Last year, circumstances forced MagicSpace Entertainment to book "Warhorse" in Boise, not Salt Lake City a big disappointment for company president John Ballard.
This year, for its 2013-14 season, the Broadway presenting company has redeemed itself, scheduling the multiple Tony Award-winning drama as its second major offering of 2014.
"It's an incredible piece of theater: unique, creative, imaginative and powerful," Ballard said by phone late last week from London, where he's scouting shows. "Bringing in a play is something we rarely do. Utah audiences generally like musicals, but this is theater at its best. It's going to knock Utah audiences out."
Adapted from a 1982 children's book by British author Michael Morpurgo, "Warhorse" tells the story of a young English boy's horse sent to the French and German battlefields of World War I. It premiered 2007 at London's Royal National Theatre, quickly becoming a stage sensation due to its remarkable, full-size puppet artistry. It then went to Broadway before Stephen Spielberg directed a film version released in 2011.
"Warhorse" is scheduled to play Salt Lake City's Capitol Theatre April 22-27, 2014.
The next, major offering in the Broadway presenter's season lineup is "Wicked," the smash musical that tells the backstory of Glinda the Good Witch and Elphaba before L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Lines formed days in advance of tickets going on sale for the musical's appearance last year in Salt Lake City, with every show sold out.
"We're of course always excited to have 'Wicked' back," Ballard said.
Two other big shows will make their Utah premieres. First is "Bring It On: The Musical," playing late February and early March, and based on the 2000 film about competitive sport between high-school cheerleading squads. It features music by Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning composer Tom Kitt.
"This was a show that really surprised me when I saw it almost two years ago in Los Angeles," Ballard said. "I thought right away it was perfect for Salt Lake City. It's not 'Les Misérables,' but it's tremendous fun, with lots of acrobatics."
Second is "Memphis," in May and early June. The musical tells the story of a struggling radio DJ looking for her big break in the underground dance clubs of Memphis during the 1950s. It won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical, featuring a score by David Bryan, a founding member of Bon Jovi. All three Utah premiere productions will play the stage at Capitol Theatre.
Season add-ons at Kingsbury Hall include: "Stomp," Oct. 4-6; Green Day's "American Idiot," Dec. 3-5; Blue Man Group, April 1-6; and Ira Glass, April 12.
"A Kurt Bestor Christmas," Dec. 19-21 and Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, Dec. 27-28 both at Abravanel Hall round out traditional Christmas programming.
MagicSpace Entertainment partners with Broadway Across America/Key Brand Entertainment to present this lineup on behalf of Zions Bank Broadway Across America Utah.
Broadway in Utah
Broadway Across America Utah has announced its 2013-14 season.
Feb. 25-March 2 • "Bring It On: The Musical"
April 22-27 • "Warhorse"
May 27-June 1 • "Memphis"
July 9-Aug. 24 • "Wicked"
Special events • Green Day's "American Idiot" Dec. 3-5, at Kingsbury Hall; "A Kurt Bestor Christmas," Dec. 19-21 at Abravanel Hall; "Mannheim Steamroller Christmas," Dec. 27-28 at Abravanel Hall; "Blue Man Group," April 1-6 at Abravanel Hall; and Ira Glass April 12, at Kingsbury Hall.
Where • Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City; Kingsbury Hall, 1395 Presidents Circle, Salt Lake City; Abravanel Hall, 123 West South Temple, Salt Lake City.
Tickets • Season ticket packages on sale May 13; individual tickets available at a later date. Packages start at $120.25 (plus service and handling fees).
Info • BroadwayInUtah.com.