The critically acclaimed "Waitress" will be part of Overture's upcoming season. The show is still open on Broadway.
Tim Sauers has one of the best jobs in the world. As the vice president of programming and community engagement at Overture Center, it’s his task to fill the calendar — and the facility’s multiple stages — with arts and entertainment events designed to appeal to the widest possible audience.
“I’m like a kid in a candy store” Sauers said at the March 31 event announcing Overture’s upcoming slate of shows.
Extra job perk: At press conferences he gets to trade barbs with the Grinch, who was on hand in all his grumpy, green furry glory to help unveil the season which will, in fact, include the Madison debut of Doctor Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical in November.
Working with agents up to three years in advance of an Overture performance, Sauers’ task must, at times, be a scheduling nightmare. But for 2017-18, the dates all lined up for the organization to present more than 100 performances, to attract a projected 700,000+ people. Repeating the message that “there will be something for everyone,” Overture President and CEO Ted DeDee also touted the increasing popularity of the Broadway Series, which had an astonishing 6,000 subscribers last season. Other events on the calendar range from free family programming to evenings of jazz and cabaret, to silent movies in the Duck Soup Cinema Series.
In anticipation of the big reveal, 1,600 people attended a season kick-off party at Overture March 31, which featured performances from the Tommy Ensemble (an elite group of high school musical performers), Overture’s Rising Stars winners and cast members from upcoming shows, presented in partnership with Broadway Across America. Season subscriptions and renewals also went on sale, but single ticket buyers will have to wait until July 15 to choose their seats.
So, what does Overture Center have in store for the coming year?
Recent Broadway Hits. The musical farce A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder; the enchanting stage adaptation of An American in Paris, the raucous Gloria Estefan musical On Your Feet! and the much lauded, pie-centric tale Waitress are all on the schedule. The fact that Madison audiences will be able to see these acclaimed musicals, two of which are currently playing on Broadway, feels like a coup.
Broadway Classics. The epic musical of the French Revolution, Les Miserables, and RENT, the rock opera about impoverished artists fighting developers, AIDS and writer’s block, were both groundbreaking when they debuted, decades ago. Now a whole new generation of theater-goers will be introduced to the songs their parents love singing in the shower.
Celebrities. Author and humorist David Sedaris returns for an evening of quirky observations and his trademark sardonic wit. And Broadway darling Bernadette Peters will perform a collection of her favorite songs, which should be thrilling, especially for Sondheim fans.
Shall We Dance? Unique modern dance company MOMIX and the more classical Dance Theatre of Harlem will both combine athletics with aesthetics in compelling concerts.
Something Completely Different. PostSecret: The Show combines projections, videos, actors and a guitarist for an evening celebrating the artful messages, furtive longings, weird thoughts, and deepest fears that people have sent Frank Warren, in the form of confessional postcards. As a weekly viewer of the website and fan of the books I’m very excited to see this show.
Something Completely Different, Part II. Circus 1903 is coming to town, celebrating the golden age of that curious art form under the big top, at a time when most actual circuses have ceased operation. Contortionists, acrobats, strongmen and high-wire acts will share the stage with enormous elephant . . . puppets, created by the artists who constructed the unforgettable steeds in Warhorse. A fresh take on a classic spectacle, it should be a captivating experience, even if there’s no popcorn or peanuts.
For more information visit overture.org.