Schenectady County

Proctors to offer drama, fun in 2012-13

What do Victor Hugo, Walt Disney and Elvis Presley have in common? They’ll all be represented in the

What do Victor Hugo, Walt Disney and Elvis Presley have in common? They’ll all be represented in the Proctors Key Private Bank Broadway Series package for the 2012-2013 season.

“Les Miserables” and “Mary Poppins,” two timeless classics, seemed to produce the most cheers from the 1,500 or so season subscribers that made their way into the main theater Tuesday night to listen to Proctors’ CEO Philip Morris announce next season’s lineup. Also received with much applause was “Wicked,” which packed the Schenectady theater for three weeks during December 2009 and January 2010. Also part of the Broadway series is 2011’s “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and 2010’s “Million Dollar Quartet.”

“I think people are happy, and I think that’s great because we want our subscribers happy,” said Morris, after the conclusion of Tuesday’s program. “People seemed happy with the selections. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

“Mary Poppins,” the Disney classic, will kick off the season in October (Oct. 2-7), while following that production in November will be “Wicked,” which is scheduled for another three-week run (Nov. 5-27).

“ ‘Wicked’ is the most requested thing in all of

our surveys, bar none,” said Morris. “It’s amazing, but we used that as a factor so we said, ‘Let’s bring it back.’ ”

“Million Dollar Quartet” will run for a week to kick off 2013 (Jan. 22-27), and tells the true story of producer Sam Phillips bringing together four musical icons, Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, into one recording session.

“Priscilla Queen of the Desert” will take the stage the next month (Feb. 12-17), while rounding out the season (April 30-May 5) will be “Les Miserables,” based on the 1862 novel by Hugo.

“I saw ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ in New York and that’s going to be a lot of fun, obviously,” said Morris, who was joined on stage by the four actors now performing the musical on Broadway. The group performed four songs from the show. “‘Those weren’t the touring guys,” he said, “those were the guys doing it in New York. But I’m sure the tours guy will be great, too.”

“Million Dollar Quartet” ran for over a year (April 2010 through June 2011) while “Priscilla” opened in March 2011 and continues to enjoy a good run on Broadway.

“ ‘Priscilla’ is a hysterical production, it was a great show in New York, and I think our audience is going to love it,” said Morris. “It’s unusual and a lot of fun.”

“Les Miserables” is celebrating its 25th anniversary season, having opened on Broadway in 1987. It finally closed in 2003.

“We had a production here eight or nine years ago, but this one is special,” said Morris. “It’s the 25th year, and [producer] Cameron Mackintosh is going to shut down the show. That will be it.”

It was Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boubil who put Hugo’s novel to music, covering almost two decades in revolutionary France in the early 19th century. This national tour of “Les Miserables” is being hailed as a “brand new 25th anniversary production,” with new staging and re-imagined scenery inspired by Hugo, who was also a painter. The New York Times called this production “an unquestionably spectacular production from start to finish,” and The Times of London said the show was a “five star hit, astonishingly powerful.”

“Mary Poppins” opened on Broadway in November of 2006 with Ashley Brown in the title role. Based on a series of children’s books written by P.L. Travers and illustrated by Mary Shepard originally published in 1934, “Mary Poppins” was turned into a film by Walt Disney in 1964 with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in the two lead roles.

The stage version was nominated for seven Tony Awards but won just one — for Bob Crowley’s scenic design. Jullian Fellows wrote the book for the play, while the Sherman brothers, Richard and Robert, created the music and lyrics.

“Wicked” made big stars out of Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, opening on Broadway in October of 2003. It is still running in New York and approaching its 3,500th show. It has been called “Broadway’s Biggest Blockbuster” by the New York Times, and tells the story of the Land of Oz long before it was visited by a girl named Dorothy from Kansas. “Wicked” won three Tonys and one Grammy, and broke most of Proctors’ box-office records when it first showed up in Schenectady in December 2009.

“Priscilla Queen of the Desert” tells the uplifting story of three friends on a long road trip in the Australian Outback, while the “Million Dollar Quartet” takes us back to Dec. 4, 1956, when Presley, Cash, Perkins and Lewis all gathered at Sun Records in Memphis for what was hailed as one of the greatest jam sessions ever.

Among the songs included in the show are “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog” and more.

For more information about the 2012-2013 Key Private Bank Broadway Series contact Proctors’ Box Office at 346-6204. Individual tickets will go on sale later this year.

Categories: Life and Arts

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