BY MELISSA RUGGIERI
Atlanta theatergoers will be able to globe-trot from fictional Berlin to Paris to Ireland to a few other glamorous countries during the 2016-2017 Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta season.
The 11 shows cementing the lineup at the Fox Theatre include the debuts of “The Illusionists — Live From Broadway,” “Matilda the Musical,” “Roundabout Theatre Company’s Cabaret,” “An American in Paris,” “A Christmas Story, The Musical,” “The Bodyguard” and “Finding Neverland.”
Returning shows (and season options for season ticketholders) spotlight a new production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” as well as “Riverdance,” “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” and the final tour of the ABBA-centric “Mamma Mia.”
Among the new shows, “The Bodyguard,” which is based on the Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner movie from 1992, already has its leading lady in place — R&B singer Deborah Cox, who will portray pop star Rachel Marron. The musical will feature, along with “Bodyguard” staples “I Will Always Love You” and “I Have Nothing,” several other Houston songs, such as “How Will I Know” and “So Emotional.”
Ticket packages for the 2016-17 season will go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday with prices starting at $224 for the seven new shows (prices vary on show time/day and seating location). New subscriptions can be ordered at www.BroadwayInAtlanta.com and by calling 1-800-278-4447. Current subscribers have until Feb. 11 to guarantee their same seats. Tickets to individual shows typically go on sale to the general public eight to 12 weeks prior to opening night.
Here is a glance at the new season:
“The Illusionists – Live From Broadway” (Sept. 27-Oct. 2, 2016): Magic tricks, stunts and “acts of breathtaking wonder” will be provided by seven renowned illusionists.
“Cabaret” (Nov. 1-6, 2016): Acclaimed directors Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall are behind this Tony-winning production of the Kander and Ebb classic, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary season.
“A Christmas Story, The Musical” (Nov. 29-Dec. 4, 2016): Based on the classic 1983 movie, the musical was nominated for three Tony Awards in 2013.
“Disney’s The Little Mermaid” (Jan. 12-15, 2017): Sebastian the crab, Ursula the evil sea witch, Triton, King of the Sea, and the titular character herself, Ariel, are back to entertain under the sea.
“The Phantom of the Opera” (Feb. 22-March 5, 2017): A new production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic features a cast and orchestra of 52, new scenic design, original costume design by Tony winner Maria Bjornson, new choreography and new staging. Oh yes, and there is a chandelier.
“The Bodyguard” (March 28-April 2, 2017): The show premiered in London in late 2012 and was nominated for four Laurence Olivier Awards.
“Matilda the Musical” (April 18-23, 2017): Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, the quadruple Tony winner about an extraordinary girl with a vivid imagination and fierce personality remains a smash on Broadway.
“Riverdance” (May 5-7, 2017): For its 20th anniversary tour, the Irish dancing phenomenon will boast a cast and crew of up to 55 members hailing from the U.S., Spain, Australia, Canada, and, naturally, Ireland.
“Finding Neverland” (May 16-21, 2017): The new Broadway hit tells the story behind the creation of Peter Pan from the mind of playwright J.M. Barrie.
“Mamma Mia” (June 13-18, 2017): The eighth longest-running show in Broadway history is dusting off the sequins and spandex for one more roll through “Dancing Queen.”
“An American in Paris” (Aug. 15-20, 2017): With songs from George and Ira Gershwin and a story about an American soldier and a mysterious French girl, it really isn’t surprising that the musical scored a quartet of Tony Awards last year.