2017/18 ASU Gammage Broadway Season Announced and “Bare” – Nearly Naked Theatre

Theater Review – May 29, 2017


Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

As the current theater season ends we search the 2017-18 season to see what looks enticing.  Today, we look at the shows that will stop at ASU Gammage.

These touring shows bring us recent Broadway hits and the ten-show season includes a recent Broadway play, the Tony Award-winning “The Humans.”  Since ASU Gammage executive director Colleen Jennings-Roggensack is the only Arizona Tony Award voter, she sees every Broadway production and selects her season to include the biggest Broadway hits plus she encourages Broadway producers to tour unusual shows to give her season balance.

The two biggest shows are the last two Tony Award-winning Best Musicals, a four-week run of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” based on Ron Chernow’s book, and “Fun Home,” a look at Alison during three phases of her life based on the best-selling graphic memoir.  Other shows include the recent Tony Award winning revivals of “The Color Purple” and “The King and I,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “School of Rock, the funny “Something Rotten!,” and the musical version of “The Bodyguard.”  Special engagements include a 25th anniversary “Les Miserables” and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”

Jennings-Roggensack wouldn’t name any future season productions but she said that current Broadway hits including “Aladdin,” “Come From Away,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Groundhog Day,” “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” plus the hit “Hello, Dolly! revival are considering national tours and will probably appear locally.  When asked if Bette Midler will be in “Dolly,” she said it was unlikely the 71-year-old star would tour but Jennings-Roggensack said the show is “beautiful” although she hadn’t heard any stars who may replace Midler on the road.

Since the season limits most productions to one week and next season is sold out, I asked when Tempe may host Broadway shows for two weeks.  Jennings-Roggensack is cautious about season extensions since she mentions cities that expanded to two week runs but lost lots of money.

For theatergoers waiting to see “Hamilton” but who didn’t buy season tickets, the show is here for four weeks so when the show’s tickets go on sale, secure them quickly.  To order tickets, call the ASU Gammage box office at 480-965-3434 or order tickets online at www.asugammage.com.

Nearly Naked Theatre, The Hardes Theatre, Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

A shift to Nearly Naked Theatre’s “Bare” – a Pop Opera production.  The less said about this tired, cliché-ridden show the better.  The sophomoric expose about growing up and finding your place in life is boringly staged, butchered by an inept cast of young newcomers, and filled with the most torturously inept tunes imaginable.  The exceedingly lethargic production earns one star out of five.  Although “Bare” continues through June 17, avoid it.  To order tickets, call the Phoenix Theatre box office at 602-254-2151.