It’s official! WAC offers biggest season of Broadway shows

It’s official! WAC offers biggest season of Broadway shows

“It’s showtime!”

Music, comedy and classic Broadway are at the center of the next season of shows at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville.

“This is our biggest season yet,” enthuses Jennifer Ross, WAC vice president of programming. “We kind of have a little bit of everything in the next season.”

This season includes 10 shows — every month between August and May — featuring movie-based favorites like “Beetlejuice,” and “Back to the Future,” alongside classics like “Funny Girl” and “Peter Pan” which have recently returned to Broadway.

Also coming are new shows like “Shucked” and “MJ,” which is still selling out on Broadway. Then there’s the triumphant return of “Hamilton” and “The Book of Mormon” for those who missed the shows before or just want to see them again.

It’s a “fun, bright, colorful season. [And] you can bring the family to almost every show and just enjoy it,” says Curt Owens, director of programming, although, Ross warns that “Beetlejuice” is essentially the film brought to life on stage with saltier language.

“It has all of the great moments that you remember, some of the funniest things and some of the greatest effects that I think I’ve seen,” she adds. “There is some crazy and inappropriate stuff that you would expect from a deranged demon.”

Young theatergoers will have a chance to travel to Never Never Land with the national tour of “Peter Pan,” featuring timeless songs like “I’m Flying,” “I Gotta Crow,” “Neverland” and more. The 70-year-old story about the boy who won’t grow up has been accorded new life by playwright Larissa FastHorse to give more voice to Wendy and Tiger Lily. And the tribe of the earlier version has been rewritten to represent members of forgotten civilizations in the adventurous tale.

“I just saw it a couple of days ago, and it really feels organic and modern and real and truthful,” Owens says.

Later in the season, some grinches may grumble about celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving, but everyone else can kick off their merry and bright with “Dr. Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“We’re really excited to present that. It’s never been at Walton Art Center before, and so we’re thrilled to have that holiday offering for families. It’s going to be super fun,” Ross says. The mid-November run will also have a sensory friendly performance to allow people of all abilities a chance to see live theater.

“It’s the first time that we have been offered that for a Broadway show,” Ross says, adding that only a handful of tours offer sensory friendly options, so WAC jumped at the chance.

She adds that football fans should be aware that they have accounted for a big game that weekend, so don’t worry.

For families with kids who are ages 10 and older, “Shucked,” is “screamingly funny,” says Ross. Featuring a book by Tony Award winner Robert Horn (“Tootsie,” “Designing Women”) and a score by the Grammy Award-winning songwriting team Brandy Clack and Shane McAnally, the story is about a town surrounded by corn fields. But when the corn starts to die away, the town’s people have to adapt.

Probably not for kids is “The Book of Mormon.” The musical, written by Trey Parker (“South Park”) returns to the Walton Arts Center, accommodating those who were eager to see the show when it was part of the 2020 season canceled due to the pandemic.

“When we started closing down the season, in March and April, we had already sold more than half of the tickets for the run that we had booked,” Ross says. “We know our audience wants to see it. They wanted to see it in 2020. Unfortunately, they have to wait till 2025.”

However, “Hamilton” fans get another “shot” at seeing the show this summer when it comes back to Fayetteville.

“It was just here two and a half years ago, but that’s probably the show that we get asked about the most,” Owens says.

“Hamilton” is one of four offerings in the Broadway Bonus shows, productions which are doing technical rehearsals and launching their tours from the Walton Arts Center.

“Hamilton” will have 12 shows before launching the tour from Fayetteville, while “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” will be here for just three shows but will feature the timeless hits.

Another music centered show will be the season closer, “MJ,” May 20-25, 2025. The jukebox musical doesn’t address the accusations about sexual misconduct that were made about the late singer, instead focusing on the days leading up to his Dangerous World Tour.

“It’s really about [Jackson and his team] getting ready for the tour. Then from the rehearsal studio, they sort of go back in time, so you get a chance to see the Jackson Five and you see a little bit of his family life and how he and his brothers related,” Ross says. “It doesn’t really go forward past 1992.”

“I really noticed this the second time that I saw it; it’s really more about the artistry and his creative mind and what made him into the entertainer that he was because you see how mercurial he is and how much of a perfectionist he is in these rehearsals,” Owens adds.

At the season announcement on March 4, it was revealed that a certain Broadway diva will perform at Walton Arts Center in December. While she won’t be floating on a bubble, Kristen Chenoweth will be on stage at the end of the year. Details are on the way.



Broadway At WAC

The Walton Arts Center’s 2024-25 Broadway season includes:

• “Peter Pan,” Sept. 24-29

• “Beetlejuice,” Oct. 22-27 (Arkansas premiere)

• “Shucked,” Dec. 17-22 (Arkansas premiere)

• “Funny Girl,” March 18-23, 2025 (Arkansas premiere)

• “Back to the Future: The Musical,” April 8-13, 2025

• “MJ,” May 20-25, 2025 (Arkansas premiere)

Bonus shows include:

• “Hamilton,” Aug. 16-25 (teching and relaunching the Angelica Tour) – 12 shows

• “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical,” Nov. 12-17 – 8 shows

• Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations,” Jan. 22-23, 2025 – 3 shows

• “The Book of Mormon,” Feb. 21-23, 2025 – 5 shows

Broadway subscriptions are on sale now. Six-show Broadway subscription packages range from $339 to $499 for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and Thursday matinees, and $394 to $554 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.

Subscribers and Friends of Broadway get special access. Single tickets to Broadway and other shows in the 2024-25 season will be available later this summer.

INFO — or 571-2785

Categories: Cover Story