorites. This mind-blowing performance takes audiences back in time with the legendary foursome, delivering a note-for-note theatrical event that is “the next best thing to seeing the Beatles” (Associated Press). Experience the world’s most iconic band and celebrate the best of Abbey Road with RAIN – A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES.

[ Anastasia]

ANASTASIA

November 23 – 28, 2021 • Merriam Theater

Inspired by the beloved films, the romantic and adventure-filled musical ANASTASIA is on a journey to Philadelphia!

From the Tony Award-winning creators of the Broadway classic Ragtime, this dazzling show transports audiences from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing conman and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love, and family.

ANASTASIA features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally, a lush new score by Stephen Flaherty (music), and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) with direction by Tony Award winner Darko Tresnjak.

[Stomp]

STOMP

December 28, 2021 – January 2, 2022, • Merriam Theater

STOMP is explosive, inventive, provocative, witty, and utterly unique—an unforgettable experience for audiences of all ages. The international percussion sensation has garnered armfuls of awards and rave reviews and has appeared on numerous national television shows.

The eight-member troupe uses everything but conventional percussion instruments – matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps – to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms. Year after year, audiences worldwide keep coming back for more of this pulse-pounding electrifying show. As the Boston Globe says, “If you haven’t seen STOMP, GO! If you have seen it, take someone and share the pleasure!” STOMP. See what all the noise is about.

[Pretty Woman]

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL

January 4 – 16, 2022 • Academy of Music

Are you ready to fall in love all over again?

After an incredible run on Broadway, Audience Choice Award-winner PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL is now on tour! One of Hollywood’s most beloved stories of all time, PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL is brought to life on stage by a powerhouse creative team representing the best of music, Hollywood, and Broadway. Featuring direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (HairsprayKinky BootsLegally Blonde), an original score by Grammy® winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance (“Summer of ’69” and “Heaven”), and a book by the movie’s legendary director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J.F. Lawton, PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL will lift your spirits and light up your heart. “If you love the movie, you’ll love the musical!” (BuzzFeed News).

Featured in the musical is Roy Orbison and Bill Dee’s international smash hit song “Oh, Pretty Woman,” which inspired one of the most beloved romantic comedy films of all time. The film Pretty Woman was an international smash hit when it was released in 1990. Now, 30 years later, PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL still “dazzles!” (Deadline) and is “big romance and big fun!” (Broadway.com). “Irresistible! A romantic fantasy. A contemporary fairy tale,” says The Hollywood ReporterPRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL delivers on all the iconic moments you remember. Get ready to experience this dazzling theatrical take on a love story for the ages.

[Hadestown]

 HADESTOWN

February 9 – 20, 2022 • Academy of Music

COME SEE HOW THE WORLD COULD BE.

 Welcome to HADESTOWN, where a song can change your fate. Winner of eight 2019 Tony Awards including Best Musical and the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, this acclaimed new show by celebrated singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and innovative director Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) is a love story for today… and always.

HADESTOWN intertwines two mythic tales – that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone – as it invites you on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back.

Mitchell’s beguiling melodies and Chavkin’s poetic imagination pit industry against nature, doubt against faith, and fear against love. Performed by a vibrant ensemble of actors, dancers, and singers, HADESTOWN is a haunting and hopeful theatrical experience that grabs audiences and never lets go.

[Beautiful: The Carol King Musical]

BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL 
February 22 – 27, 2022 • Academy of Music

 BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.

Featuring a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend,” and the title song, BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL  has a book by Tony Award nominee and Academy Award®-nominated writer Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni, choreography by Josh Prince, and took home two 2014 Tony Awards and the 2015 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album.

[Rent’s 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour]

RENT: 25th ANNIVERSARY FAREWELL TOUR

March 4 – 6, 2022 • Merriam Theater

For a quarter of a century, Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece RENT has inspired us to choose love over fear and to live without regret. Its immeasurable emotional impact has forever changed the world of musical theater.

RENT follows a year in the lives of a diverse group of artists and friends struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. This powerfully resonant phenomenon has become more than a musical – it’s a cultural touchstone, a rite of passage, and a source of joy and strength for millions. The extraordinary RENT fan community spans every continent and every generation – including many born over a decade after the show opened on Broadway.

Whether you’ve never seen RENT or have completely lost count, audiences can’t miss it this time around – the 25th Anniversary “Farewell Season of Love” is your FINAL CHANCE to experience this illustrious touring production.

Come join us to celebrate 25 years of “La Vie Bohème.” 13,140,000 minutes of the one and only RENT.

[Oklahoma]

OKLAHOMA!

