WAC unveils season: ‘Company,’ ‘Six,’ Tina Turner, ‘Jagged Little Pill’ and more

WAC unveils season: ‘Company,’ ‘Six,’ Tina Turner, ‘Jagged Little Pill’ and more

“I believe that Northwest Arkansas is the Arkansas hub for theater,” says Jennifer Ross, vice president of programming at the Walton Arts Center. With an upcoming season of five Arkansas premieres and so many Tony Award winning-musicals, it’s easy to see why she feels that way.

“The tours love coming to Northwest Arkansas; they love coming to Fayetteville. We have an enthusiastic audience, and they know when they come here, that they’re going to feel the love from our audience as well as from the community itself,” Ross adds. “When actors are on Dickson Street, or they go to the local coffee shops, or they stay at the local B&Bs or the hotels, they know that they’re going to be taken care of.”

The Walton Arts Center revealed the six shows for the 2023-24 Broadway season during a fun-filled evening March 13 featuring performances by Kayla and Jordan Grizzard accompanied by Matt Nelson, DeAnne Stewart and Emily Bautista between shown announcements.

“These are also some of the biggest shows that have been on Broadway in the last couple of years,” says Curt Owens, director of programming at the Walton Arts Center. And those six shows start with “Six,” a hit-comedy musical about the wives of Henry VIII reimagined as pop stars.

“‘Six’ is a huge hit, and we’re getting it within the first year of its touring life, which is huge. [‘Six’] is selling out in New York and all over the country,” says Owens. He adds that the season has “something for everyone,” including families, with “Aladdin,” one of the biggest shows that will come to town next year.

“[‘Aladdin’] is coming in nine trucks. And yes, the carpet does fly!” enthuses Owens. Other musicals on the way are “Tina: The Tina Turner Story,” “Company,” and “Jagged Little Pill.”

“Ironically” they were trying to get the play in Fayetteville before Alanis Morissette’s 2021 concert in Rogers.

“We knew that it was going to be on this season,” says Ross. “When we booked the AMP show, we were super-excited looking into our crystal ball for the future.”

Likewise “Tina: The Tina Turner Story” features award-winning songs in a “jukebox musical” that snagged 12 Tony nominations. It’s the story of Tina Turner’s journey from the back roads of the South to becoming the queen of rock ‘n’ roll.

A hallmark of the 2022-23 season is the strong female characters being portrayed on the stage, which has carried over again into the 2023-24 season.

“I believe it’s a reflection and what we’re seeing on Broadway. Broadway is not shying away from hard stories,” Ross emphasizes. “It’s also not shying away from stories like Tina Turner’s who started with nothing and she rose through her troubled path to become a giant superstar. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a hard, hard story, but we see in Scout a child who has the fortitude and compunction to hopefully make the world better as she becomes an adult.”

“I think Broadway producers and the Broadway community as a whole are really working to become more inclusive, to tell all sorts of stories, to think outside the box a little more,” add Owens. “I think you certainly see that in ‘Company,’ which is a 50-year-old show that they’ve completely flipped the gender of the main character, and it’s almost a completely different show.”

The season goes out on a serious note with “To Kill A Mockingbird,” based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee.

“Ever since we saw the Aaron Sorkin-written production on Broadway, we knew that we wanted to bring it to Northwest Arkansas. It’s necessary watching in my view,” Ross says. “We knew that we wanted to bring it because of the story that it tells and the way it tells the story. It’s compelling. It’s beautiful. It’s heartbreaking. It’s still so relevant to what we’re all dealing with today.”

Also on stage will be “The Cher Show,” Nov. 19-12, “Les Miserables,” Jan. 2-7, 2024, and “Hairspray” May 3-5, 2024. The last show of this year’s Broadway season will be “Hadestown,” coming to the stage May 23-28.

As Owens humorously noted several times during the March 13 sneak peek, Alanis Morissette, Tina Turner and Cher will not be appearing in any of the upcoming shows. Learn more at waltonartscenter.org.



WAC 2023-24

Broadway Series

“Six” — Sept. 12-17. From Tudor queens to pop icons, the six wives of Henry VIII take the microphone to remix 500 years of historical heartbreak.

“Tina: The Tina Turner Story” — Dec. 12-17. The uplifting story of Tina Turner’s comeback written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Katori Hall and directed by the internationally acclaimed Phyllida Lloyd.

“Jagged Little Pill” — Jan. 23-28, 2024. Diablo Cody penned this story of “an imperfectly perfect” American family set to music of Alanis Morissette’s award-winning album.

“Company” — Feb. 20-25, 2024. Winner of five Tony Awards, including best revival of a musical, this is an updated version of the Stephen Sondheim and George Furth musical comedy.

“Aladdin” — March 26-31, 2024. From the producer of “The Lion King” comes the timeless story of Aladdin, flying carpet and all.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” — April 16-21, 2024. Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork comes to the stage as the only nonmusical of the Broadway series.

Also coming to the Baum Walker stage are “The Cher Show” (Nov. 19-21), “Les Miserables” (Jan. 2-7, 2024) and “Hairspray” (May 3-5, 2024).

Six-show Broadway subscription packages range from $336 to $478 for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and Thursday matinees, and $381 to $533 for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Saturday and Sunday matinees. Package prices vary depending on seat location and include all fees. Dates, programs and prices are subject to change. Learn more at waltonartscenter.org.

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