Something “Wicked” this way comes next season to Overture Center for the Arts. Someone yellow is on his way too, direct from his pineapple under the sea. High-kicking it all off are tap-dancing evangelists in white shirts and black ties. Hello again, Mormons!
Long before the official announcement on Monday, Overture had announced that the hottest Broadway ticket for 2019-20 would be the national tour of “Hamilton.” Tickets for that show are available as part of subscriptions for its three-week, Nov. 19-Dec. 8 run.
Overture Center saw a 48 percent increase in subscription sales with the current season, a phenomenon known as “the ‘Hamilton’ effect.” The center anticipates another 42 percent increase in upcoming subscriptions, which are currently on sale (book by May 6 for the best availability), with some single-ticket sales to come.
There has also been a 55 percent increase in subscription prices. For 2018-19, a seven-show subscription for a seat on the sides of the balcony in Overture Hall cost $172. For 2019-20, those same seats start at $267.25. A six-show subscription, which includes “Hamilton,” starts at $222.
The founding father and his revolutionary bros will have friendly company, starting with the return of “Book of Mormon” on Sept. 17. That show sold more than 98 percent of capacity on both of its previous visits (2015 and 2017).
Following those perky, ruddy-cheeked doorbell-ringers, a non-Equity tour of “The Spongebob Musical” arrives Oct. 8-13. Spongebob’s score includes songs composed by David Bowie, Lady Antebellum, the Plain White T’s, T.I. and John Legend, among others.
“The musical score is so diverse, I never thought until I saw it that it would work,” said Tim Sauers, Overture’s vice president of programming and community engagement. Sauers said he saw “Spongebob” three times in New York. Each year, he works with Broadway Across America to slot musicals into Overture’s season.
Both “Book of Mormon” and “Wicked,” returning in March 2020, are add-ons to the subscription series. So is a short stop from the 25th anniversary tour of the Irish step-dancing showcase “Riverdance,” coming for a couple of days in late January 2020.
Tours that are included in the Broadway season subscription include “The Color Purple,” a 2015 Broadway revival based on the Alice Walker novel; “My Fair Lady,” featuring a fiery, empowered Eliza; and “Come From Away,” a powerful, surprisingly funny musical about 38 planes that were rerouted from New York City to Newfoundland on 9/11. That’s coming in August 2020.
“With ‘My Fair Lady,’ it’s interesting with these revivals that they’re doing — they have to look at the modern impact,” Sauers said. “It’s hard now to do a revival as it was. You have to have something you want to say in order to do a revival.”
The subscription series also includes a play. Plays rarely tour; the last was “War Horse” in 2014. Set to come through in May 2020, “The Play That Goes Wrong” is a slapstick British comedy that is precisely what it sounds like — a group of inept actors attempting to stage a drawing room mystery and flubbing it hilariously.
The Madison Symphony Orchestra, one of Overture’s 10 resident arts organizations, will partner with the center for a couple of live film score concerts shown along with the movie. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is coming on Jan. 31, 2020 and “Star Wars” flies in on May 30, 2020 (they’ll be showing and playing the 1977 film, “A New Hope”). A live performance of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” from a group called Classic Albums Live is slated for Nov. 15.
Sweet Honey in the Rock, an all-female African-American a cappella group, is touring again, stopping in Madison in February 2020. Also that month, Sauers booked The Naked Magicians and a Los Angeles-based dance troupe called DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion.
Puppets show up on the season both for adults, with a parody called “That Golden Girls Show” on Nov. 2-3, and a kids, with a puppet version of “The Little Mermaid.” Dino-Light, a glow-in-the-dark blend of puppetry and light play, and “Diary of a Wombat” fill out the offerings for young patrons. There will be a "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" musical coming in November as well.
Ongoing series, including the cabaret series, Duck Soup Cinema and National Geographic Live (now owned by the Walt Disney Company), are set to return in 2019-20. So is Black Violin, touring here for a third time, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, The Second City comedy troupe, "One Night of Queen" and Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Marsalis toured to Madison in 2017. Sauers was unsure whether to bring him back again so soon.
“I asked people in this focus group I put together, and one gentleman said, ‘He’s the best there is. You could have him every year.’ If they’re the best, it doesn’t matter how long you wait to bring them back.”