March 8 – 20, 2022 • Forrest Theatre

“How is it that the coolest new show on Broadway is a 1943 musical?” says The New York Times. This is OKLAHOMA! as you’ve never seen or heard it before — reimagined for the 21st century, and now the Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Musical. Funny and sexy, dark and jolting, this acclaimed production of OKLAHOMA! “lets us experience Rodgers and Hammerstein’s greatness anew.” (The New Yorker).

Stripped down to reveal the darker psychological truths at its core, Daniel Fish’s production tells a story of a community circling its wagons against an outsider and the frontier life that shaped America. Upending the sunny romance of a farmer and a cowpoke, this OKLAHOMA! allows the classic musical –and our country – to be seen in a whole new light. “This production shocked me and moved me,” raves Frank Rich of New York Magazine.

“This is the OKLAHOMA! that was there all along.” The Daily Beast raves, “Forget your traditional idea of OKLAHOMA! Daniel Fish’s daring, brilliant, utterly absorbing re-interpretation is dark and different—brilliantly so.”

[Waitress]

WAITRESS

March 20 – April 3, 2022, • Academy of Music

Meet Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and rocky marriage. Pouring her heart into her pies, she crafts desserts that mirror her topsy-turvy life such as “The Key (Lime) to Happiness Pie” and “Betrayed By My Eggs Pie.” When a baking contest in a nearby county —and a satisfying encounter with someone new —show Jenna a chance at a fresh start, she must find the courage to seize it.  Change is on the menu, as long as Jenna can write her own perfectly personal recipe for happiness.

Brought to life by a groundbreaking all-female creative team, this hilarious hit Broadway musical features original music and lyrics by Grammy original music and lyrics by  Grammy®  Award winner  Sara  Bareilles  (“Brave,”  “Love  Song”),  a  book by acclaimed screenwriter  Jessie  Nelson  (I  Am  Sam),  original choreography by  Lorin  Latarro  (Les  Liaisons Dangereuses, Waiting For Godot), recreated by tour choreographer Abbey O’Brien and original direction by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippin), recreated by tour director Susanna Wolk.

“WAITRESS is a little slice of heaven!” says Entertainment Weekly, and is “sweet, sassy and passionate,” according to New York Magazine.

“It’s an empowering musical of the highest order!”  raves the Chicago Tribune. Don’t miss this uplifting and hilarious musical celebrating friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.

[Hairspray]

HAIRSPRAY

May 16 – 22, 2022 • Merriam Theater

“If life were everything it should be, it would be more like HAIRSPRAY. It’s irresistible!” – The New York Times

You Can’t Stop the Beat! HAIRSPRAY, Broadway’s Tony Award-winning musical comedy phenomenon that inspired the blockbuster film and live television event, is back on tour! Join 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad in 1960s Baltimore as she sets out to dance her way onto TV’s most popular show. Can a girl with big dreams (and even bigger hair) change the world?

Featuring the beloved score of hit songs including “Welcome to the ’60s,” “Good Morning Baltimore,” “It Takes Two,” and incorporating “Ladies Choice” from the musical film adaption, HAIRSPRAY is “fresh, winning, and deliriously tuneful!” (The New York Times).

This all-new touring production will reunite Broadway’s award-winning creative team led by Director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell to bring HAIRSPRAY to a new generation of theater audiences. Don’t miss this “exhilaratingly funny and warm-hearted musical comedy” (The New Yorker).

[To Kill A Mockingbird]

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
July 12 – 24, 2022 • Academy of Music

All rise for Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork. The New York Times Critic’s Pick TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is “the most successful American play in Broadway history. It has not played to a single empty seat” (60 Minutes). Rolling Stone gives it 5 stars, calling it “an emotionally shattering landmark production of an American classic,” and New York Magazine calls it “a real phenomenon. Majestic and incandescent, it’s filled with breath and nuance and soul.” With direction by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD — “the greatest novel of all time” (Chicago Tribune) —has quickly become “one of the greatest plays in history” (NPR).

[Dear Evan Hansen]

DEAR EVAN HANSEN 

August 16 – 28, 2022 • Forrest Theatre

WINNER OF THE GRAMMY, OLIVIER AND 6 TONY AWARDS INCLUDING BEST MUSICAL, DEAR EVAN HANSEN IS “A CULTURAL PHENOMENON.” (LA TIMES)

A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. DEAR EVAN HANSEN is a deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it.

DEAR EVAN HANSEN has struck a remarkable chord with audiences and critics everywhere, including The Washington Post who says DEAR EVAN HANSEN is “one of the most remarkable shows in musical theatre history.” The New York Times calls it “a gorgeous musical for anyone with a beating heart,” and NBC Nightly News declares the musical “an anthem resonating on Broadway and beyond.”

DEAR EVAN HANSEN features a book by Tony Award winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy, Tony, and Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La LandThe Greatest Showman), and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (RentNext to Normal).

For  information, and to get tickets for any of these shows: Click Here