In announcing its 2011-12 season Wednesday evening, Overture Center for the Arts inspires an abundance of first impressions and second thoughts. Among them:
Billy Elliot the Musical launches this year's Broadway at Overture Series with the touring equivalent of a grand jete. The Tony-dominating adaptation of the 2000 film (about a scrappy Irish lad who forsakes the boxing ring in favor of the dance studio) sets a mighty high barre for the remaining titles in the series, in terms of unbridled exhilaration. The Addams Family's run in early May punctuates the series, which also includes Blue Man Group and Beauty & the Beast.
There is a proliferation of series naming rights. From the Bell Laboratories Celebrity Series and the SVA Music Celebrations Series to the Supranet Communication Dance Series and the TOMCAT Products Outside the Box Series, the broadening scope of Overture series naming rights suggests a scarcity of stadia and bowl games for which naming rights remain unsold -- and provide an obvious target for David Sedaris during his Oct. 28 appearance here as part of this season's ProVideo Comedy & Theater Series.
Mind you, the Supranet Communication Dance Series presents an enticing mix of intrigue and familiarity. It begins Oct. 25 with Slovenia's Ballet Maribor performing Radio and Juliet, which choreographs the tragedy of star-crossed lovers to a score by Radiohead. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Alvin Ailey Dance Theater bring the series home with respective performances in February and March.
Intrigue overwhelms familiarity with this year's Outside the Box Series. Leading off on Nov. 3, The Intergalactic Nemesis fuses voice actors and more than 350 comic-book slides to generate a live-action graphic novel. Public-radio fixture Ira Glass, Steven Brinberg's Streisand tribute Simply Barbra and the light show Luma round out the series, which boasts one of the lowest average ticket prices of all the season's series (best seats for Glass top out at $45.50 for single tickets, Nemesis at $25 and Simply Barbra and Luma at $20).
Indeed, holding the line on ticket prices appears to be one of this season's objectives. While prices for Billy Elliot start at $40 but soar like Baryshnikov into the low three figures, non-Broadway subscriptions start as low as $45 and the most expensive seats in the American Girls Fund for Children Family Series run $20.
The Bell Laboratories Celebrity Series features Idina Menzel (a Tony winner for the Broadway production of Wicked) performing pop and Broadway hits, jazz visionary Herbie Hancock and renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman. Each of these artists is not like the others.
Subscriptions are now available for any series package or for a series of one's own making comprised of any four or more non-Broadway shows. Single tickets for Billy Elliot go on sale July 23, and for other shows on Aug. 20.
Here is Overture's 2011-12 season in full:
21-Oct. 2 Billy Elliot the Musical
11 Ambrose Akinmusire: The Miles Davis Experience
16 John Tartaglia: ImaginOcean
25 Radio & Juliet
26 Straight No Chaser
28 David Sedaris
3 The Intergalactic Nemesis
10 Spider Saloff: The Memory of All That
15 Idina Menzel
20 The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller
6-11 Beauty and the Beast
21 Magic School Bus LIVE: The Climate Challenge
24-29 Blue Man Group
28 John McGivern: The Wonderbread Years
3 Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
9 Jim Van Slyke: The Sedaka Show
12 Peking Acrobats
14 Jim Brickman: An Evening of Romance
18 A Bear, A Caterpillar and the Moon: Treasured Stories of Eric Carle
18 Ira Glass
21 Ballet Folklorico de Antiquia, Colombia
24-26 Fiddler on the Roof
29 Celtic Nights
2 Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles
10 Twinkle Twonkle
15 Herbie Hancock
24 Second City: Laugh Out Loud Tour
27 Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
30 Steven Brinberg: Simply Barbra
19 Itzhak Perlman
21 Frank Ferrante: An Evening With Groucho
1-6 The Addams Family
19 Whose Live Anyway?