How The Smith Center Chose Its 2019-2020 Broadway Shows

New Broadway Season Includes Top Tony Award Winners and Contenders

 

The Smith Center spared no energy in choosing the productions for its 2019-2020 Broadway season.

Scrutinizing the year’s hit shows to thrill a broad range of audiences, the center's executives personally took in a wide array of Broadway productions to “cherry pick the best,” says Paul Beard, vice president and COO.

The result is an acclaimed season of 10 uplifting Broadway productions that will take Southern Nevada audiences on a full tour of the past year's top Tony winners and contenders.

“Our 2019-2020 season is an absolutely accurate and faithful rendition of all of the significant Broadway shows that played in this past season,” Beard says. “Usually we want all of the shows in contention for the Tonys, and we got them all.”

Offering Broadway blockbusters, a charming holiday show and hot new hits fresh from the Broadway stage, this season offers a diversity of productions ideal for sharing with others, whether for family nights, girls’ nights or date nights.

Read below about why The Smith Center team selected each show of this thrilling season.

“The Book of Mormon”

Overview: Returning to The Smith Center for its third run, this outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. Now with standing room only productions in London, on Broadway, and across North America, THE BOOK OF MORMON has truly become an international sensation.

Highlights: Winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Paul’s Take: “It’s the kind of production you can see again and again!”

“Anastasia”

Overview: Adapted from the beloved animated film, this sparkling musical offers a charming take on the classic storyline of the famous lost Russian princess discovering her true past.

Highlights: This musical features a score by Tony Award winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and an all-new book by Tony winner Terrence McNally.

Paul’s Take: “This is the kind of show our audiences love. It’s a well-told story with very high production value, with beautiful costumes and clever set design. Plus, this show is still playing on Broadway, making this an all-new production for our audiences to experience for the first time.”

“Wicked”

Overview: Making its highly anticipated return to The Smith Center, this spectacular Broadway favorite brings to life Gregory Maguire’s clever and powerful novel that gave a fresh twist to the characters of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Highlights: A global success, Wicked has been seen by over 55 million people in over 100 cities in 16 countries around the world.

Paul’s Take: “This is such a beloved show. It’s also a very important show for The Smith Center, because it’s the title that established The Smith Center as the predominant Broadway venue in Las Vegas. Our first presentation of the show ran in fall of 2012, the first fall we were open. People were looking to buy ‘Wicked’ tickets at The Smith Center while it was still under construction.

It was the first show that really put us on the map.”

“Jesus Christ Superstar”

Overview: The Broadway blockbuster everyone is talking about after NBC’s recent live rendition with John Legend and Sara Bareilles, this contemporary rock opera about the last week of Jesus’ life remains fresh, relevant and daring.

Highlights: This hit musical offers an infectious, high-energy score by Broadway titans Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Paul’s Take: “This show has really broad appeal, and of course the television event had spectacular success. This particular production is coming from a very popular run in London — it’s a very contemporary production that’s rather similar to the NBC event. Now it’s touring the U.S. out of high demand.”

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

Overview: This heartwarming tale by Dr. Seuss has seen many film iterations, and now its curmudgeonly green villain takes the stage to steal Whoville’s holiday cheer.

Highlights: This all-new musical production will only be presented for an exclusive, limited holiday tour of several weeks — making The Smith Center one of just a handful of venues nationwide to secure performances.

Paul’s Take: “It’s very exciting that we’re among the few theaters to get this show, and at a perfect time during the week of Thanksgiving. It’s a fresh title that has never been seen here before, and it’s just the kind of production that our audiences here enjoy — a treat for the whole family that will get audiences of all ages into the holiday spirit.”

“Escape to Margaritaville: The Musical”

Overview: Theater lovers and Jimmy Buffett fans alike will lift their frozen cocktails to this fun show of pure escapism, about a bartender-singer who falls for a career-minded tourist.

Highlights: Everyone’s invited to the party in this musical that serves up a full score of Jimmy Buffett tunes, including beloved staples like “Come Monday” and “Margaritaville,” plus all-new originals.

Paul’s Take: “Las Vegas has a long history with Jimmy Buffett performing here, and we knew this show would be a great fit for his broad fan base. But just like ‘Mamma Mia’ and its score of ABBA music, you can still have great fun at this show even if you’re not fully familiar with Buffett’s music.”

“The SpongeBob Musical”

Overview: Appealing to diehard SpongeBob fans and newcomers alike, this inventive and surprising musical takes the characters and humor of the hit animated show and transcends them to a thrilling theater experience for all ages, offering fully interactive set pieces and an electrifying score.

Highlights: This energizing musical boasts original songs by pop legends like Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, David Bowie, Panic at the Disco and more.

Paul’s Take: “This show really exceeded people’s expectations and got a lot of respect from the Broadway community, including critical acclaim from New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley. I thought there were a lot of really clever, unexpected ideas in the production —the costumes, the playful set, the sound designer creating the characters’ noises live, all of those things were really first rate.

If you have zero familiarity with the animated show, don’t worry. This is a stand-alone production that holds its own as a Broadway title, and it offers a strong message of tolerance and inclusion.

And for younger generations who have grown up with the show, this is the perfect occasion to introduce them to live theater.”

“Once on This Island”

Overview: With a vibrant score, exuberant musical numbers and a diverse cast, this powerful musical set in the Caribbean portrays a fearless peasant girl in search of her place in the world, ready to risk it all for love.

Highlights: Hailed by The New York Times as “ravishing,” this visually immersive show earned a Tony Award for Best Revival.

Paul’s Take: “This is a very fun show with really high production value. The set design pulls audiences into the show and makes them feel like they’re a part of it. It’s another show that exceeded expectations — the creative team saw something in this show that hadn’t been discovered before.”

“Mean Girls”

Overview: Based on the hit feature film starring Lindsay Lohan, this wickedly funny musical follows high school student Cady Heron in her plot to bring down Queen Bee Regina George’s reign. From the director of “Something Rotten!” this fun and energetic show serves as an anthem to friendship and being true to yourself.

Highlights: Nominated for 12 Tony Awards, this sharply witty show was penned by “Saturday Night Live” alumnus and “30 Rock” creator/star Tina Fey, who also wrote the film.

Paul’s Take: “This show’s director took the ‘Mean Girls’ story and turned it into a really great production. It’s funny, it’s clever. And you don’t need to see the movie first, because the show is complete in its own right. It’s another show I think all audiences will love, because it’s great fun and gives an uplifting message.”

“The Band’s Visit”

Overview: Hailed as Broadway’s most dazzling gem of 2018, this life-affirming production and its stirring score tell the inspiring story of an Egyptian band that accidentally travels to an Israeli village, where the musicians bring the town to life, celebrating how music ultimately brings us together.

Highlights: One of the most Tony-winning musicals in history, this production secured an astonishing 10 Tonys in 2018 – including Best Musical.

Paul’s Take: “This show really got a lot of respect and acclaim, and it deserves all of it. The producer took a risk with this show, because he really believed in its theme, that if you bring people together who are on ostensibly opposite sides of the political spectrum, they’ll find their common humanity.

This production is subtle, nuanced and smart, and really has a lot of depth.”

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Current subscribers to The Smith Center’s Broadway Las Vegas® Series are now able to renew their season tickets, with new subscriptions to go on sale later this spring.

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