The 2020-2021 Playhouse Square Broadway series boasts a host of familiar faces, from ancient Greek gods to the Goddess of Pop herself. But even the most well-known stories hold the promise of inventive reinterpretations, unheard confessions and set design and costuming that could top the theater complex’s record for sequins and velvet. Here are the seven Broadway shows hitting Cleveland this season.
To Kill A Mockingbird — Nov. 3-22
Aaron Sorkin’s ecstatically acclaimed adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel kicks off the season, after having sold out every showing of its initial Broadway run. Atticus Finch will be played by Richard Thomas, the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor known for The Americans, The Waltons and It, as well as the quiet humanity he lent to previous Playhouse Square-touring plays The Humans and Twelve Angry Men. This adaptation is also notable for its casting of the child characters, played here by adults to capture the nostalgic framing device of Lee’s original text.
Pretty Woman: The Musical — Jan. 5-24
Missing this show? Big mistake. Huge. America’s favorite call girl gets the musical treatment in this spunky adaptation, which features all your favorite rom-com one-liners and that knockout red dress. Fun fact: The musical’s score was co-written by Canadian soft-rock god Bryan Adams.
The Cher Show — Feb. 2-21
Turn back time with the icon in this inventive biographical show. Casting three different actresses as Cher, the jukebox musical explores her most famous incarnations: “Babe,” the ingenue rising to stardom with Sonny Bono; “Lady,” the charismatic TV star beloved for her variety acts; and “Star,” the multi-hyphenate powerhouse that conquered stage, screen, Billboard charts and the notion of ever retiring. Bob Mackie himself designed the more than 60 costumes for this Tony-winning musical.
The Prom — March 9-28
A satire set in the American heartland, this Broadway favorite was written by Bob Martin, the Tony-winning Second City alum whose other credits include The Drowsy Chaperone and Elf: The Musical. In this musical comedy, failed Broadway actors attempt to bring meaning back to their life by inserting themselves into the scandal taking place in a small Indiana town, which has canceled its prom rather than allow a lesbian student and her girlfriend to attend. Quippy and surprisingly poignant, the show was nominated for six Tonys in 2019.
Ain't Too Proud: The Life & Times of The Temptations — April 6-25
People get ready — these tickets may go quick. An absolute crowd pleaser, the iconic Motown crooners journey to fame is captured in this smash hit, which scored fans in everyone from Oprah to John Legend. The unending hit parade includes 31 songs from the storied act’s career, alongside fresh moves from Tony Award-winning choreographer Sergio Trujilo. The music is paired with a nuanced, moving book from acclaimed Detroit playwright Dominque Morisseau, typically known for her naturalistic looks at everyday life in the Rust Belt. Three of her plays were produced by Cleveland theaters last season, including Skeleton Key at Dobama Theater.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical — May 5-June 6
Baz Luhrmann’s fantastical vision of 1900 Paris explodes in a thrilling spasm of seedy resplendence in this musical adaptation of the 2001 film, which runs in Cleveland for five weeks. Playhouse Square President and COO Gina Vernaci recommends audiences get to the theater early just to admire the red velvet wonderland, dripping chandeliers and rows upon rows of lights. Romance, sex and a hell of a can-can meet in this epic, in which an Ohio boy falls in love with an elusive courtesan.
Hadestown — July 6-25
The most talked-about show of 2019’s Broadway season was this Depression-era reimagining of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, which won eight Tonys including Best Musical. With an inventive score that takes cues from rock, New Orleans jazz and folk traditions, the show introduces new generations to the star-crossed lovers, as well as Persephone, Hades and more in this lush, haunting parable.