Sorkin’s ‘Mockingbird’ will wait. Ahmanson sets August reopening with ‘Oklahoma!’
With promising vaccines in the pipeline providing hope for a summer reopening, Center Theatre Group announced Tuesday a revised seven-show 2021-22 season to begin Aug. 24 with director Daniel Fish’s reimagined “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!” followed by previously announced “The Lehman Trilogy” and “Hadestown.”
Missing from the lineup: Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which had been scheduled to kick off the Ahmanson’s 54th season when the theater planned to reopen in April. Given the alarming surge of COVID-19 cases nationwide, the terrible prospects for spring performances and a complex tour schedule for a Broadway hit of historic proportions, Center Theatre Group said it could not secure new dates for “Mockingbird” in the coming season.
Other previously announced productions that no longer appear in the season are “Les Misérables,” “Come From Away” and “Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations.” Like “Mockingbird,” they are being rescheduled into future seasons, the theater said.
The other shows that are part of the 2021-22 season are “Dear Evan Hansen,” “The Prom,” “1776” and “A Christmas Carol.”
“Oklahoma!” was originally booked as part of the “Broadway in Hollywood” season staged at the Dolby Theatre and Hollywood Pantages Theatre by a CTG competitor, the Nederlander Organization. As part of the musical’s move to the Ahmanson, ticket holders for the Dolby production will receive tickets to the newly announced engagement. Fish’s production won the Tony Award for musical revival, and actress Ali Stroker, who played Ado Annie, made history by becoming the first actor in a wheelchair to win for featured actress in a musical. (Tour casting will be announced later.)
“Hadestown” won eight 2019 Tony Awards, including best musical. Times theater critic Charles McNulty called it “quite simply one of the most exquisite works of musical storytelling I’ve seen in my more than 25 years as a theater critic.” The Rachel Chavkin-directed production, with music, lyrics and book by Anaïs Mitchell, is a retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Sam Mendes directs “The Lehman Trilogy,” written by Italian playwright Stefano Massini and adapted in English by Ben Power. The play opened at London’s Royal National Theatre to largely positive reviews in 2018. CTG Artistic Director Michael Ritchie previously told The Times that the play was among “the most significant productions we’ve done at the Ahmanson.”
“Lehman” tells the story of the rise — and fall — of one of America’s most powerful financial institutions. A tale nearly two centuries in the making begins in a dry goods store in Alabama and ends with the fabled crash of a Wall Street titan.
Matthew Warchus directs the Jack Thorne-adapted production of the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol,” which earned five Tony nominations on Broadway in 2019 after a successful run at London’s Old Vic.
The musical “1776” is directed by Jeffrey L. Page and Tony winner Diane Paulus. The book is by Peter Stone with music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards. The story follows John Adams in his attempts to persuade the Continental Congress to vote for American independence.
Returning to the Ahmanson is “Dear Evan Hansen,” which had a record-breaking six-week engagement as part of the 2018-19 season. The 2017 Tony winner for best musical launched Ben Platt, who became a star with his touching portrayal of a confused teen besieged by the perilous realities of social media and suicide.
The musical comedy “The Prom” will be new to Los Angeles. With music by Matthew Sklar and a book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, the show follows Broadway actors on their journey to Indiana to help a lesbian student who has been banned from bringing her girlfriend to prom. A film adaptation of the musical drops on Netflix next month; although screen adaptations would seem to threaten ticket sales for stage productions, producers have argued that TV shows could potentially entice new fans to see musicals in person.
Here’s the Ahmanson schedule in chronological order.
“Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!”
music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, directed by Daniel Fish
Aug. 24-Oct. 3
“A Christmas Carol”
adapted by Jack Thorne, directed by Matthew Warchus
Nov. 30, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022
book by Peter Stone, based on a concept by Sherman Edwards, music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards, directed by Jeffrey L. Page and Diane Paulus
Jan. 11-Feb. 13, 2022
“The Lehman Trilogy”
written by Stefano Massini, adapted by Ben Power, directed by Sam Mendes
March 1-April 10, 2022
book, music and lyrics by Anaïs Mitchell, directed by Rachel Chavkin
April 26-May 29, 2022
“Dear Evan Hansen”
book by Steven Levenson, score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, directed by Michael Greif
June 28-July 31, 2022
book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw
Aug. 9-Sept. 11, 2022
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