Center Theatre Group Goes Bold with BRING IT ON, AMERICAN IDIOT, Broadway-Bound FUNNY GIRL & More Set for 2011-2012 Season
Ahmanson Theatre's 45th season at the Los Angeles Music Center will include two current Broadway hits fueled by the kinetic energy of their music, "American Idiot" and "Fela!;" an all-new production of the iconic Broadway musical "Funny Girl"; a new musical comedy of high-flying good cheer, "Bring It On: The Musical"; and a hugely imaginative and moving drama, "War Horse.""There is an immense amount of talent behind the productions we are presenting at the Ahmanson next year," said Michael Ritchie, CTG Artistic Director. "With fresh, bold choices these directors, playwrights, composers, lyricists, choreographers and designers are refining and redefining theatre, and are making the Ahmanson's new season the strong season that it is."We have Green Day and Billie Joe Armstrong's brash rock opera that gives voice to a generation, directed by Michael Mayer; the compelling rhythms of Afrobeat and Fela Kuti's songs of resistance, staged by Bill T. Jones; the hip hop and rock of the competitive world of cheerleading, created by Jeff Whitty, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt and Amanda Green, directed by Andy Blankenbuehler; and the magic touch of Bartlett Sher with a rare revival of the beloved story of Fanny Brice, the unlikely Ziegfeld girl." "Add to all this," said Ritchie, "the wartime coming of age drama brought to us by the National Theatre of Great Britain - the story of a boy and his horse, which is magnificently portrayed through the art of puppetry. There won't be a dry eye in the house."
Center Theatre Group begins its 2011-2012 season at the Ahmanson Theatre on a high-octane energy note with the West Coast premiere of "Bring It On: The Musical," an original musical comedy presented October 30 through December 10, 2011. (Opening is set for November 11.)
"Bring It On: The Musical" features libretto by Tony Award®-winner Jeff Whitty ("Avenue Q"), music and lyrics by Tony Award®-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda ("In the Heights"), music by Pulitzer and Tony Award®-winning composer Tom Kitt ("next to normal"), lyrics by Broadway lyricist Amanda Green ("High Fidelity") and musical supervision by Alex Lacamoire. The production is directed and choreographed by Tony Award® -winner Andy Blankenbuehler ("In the Heights").
In "Bring It On: The Musical," the high-stakes world of competitive cheerleading is intertwined with cutthroat high school politics to tell the story of Campbell, the heir apparent to the head cheerleader at Truman High School. Campbell is at the top of the cheerleader pyramid and she has it all -- a strong squad, a doting boyfriend and a straight path to the national championships. Her entire life has been dedicated to honing routines and staying within the strict rules and guidelines, but when a surprise letter arrives, Campbell's world is thrown upside down.
When the musical comedy premiered in its developmental production at the ALLIANCE THEATRE in Atlanta in January 2011, Wendell Brock of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called "Bring It On: The Musical," ". . . one high-energy drink: fiercely funny writing, catchy hip-hop tunes and an explosively original mix of singing, acting, dancing and cheer."
The engagement of "Bring It On: The Musical" at the Ahmanson will launch the musical's national tour."Funny Girl"
January 15 - February 26, 2012
Say "hello gorgeous" to a new "Funny Girl" as the legendary romantic musical comedy is presented in an all-new production at the Ahmanson Theatre, January 15 through February 26, 2012, with the opening set for February 1."Funny Girl," with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart, will be directed by Tony Award®-winner Bartlett Sher, who has reassembled the acclaimed creative team behind his ravishing production of "South Pacific" (presented at the Ahmanson last summer).
From the streets of New York's Lower East Side to the bright lights of Broadway, "Funny Girl" is the rags-to-riches, road-to-stardom story of legendary entertainer Fanny Brice. A love story packed with unforgettable songs ("Don't Rain on My Parade," "I'm the Greatest Star," "I Am Woman, You Are Man" and the international hit "People"), irresistible backstage drama and a heartbreaking romance, this classic musical takes theatregoers back to the Golden Age of Ziegfeld and the height of burlesque. Part show-biz spectacular, part timeless love story, "Funny Girl" is pure Broadway legend. "Funny Girl" originally opened on Broadway in 1964 and was the hottest ticket in town, winning eight Tony Award® nominations, and playing over 1300 performances through 1967. "American Idiot"
March 13- April 22, 2012
The explosive Broadway hit "American Idiot," will be presented March 13 through
April 22, 2012, at the Ahmanson Theatre, with the opening set for March 14.
"American Idiot," called "thrillingly raucous" and "emotionally charged" by Charles Isherwood of The New York Times, features the music of Green Day and the lyrics of its lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong ("American Idiot" recently won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album). The book is by Armstrong and Michael Mayer, and direction is by Tony Award®-winner Mayer ("Spring Awakening").
"American Idiot" premiered at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in September 2009 and played through November of that year. In April 2010, the musical opened on Broadway where it continues today. "Fela!"
April 25 - June 3, 2012
The exuberant and rebellious music of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti will fill the Ahmanson Theatre as Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith present the 2010 Best Musical Tony Award®-nominated "Fela!" for the first time to Los Angeles audiences, April 25 through June 3, 2012, with the opening scheduled for April 27."There should be dancing in the streets," said Ben Brantley of The New York Times of the kinetic energy pulsing from the music and dancing of "Fela!" when it opened on Broadway in November 2009."Fela!," which is based on the life of the charismatic Kuti and is highlighted by many of Kuti's most captivating songs, has a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones, and features the visionary staging and direction of two-time Tony Award-winner Jones ("Fela!" and "Spring Awakening"), who was recently a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.A triumphant tale of courage, passion and love, "Fela!" is the true story of Kuti, who created a new type of music, Afrobeat, and mixed these pounding eclectic rhythms (a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies) with incendiary lyrics that openly attacked the corrupt and oppressive military dictatorships that rule Nigeria and much of Africa. His songs were an inspiration to millions. "Fela!" received a total of 11 Tony Award nominations in 2010. "War Horse"
June 13 - July 22, 2012The National Theatre of Great Britain production of "War Horse" is the most anticipated drama to cross the Atlantic this season. Based on the much-loved novel by Michael Morpurgo, this magnificent piece of theatre will be the closing production of the Ahmanson's new season, in its West Coast premiere from June 13 through July 22, 2012. Opening is scheduled for
June 20."War Horse" premiered at the National Theatre in London in November 2007. It moved to London's West End in March 2009 and continues to play there. "War Horse" was adapted by Nick Stafford, directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, and presented in association with Handspring Puppet Company.Described as "...so exhilarating that it makes you rejoice to be alive... Its sheer skill and invention are simply awe-inspiring" by The Times of London, "War Horse" is a powerful and imaginative drama set at the outbreak of World War I in the English countryside and also the fields of battle in France and Germany. "War Horse" tells the story of young Albert's beloved horse, Joey, which has been sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. In a tale that the Sunday Express said is "...both epic and intimate," and "absolutely guaranteed to move the heart," Joey is caught in enemy crossfire and ends up serving both sides of the war before landing in no man's land. Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. What follows is a remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship."War Horse" is filled with stirring music and songs, and at the heart of the show are life-sized puppets which bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to life on stage. "The puppetry is nothing short of miraculous," according to The Times of London.
Tickets for the Ahmanson Theatre's 45th season are available in late March 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 on-line, visit CenterTheatreGroup.org. 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.