Cicely Tyson to Reprise Role in 'BOUNTIFUL' as Part of CTG Ahmanson Theatre's 2014-15 Season; Plus CINDERELLA, MATILDA & More
"The new season, our 48th season at the Music Center of Los Angeles," said Ritchie, "will include from Broadway two hit musicals and a celebrated drama - the magical 'Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella,' the mischievous 'Matilda The Musical' and the much beloved Cicely Tyson in Horton Foote's exquisite 'The Trip to Bountiful.'
"We also welcome the inimitable Dame Edna for the last time in 'Dame Edna and Barry Humphries: The Final Farewell Tour.' And we are presenting 'Heartbeat of Home,' a high energy celebration of dance and multiculturalism from the producers of 'Riverdance.' "
"It's a season of laughter and poignancy, and of glorious music and dance," said Ritchie. "There is a huge amount of talent surrounding the productions we are presenting next year, and I know Los Angeles audiences will be thoroughly pleased by this and by the scope and sheer entertainment of what we are offering. It will be a season to remember."
Cicely Tyson in "The Trip to Bountiful"
The critically acclaimed, Tony-nominated Broadway revival of Horton Foote's American masterpiece "The Trip to Bountiful," starring the legendary Cicely Tyson, will open the Ahmanson's new season, September 17 through November 2, 2014. The opening is set for September 26.
Tyson, who received an Academy Award nomination for "Sounder" and two Emmy Awards for "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," returned to Broadway in 2013 for the first time in over 30 years to star in "The Trip to Bountiful" and received every major theatrical award including the Tony Award for Best Actress, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for her tour-de-force performance as Carrie Watts.
Directed by Michael Wilson, "The Trip to Bountiful" tells Mother Watts' story. She is an elderly woman forced to live with her overprotective son and domineering daughter-in-law. Her dream is to return for one last time to her small hometown in Bountiful, Texas. Her journey becomes a heartbreaking but ultimately life-affirming and inspiring tale that examines the fragility of memory and celebrates the enduring power of hope, faith and family.
"Heartbeat of Home"
The high energy dance extravaganza "Heartbeat of Home," created by the producers and director of "Riverdance," will be presented at the Ahmanson Theatre during the holidays, December 9, 2014, through January 18, 2015. Opening is set for December 10.
A celebration of the rhythms of Ireland, Cuba, Africa, Spain and more, "Heartbeat of Home" features 29 dancers and 10 musicians in what the Irish Mail on Sunday said is "an extraordinary show ... jaw dropping ... inspiringly imaginative."
Produced by Moya Doherty, conceived and directed by John McColgan, "Heartbeat of Home" has music by Brian Byrne, lyrics and narrative by Joseph O'Connor and choreography by David Bolger and John Carey.
In describing the new piece, O'Connor said, "When we marry the sexiness of salsa to the thunder of Irish dance, the lyricism of tango to the yearning of sean-no?s, what a night of storytelling we shall have."
The comic genius of Dame Edna will bring in the New Year at the Ahmanson Theatre with "Dame Edna and Barry Humphries: The Final Farewell Tour," January 24 through March 15, 2015. The opening is set for January 28.
In a side-splitting, historic finale, Barry Humphries, with his beloved creation - Dame Edna Everage, is capping a spectacular career spanning 50 years of bravura showmanship in this farewell to celebratory, sold-out performances across world. With her take-no-prisoners comedy and hijinks, Dame Edna is not going out with a whimper: No one is safe from the Dame's wicked tongue.
Directed by Simon Phillips, "Dame Edna and Barry Humphries: The Final Farewell Tour" opened to rave reviews in Australia and moved to adoring crowds in London, where Neil Norman of the Daily Express said, "I almost asphyxiated myself with laughter," and Mark Shenton of the Sunday Express said Dame Edna is "... a comic, cosmic wonder ... I only pray that that this show is not really the last we will be seeing of Humphries, but if it is, he is going out on an unmissable high." John Lahr of The New Yorker paid tribute, "Dame Edna may leave the stage, but she will never leave my heart. I love her. I honor her. I cherish the high times she has made for me and millions of others."
"Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella"
"Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella," which has been delighting audiences on Broadway with its extraordinarily beautiful music and lush production, will be presented at the Ahmanson Theatre, March 17 through April 26, 2015. The opening is set for March 18.
With its fresh new take on the beloved tale of a young woman who is transformed from a chambermaid into a princess, this hilarious and romantic "Cinderella" combines the story's classic elements - glass slippers, pumpkin and a beautiful ball along with some surprising twists.
More than just a pretty face with the right shoe size, this Cinderella is a contemporary figure living in a fairy tale setting. She is a spirited young woman with savvy and soul who doesn't let her rags or her gowns trip her up in her quest for kindness, compassion and forgiveness. She not only fights for her own dreams, but forces the prince to open his eyes to the world around him and realize his dreams too.
"Cinderella" has music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, a new book by Douglas Carter Beane and original book by Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is directed by Mark Brokaw and choreographed by Josh Rhodes. Music adaptation, supervision and arrangements are by David Chase and orchestrations are by Danny Troob.
One of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most popular titles, "Cinderella" was written for television - debuting in 1957 starring Julie Andrews. In 2013 the show made its long-overdue Broadway debut. Along with "Cinderella," Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's legendary musicals include "Oklahoma!," "Carousel," "The King and I," "South Pacific" and "The Sound of Music."
Beane's book for "Cinderella" blends masterfully with the musical's cherished score with songs including "In My Own Little Corner," "Impossible/It's Possible," "Ten Minutes Ago" and "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?"
Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press called the musical "...pure magic... 'Cinderella' crackles with sweetness and freshness," while Elysa Gardner of USA Today said it is "A dazzling delight for all ages. 'Cinderella' casts a new spell on Broadway." It is ... a full-on romantic fantasy," according to Elisabeth Vincentelli of the New York Post.
The creative team includes scenic design by Tony Award nominee Anna Louizos, costume design by six-time Tony Award-winner William Ivey Long, lighting design by Tony Award-winner Kenneth Posner and sound design by Tony Award-nominee Nevin Steinberg.
"Matilda The Musical"
The irresistible Broadway hit "Matilda The Musical" will begin its national tour with a presentation at the CTG/Ahmanson Theatre, May 29 through July 12, 2015. The opening is scheduled for June 7.
Winner of a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards including Best Musical, "Matilda The Musical" is based on the beloved novel by best-selling author Roald Dahl ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox"). It is the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, Matilda dares to take a stand and change her destiny.
"Matilda The Musical" is directed by Tony Award-winner Matthew Warchus ("God of Carnage"), who helms this production with a book by Tony Award-winning playwright Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Australian comedian, musician and composer Tim Minchin. The production has sets and costumes by Tony Award-winner Rob Howell and choreography by Peter Darling.
When the musical opened on Broadway in April 2013, the production received four Tony Awards and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theater for each of the four girls who shared the title role, two Outer Critics Circle Awards, five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical. It was celebrated on 10 "Top Ten" lists for 2013, including Time magazine's #1 Show of the Year.
After premiering at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2010, "Matilda The Musical" transferred to London's West End in October 2011, where the show continues to play to sold-out houses. The musical opened on Broadway in April 2013, and is one of the top weekly grossing shows on Broadway.
The North American tour of "Matilda The Musical" is produced by The Royal Shakespeare Company and the Dodgers.
Tickets for the Ahmanson Theatre's 48th season are currently available by subscription only. For information and to charge season tickets by phone, call the Exclusive Season Ticket Hotline at (213) 972-4444.
To purchase subscriptions online, visit CenterTheatreGroup.org/Ahmanson. For information regarding audio description and Project D.A.T.E. (sign language interpreted, open caption and audio description performances) call TDD (213) 680-4017 or voice (213) 972-4444.
Photo by Joan Marcus