BWW Looks Forward: Our Most Highly Anticipated Austin Productions for 2013

As 2013 begins, there are already several productions that are on BroadwayWorld's radar. Here is a brief list of some of the most highly anticipated productions Austin has to offer in the coming year...

BWW Looks Forward: Our Most Highly Anticipated Austin Productions for 2013

1. Avenue Q - Austin Theater Project

Music and Lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. Book by Jeff Whitty.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

Winner of the Tony "Triple Crown" for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book, AVENUE Q is part flesh, part felt and packed with heart. AVENUE Q is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. He soon discovers that although the residents seem nice, it's clear that this is not your ordinary neighborhood. Together, Princeton and his new-found friends struggle to find jobs, dates, and their ever-elusive purpose in life.

WHY WE'RE INTERESTED:

Avenue Q is a raunchy, crowd-pleasing laugh riot, and Austin Theater Project's production will be a regional premiere for Austin.

BWW Looks Forward: Our Most Highly Anticipated Austin Productions for 2013

2. The Merchant of Venice - The Baron's Men

By William Shakespeare.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

Led by Director Christina Peppas and Assistant Director Laura Trezise, we will undertake this challenging play as an adventure, in the spirit of love and collaboration characteristic of TBM. Relationships play out in a microcosm, and here, that microcosm is Shakespeare's Venice. Together, we will create our version of this world, embracing its inhabitants' strengths and weaknesses, and striving to fulfill Merchant's comedic and tragic elements. Set Designer Rodrigo Barajas will capture the atmosphere of "La Serenissima" with different styles of arches lightly dressing the façade, complementing and harmonizing with our Elizabethan theater. A wooden, arched footbridge will meld with our stage structure and bring to mind one of the approximately 400 bridges in Venice. Our musicians, under Music Director Howard Burkett, will perform period music by Italian composers such as Claudio Monteverdi and Salamone Rossi. The play's producers are Pam Martin and Dawn Allee.

WHY WE'RE INTERESTED:

A Shakespearian masterpiece performed in The Curtain Theatre, Austin's replica of The Old Globe. Need I say more? Even Shakespeare himself would be pleased.

BWW Looks Forward: Our Most Highly Anticipated Austin Productions for 2013

3. Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Broadway Across America National Tour

Music and Lyrics by Various Artists. Book by Stephen Elliott and Allan Scott.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

This spectacular show tells the uplifting story of a trio of friends, on a road trip of a lifetime, who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship in the middle of the Australian outback and end up finding more than they could ever have dreamed.

An international hit with over 500 dazzling, 2011 Tony Award-winning costumes, Priscilla Queen of the Desert features a hit parade of dance-floor favorites including "It's Raining Men," "Finally" and "I Will Survive." The Hollywood Reporter calls Priscilla "funny and fabulous! Joyous entertainment with eye-popping visuals and unexpected heart!"

WHY WE'RE INTERESTED:

Doesn't a show about drag queens who belt out Madonna tunes sound perfect for a town whose slogan is "Keep Austin Weird"?

BWW Looks Forward: Our Most Highly Anticipated Austin Productions for 2013

4. South Pacific - Georgetown Palace Theatre

Music by Richard Rodgers. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Book by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

Join the Palace for an enchanted evening with the classic R&H Musical set in an island paradise during World War II, where two parallel love stories are threatened by the dangers of prejudice and war. Songs include Some Enchanted Evening, There is Nothing Like a Dame, Bali Ha'I, I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair, A Wonderful Guy, Younger Than Springtime, and You've Got to be Carefully Taught.

WHY WE'RE INTERESTED:

South Pacific is one of the most beautiful and epic musicals from the Golden Age of Broadway. It's a sprawling, ambitious piece, but we're confident that the Georgetown Palace can handle the demanding show.

BWW Looks Forward: Our Most Highly Anticipated Austin Productions for 2013

5. Importance of Being Earnest - Mary Moody Northern Theatre

By Oscar Wilde.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

This glorious comedy of manners was the most popular play by the quintessential bad boy of his day. Join young suitors Algernon, Jack, Cecily and Gwendolyn as they negotiate mislaid babies, mistaken identities, secret engagements, baffled suitors, one overbearing mother and some of the wittiest wordplay ever tossed over afternoon tea. Its 1895 premiere in London offered a stinging critique of love, sex, and hypocrisy that remains relevant today. Featuring guest artists Barbara Chisholm, Robert Faires and Irene White. Smart. Silly. Wicked fun.

