The Inside Scoop on The Smith Center’s 2020-21 Broadway Shows

Smith Center COO Paul Beard gets very excited when he discusses The Smith Center’s 2020-21 Broadway Las Vegas® Series.

“We’re really getting the cream of the crop from Broadway,” Beard says.

Many will agree, as the season’s nine productions total 31 Tony Awards. These include new productions on their very first national tours — making Smith Center audiences among the first to see them off the Broadway stage.

Below, Beard shares just why the center’s executive team chose each of these acclaimed productions.

My Fair Lady

Plot: Based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, a phonetics professor transforms a working-class girl into someone who can pass for a cultured member of high society.

Paul’s Take: This is a beloved show, and audiences will be totally fulfilled by it because it delivers exactly what they want it to. It’s been reconceived with a large and detailed set, fantastic costumes and top performers who do justice to the iconic songs.

Hamilton

Plot: The dramatic true story of founding father Alexander Hamilton.

Paul’s Take: Our team agreed we’d seize the first opportunity to bring this production back to our stage. We couldn’t come close to meeting demand when we presented it in 2018, and we’re thrilled to give more Southern Nevadans the chance to experience it.

Those who see it again will only discover more to enjoy. This is one of the few shows I love watching again and again, because everything — the book, the music, the set design, the choreography — is at the genius level.

A Christmas Story

Plot: Based on the beloved 1983 film, the delightful holiday exploits of 9-year-old Ralphie in 1940s Indiana.

Paul’s Take: We find our audiences really enjoy a festive show to kick off the holiday season, and this will surpass their expectations. The music comes from Pasek and Paul, the songwriting team behind The Greatest Showman and Dear Evan Hansen. The story is also faithful to the movie, which remains a holiday classic across generations.

Ain’t Too Proud

Plot: The journey of The Temptations from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Paul’s Take: This showcases 31 hits from one of pop music’s greatest bands, including My Girl , Get Ready and Stay. Of course the choreography is amazing, honoring the Motown legacy. The band’s story is also emotional and powerful, full of personal drama on top of significant social and political movements. It’s a true crowd pleaser.

Hadestown

Plot: Winner of Best Musical, a contemporary retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus, who travels to the underworld to free his wife.

Paul’s Take: This was hands down the best musical of the year. What started as a concept album evolved into an intense, theatrical experience. It has a rich score blending folk, jazz, blues and Americana, which comes alive through lush set design and joyful choreography. It’s both emotionally satisfying and intellectually satisfying, in the strongest way on both fronts.

The Cher Show

Plot: The sensational life, career and hit songs of Cher, spanning six decades, two rock-star husbands, a Grammy, an Oscar and an Emmy.

Paul’s Take: Of all the artist-inspired musicals today, this is my favorite. It has true authenticity. Cher was highly involved with its creation, and it earned a Tony nomination for the glamorous costumes by fashion designer Bob Mackie, who created Cher’s real-life wardrobe.

This offers 35 of Cher’s hit songs, and with Cher headlining in Vegas, Southern Nevada audiences have a special connection to this production.

Tootsie

Plot: Adapted from the hilarious 1982 film, a talented and perfectionist actor poses as a woman to land a coveted role.

Paul’s Take: This musical is really, really funny — even funnier than the movie. The book is very clever, and the songs are full of energy that brings the show to life. It also gives a delightful homage to theater, as the main character lands a role with a Broadway production, instead of the soap opera series from the film. Nobody has to worry about being entertained while watching this production.

Frozen

Plot: Based on the 2013 blockbuster movie, two sisters are pulled apart by a mysterious secret and embark on adventures to bring their family together.

Paul’s Take: This is a big, lavish spectacle of a show that provides a great chance to introduce younger generations to theater. It will please fans of the movie, and offers a fresh take with new songs. It also delivers a grand experience for all audiences, with its groundbreaking set design.

Just to give an idea, it takes nearly a week to load in and install all of the “Frozen” set pieces, while most Broadway productions take just 12 to 18 hours.

To Kill A Mockingbird

Plot: From West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, an adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel about a widowed lawyer standing up to racism in 1930s Alabama.

Paul’s Take: There’s good reason this production broke the record for the highest-grossing play in Broadway history. This is a complex and layered reimagining of the novel, with added perspectives written through a modern lens.

It’s all woven together brilliantly by Aaron Sorkin, who also wrote hit films like Moneyball and The Social Network. Plus, the national tour stars beloved actor Richard Thomas, from timeless television series The Waltons.

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