Broadway's Back (but that's not all)
"Broadway, that's what fills up [Bass Concert Hall] the most." So says April Holmes, interim director of the UT Performing Arts Center, and that explains why, in the first seven months after its reopening, Bass will play host to seven – count 'em, seven – musicals from the Great White Way. About once a month from February through August, a touring theatrical musical will land in Austin for a week's stay at the concert hall. Most are of recent vintage, and five of the seven have never been seen here before.
Legally Blonde: The Musical (Feb. 3-8): Upbeat, poppy spin on the Reese Witherspoon film comedy that screens on cable every other day now. Laurel Bell Bundy, the highly praised Elle Woods on Broadway, will reprise the role in at least some of the Austin performances.
Monty Python's Spamalot (March 10-15): Monty Python and the Holy Grail translated to the stage with an aim toward poking Broadway musicals in the eye with a sharp stick. Johnathon Hadary leads the touring cast as King Arthur.
Avenue Q (April 15-19): Surprise Tony winner for Best Musical in 2004, an adult riff on Sesame Street, with puppet characters in a New York neighborhood singing about racism, homosexuality, money, Internet porn, and schadenfreude.
Rent (May 12-17): New national tour of Jonathan Larson's La Bohème update, with Broadway cast members Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp reprising the roles of Roger and Mark, respectively, from the stage and film versions.
Annie (June 5-7): Martin Charnin, who penned the lyrics to this perennial family fave about the Depression's pluckiest little orphan, directs this 30th-anniversary touring version.
Mamma Mia! (June 23-28): The movie has come and gone, but the stage version keeps on going and going, getting audiences bouncing happily to the hits of ABBA.
Wicked (Aug. 12-30): Gregory Maguire's book presented the Wicked Witch's side of The Wizard of Oz, and composer Stephen Schwartz made it a pop-musical sensation, seemingly irresistible to tween and teen girls.
Also on the schedule:
Jupiter String Quartet (Feb. 6): Up-and-coming chamber music ensemble.
Circus Oz (Feb. 13-14): Australia's take on Cirque, heavy on the acrobatics and comedy.
Book of Longing (Feb. 21): Philip Glass pays tribute to Leonard Cohen. Commissioned by the UT Performing Arts Center.
Bill Cosby (Feb. 28): The comedy legend.
Gordon Lightfoot (March 3): The longtime Canadian songwriter and balladeer.
Grupo Corpo (March 6): Brazilian modern dance troupe of startling physicality.
Onix Ensamble (March 11): Mexico City quintet playing new Latin American classical music.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (March 24-25): Golden anniversary tour with a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock.
Imani Winds (March 26): African-American musical ensemble playing chamber music.
Paul Taylor Dance Company (April 1): Exquisite modern dance. Program features "De Sueños Que Repiten (of Recurring Dreams)," commissioned by the UT Performing Arts Center.
Chick Corea & John McLaughlin Five Peace Band (April 2): Reunion of the jazz fusion stars.
Madeleine Peyroux (April 4): Tour in support of the vocalist's Half the Perfect World release.
Itzhak Perlman (April 5): One of the violin's premier virtuosos.
Morrissey (April 12): Tour in support of the musician's new Years of Refusal release.
Sonny Rollins (May 3): Master of the jazz saxophone and improvisation.
Goran Bregovic & His Wedding and Funeral Orchestra (June 17): A Serbian brass band, a 12-piece string ensemble, and a 15-man choir.