Arts & Culture

Classic tales coming to TBPAC

Musical theater fans have much to look forward to at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center next season. Highlights include the 2008 Tony Award-winning Musical “In the Heights,” the musical revival of “Little House on the Prairie” and “South Pacific.” The hit musical “Wicked” will also return to the center; also playing is the world premiere of “Wonderland: Alice’s New Musical Adventure.”

As always, there’s something for everyone’s theatrical tastes.

“This entertaining and rewarding series offers our devoted theater audiences here in the Tampa Bay area the opportunity to experience a vast array of top-notch theatrical productions,” said Judith Lisi, arts center president and chief-executive officer.

Here’s a glance at 2009-10:

n “In the Heights,” Oct. 27-Nov. 1. Winner of four 2008 Tony Awards including Best Musical. The new show is a story about following your dreams and finding a place in the world. It focuses on life in a vibrant Manhattan community and its three generations of music.

n “Wonderland” (World premiere), Nov. 24-Jan. 3. Present-day Manhattan and a timeless Wonderland are featured in this new spin on a classic tale. Author Alice Cornwinkle (a descendent of Lewis Carroll’s muse Alice Liddell), is struggling with her career and her daughter, Chloe. Wonderland becomes in danger of disappearing, and only Alice can save it. Audiences will journey with her through the Looking Glass from New York City to a magical place where she must rescue her daughter, defeat the Queen of Hearts and learn to follow her heart. The show is from the creators of “The Civil War” and “Jekyll & Hyde.”

n “South Pacific,” Jan. 12-17. Winner of seven Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and Best Director for Bartlett Sher. Set on a tropical island during World War II, the musical is a romantic tale of two couples dealing with the war and their own prejudices. Songs include “Some Enchanted Evening,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair,” “This Nearly Was Mine” and “There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame.”

n “Wicked,” Feb. 3-28. Back by popular demand. The musical is the story of the early years of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.

n “Godspell,” Feb. 12-May 6. This classic musical is based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew. “Godspell” boasts a string of recognizable songs, led by the international hit, “Day By Day.”

n “Little House on the Prairie,” March 2-7. A new musical based on the popular books and TV show takes on a new frontier on stage. Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura for 10 years in the TV series, stars as Ma. The show features the Ingalls’ struggles and triumphs through the celebration of pioneer spirit and values.

n “Cirque Dreams Illumination,” March 23-28. Imagine a bustling city of incredible dreamers set in a landscape of tall buildings and infinite possibilities. Objects and shapes transform into windows and stairways. Residents perform balance tricks, walk wires, leap tall buildings and redefine flight. Everyday activities are transformed into astounding feats performed by an international cast of acrobatic urbanites, flexible fanatics, world-class athletes, musicians and more. The action-packed Cirque Dreams is enhanced with more than 100 inventive costumes and is filled with special effects.

n “Mary Poppins,” May 21-June 6. Produced by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, the show includes such wonderful songs as “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and the famous “Supercali-fragilisticexpialidocious.”

The 2009–10 Bank of America Best of Broadway Tampa Bay series is presented by the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Season ticket packages are available now. Prices begin at $190.50 for the full eight-show Platinum season package. A five-show Silver season package is available starting at $85. TBPAC members are given first priority for new season tickets. Group tickets and individual show tickets will go on sale at later dates to be announced.

For more information, call (813) 229-STAR or visit