WHY WE'RE INTERESTED:

It's a classic, and it's a comedy of manners like only Oscar Wilde can do.

BWW Looks Forward: Our Most Highly Anticipated Austin Productions for 2013

6. Next Fall - Paradox Players

By Geoffrey Nauftts.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

We close the season with Geoffrey Nauftts' riveting new play, Next Fall. Luke believes in God. Adam believes in everything else. Next Fall portrays the ups and downs of this unlikely couple's five-year relationship with sharp humor and unflinching honesty. It paints a beautiful portrait of a modern day romance, asking the hard questions about commitment, love, and faith.

"The funniest heartbreaker in town! Smart, sensitive, and immensely appealing." NY Times

WHY WE'RE INTERESTED:

The Paradox Players's production of Next Fall marks the Austin premiere of this play which had a successful and critically acclaimed run on Broadway in 2010.

BWW Looks Forward: Our Most Highly Anticipated Austin Productions for 2013

7. A Minister's Wife - Penfold Theatre Company

Music by Joshua Schmidt. Lyrics by Jan Levy Tranen. Book by Austin Pendleton.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

In this regional premiere of a new American musical, George Bernard Shaw's riveting drama, Candida, is given an innovative and emotive score by the award-winning composers of Adding Machine. The piece whisks us away to 1890's London to experience the love triangle between the charismatic Reverend James Morell, his strong-willed and beautiful wife Candida, and the idealistic young poet, Eugene Marchbanks, who aims to win Candida's love.

WHY WE'RE INTERESTED:

Penfold's work is always top notch, and the last time George Bernard Shaw's work was musicalized, it led to a little show called My Fair Lady.

BWW Looks Forward: Our Most Highly Anticipated Austin Productions for 2013

8. Death and the Maiden - Sam Bas Community Theatre

By Ariel Dorfman.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

Ariel Dorfman's explosively provocative, award-winning drama is set in a country that has only recently returned to democracy. Gerardo Escobar has just been chosen to head the commission that will investigate the crimes of the old regime when his car breaks down and he is picked up by the humane doctor Roberto Miranda. But in the voice of this good Samaritan, Gerardo's wife, Paulina Salas, thinks she recognizes another man: the one who raped and tortured her as she lay blindfolded in a military detention center years before.

WHY WE'RE INTERESTED:

The gripping play has had plenty of groundbreaking productions around the world (The Broadway premiere featured Glenn Close, Richard Dreyfuss, and Gene Hackman), and the dark subject matter is a bold choice for the often family-friendly Sam Bass Community Theatre.

BWW Looks Forward: Our Most Highly Anticipated Austin Productions for 2013

9. Urinetown - Texas State University - San Marcos

Music and Lyrics by Mark Hollman. Book and Lyrics by Greg Kotis.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

One of the most uproariously funny musicals in recent years, Urinetown is the Tony Award-winning tale of greed, corruption, love, and revolution in a time when water is worth its weight in gold. In a Gotham-like city, a 20-year drought has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission for one of humanity's most basic needs. Amid the people, a hero decides he's had enough, and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom! Inspired by the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, Urinetown is an irreverently humorous satire in which no one is safe from scrutiny.

WHY WE'RE INTERESTED:

If their recent production of Into the Woods is any indication, the students at Texas State University - San Marcos will knock this irreverent comedy out of the park.

BWW Looks Forward: Our Most Highly Anticipated Austin Productions for 2013

10. Mad Beat Hip & Gone - ZACH Theatre

By Steven Dietz.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

Steven Dietz, the most-produced playwright in America who also calls Austin home, is creating this World Premiere specifically for ZACH's first season in the Topfer. In the late 40's and early 50's, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady famously went "on the road." But what about Danny Fergus and Rich Rayburn -- the young guys in the car right behind Jack and Neal, the guys whose history never ended up in books? What were these kids searching for in those "mad days" of "gone kids" trying so hard to be hip? With live jazz and exuberant theatricality, this valentine to American wanderlust chronicles our rich and elusive dreams.

WHY WE'RE INTERESTED:

World Premieres are always fun, and Dietz's play loosely inspired by Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady certainly sounds promising.

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